Introducing the Business Enterprise Network

Consistent with Penn's rich tradition of innovation and excellence, a University-wide project team has begun implementing the Business Enterprise Network, or BEN. BEN is the next evolution of Penn's business and financial management system, now known as FinMIS. Based on input from a broad range of current users and leveraging technology to build upon FinMIS's core functionality, BEN will make it easier to conduct your business at Penn, while facilitating enhanced access to financial and grant information.

Distinguished by new features and functions, a graphical user interface, and a new nomenclature, BEN will include:

  • web-enabled purchasing, general ledger, and accounts payable systems;
  • new electronic commerce and travel functions; as well as
  • the recently released web-based reporting environment for grant-related, financial, and salary information.

An improved end-user support service and comprehensive training initiatives for BEN users will complement the new features. BEN is the next step in creating a streamlined and efficient administrative and management infrastructure for the University.

Enhanced Access

The migration to a web-enabled environment and BEN's graphical interface means a financial system that is more intuitive and accessible, providing faculty and staff with broader access to relevant information. Among the BEN components already available are:

  • The first release of BEN Reports, a secured, web-enabled reporting system that includes summary and detail grant and financial information in three categories:
  • Sponsored Programs, for principal investigators, administrators, and others. Protocol Status reports offer approval and status information about research protocols to prepare grant proposals. (And coming soon is Grant Reporting and Management (GRAM), initially developed by the Medical School, which provides a comprehensive, integrated view of information to facilitate the management of grants.)
  • Financial Management, for administrators and others to compare revenue and expenses at summary and detail levels and provide added support to faculty.
  • Salary Management, for administrators and others to track employee expenses by fund and department, and manage position inventories.
  • A Freeze Grant Account feature which permits accounts to be frozen for specified financial activities, thereby providing more effective control of grant activity and permitting more orderly closeout of grant accounts.
  • A Revenue and Expense Inquiry feature, enhanced to include summarized general ledger detail information as well as pending transactions that have been reserved.

Easier to Use

The BEN Project Team is working on several functions that will make purchasing and paying for supplies and travel services easier and more efficient:

  • BEN Travels and BEN Buys are electronic travel booking and e-commerce functions that facilitate purchasing travel services and supplies, with eventual benefits, like negotiated savings with preferred vendors, among others.

  • Coming soon within BEN Pays is a new Accounts Payable Imaging capability, which enables the electronic approval of invoice payments, notification of incomplete C-Form documentation, and cancellation requests for incorrect invoices via the web.

These new or enhanced functions are some of the examples of how the BEN tools and features build a financial management environment that is self-service oriented and will more readily meet the needs of the diverse constituencies among both operational users and those who need direct access to information for planning.

Comprehensive Training & Support

The Project Team continues to incorporate user input from a broad range of users representing all the Schools and Centers. A message heard consistently from users across the University has been the need for expanded communications, training, and end-user support. The Project Team has responded with several initiatives:

  • One person from each School and Center has been invited to serve as a BEN Representative, a liaison to the Project Team to offer feedback and to disseminate information to the School or Center. Through the BEN Reps, Schools and Centers have an opportunity to share "best practices" and help one another better prepare for the introduction of the enhancements.

BEN Representatives



Annenberg Center John Baji
Annenberg School Donna Burdumy
Arts and Sciences
Saul Katzman
Ramin Sedehi
Athletics Jeanette Parker
Audit and Compliance MaryLee Brown
Business Services Peggy McGee-Pasceri
Dental School
Barry Dahlen
Linda Kristekas
Development Rick Martorelli
Division of Finance Todd Swavely
Education, Grad School Donald Kearney
Engineering Pat Burke
Facilities Kevin Schrecengost
Fine Arts, Grad School Chris Cataldo
Human Resources Gary Truhlar
ICA Cassandra Green
ISC Marilyn Jost
International Programs Julie Shuttleworth
Law School Ernie Gonsalves
Libraries John Keane
Medicine Mary DeSalvo
Morris Arboretum Mark Zohar
Museum Alan Waldt
Nursing Jacqueline Lowry
President's Office Janet Dwyer
Bonnie Gibson
Mai Friedman
Public Safety -
Social Work Vicki McGarvey
University Life Bill Turner
Veterinary School Kelly Ardis
Wharton Andrea Rollins

  • A pro-active communications effort, including a dedicated web site, will apprise the University community of new developments and updates.
  • Training sessions are available and encouraged for staff and faculty members on new tools, enhancements, procedures and processes as they are rolled out. Refer to for training schedules.
  • A three-tiered support structure is being created to enable consistent support to all end users.

The Project Team welcomes your feedback. For more information on BEN and how your School or Center is planning for the transition, please speak with your BEN Rep and look for more information about the new web site coming soon.

--Kenneth Campbell, Comptroller

--Robin Beck, Deputy Vice President for Information Systems and Computing

--Robert Michel, Director of Acquisition Services

Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 33, May 16, 2000

| FRONT PAGE: SSW, Wharton, GSFA, CGS, & Nursing Awards | CONTENTS | JOB-OPS | CRIMESTATS | OF RECORD: Use of University Name | Business Enterprise Network | TALK ABOUT TEACHING ARCHIVE | BETWEEN ISSUES | MAY at PENN |