Ernie C.

Application Architect, Enterprise Applications — ISC Application & Information Services
Portrait photo of Ernie C.

ISC service(s) or programs/projects:  Manage Workday integration team

Length of time in ISC:  Joined ISC and Penn in 1991

Previous work experience:  Application developer for City of Philadelphia, Smith Kline pharmaceuticals

Tell us about a challenge at Penn that made you proud to be part of ISC.

The Workday implementation, which was a large and diverse group to bring together — it worked a little differently than in my past projects. A new cross-organizational functional team took the lead, which included Deloitte, who brought experience in Workday implementations. They partnered with the ISC technical team, which I led. After initial rollout, the Penn members of the functional team were welcomed as part of ISC. I was really proud of ISC’s flexibility in working so effectively in such a blended team on a project of that magnitude.

What’s an interesting technical or business problem you’ve faced with ISC?

As part of Workday implementation we had to convert data from over ten legacy applications, dating back to 1988: the legacy payroll system, a homegrown paid time off application, third-party data from our former benefits administrator, and so on. Many of these systems didn’t speak to each other. In some cases, such as beneficiary names, Penn didn’t even house the data. We had to create ways to access, transmit, and synchronize all that data into a single system for Workday. It wasn’t easy, but we made it work successfully.

What do you like best about working with clients?

I like the diversity of thought and opinion. People are not shy about speaking their minds, so you get a lot of input from Schools and Centers. They don’t always agree, which can be a challenge, but they think through things well and usually offer good suggestions. It helps identify the diverse needs that have to be accommodated in the final product. When you think things through yourself and you’re convinced you have the best approach, it can be important to listen to alternatives.

How has the pandemic changed the way you approach your role?

It was a big adjustment for me being totally remote during lockdown. In the beginning, I didn’t think being fully remote was going to work, but it turned out pretty well. There are pros and cons. Not everyone likes to use the camera. It’s better when you can see a person and their body language. Otherwise there’s a risk of misinterpreting how something’s meant to be taken. Before the pandemic, the risk of that for a given topic would have determined whether to schedule a meeting instead of making a phone call.

What do you appreciate most about being on campus?

I like the ease and serendipity of interacting with other people. Social interaction is important. It’s nice to be out and walk among the trees and greenery, to a meeting, or to stop and buy lunch. The campus always seems vibrant, especially when classes start each semester.

What are you passionate about in your free time?

Health and nutrition. Anything outdoors — cycling (to work in most weather), working out at home, cooking clean meals. I shop at a variety of farmers’ markets on weekends. Of course, I enjoy time with family and friends. My sister’s family are in Ocean City, and I have friends in Margate I can stay with in the summer — the beach is one of my favorite places.