Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a list of RealSource frequently asked questions (FAQs). The list will be expanded to include other topical areas of interest based on your input and feedback. See the “Contact Us” tab to submit questions, comments or suggestions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a list of RealSource frequently asked questions (FAQs). The list will be expanded to include other topical areas of interest based on your input and feedback. See the “ tab to submit questions, comments or suggestions.
1. Why is VCU Procurement Services changing software systems?
A study of VCU’s source-to-pay practices recommended that VCU modernize its systems to align with best-in-class universities, operate more efficiently and leverage the university’s overall spend to save money. To accomplish this VCU must make a shift from operating under a traditional purchasing model to a strategic sourcing model.
Key to accomplishing this, the university must replace existing software tools, which consist of a hodge-podge of software applications, for a modern and fully-integrated system. The system, RealSource, which runs on a JAGGAER platform, is used successfully by other higher education institutions across the U.S., including Virginia Tech and The University of Virginia, and includes:
- supplier management
- catalog ordering
- reporting and
- spend analytics.
2. What’s the difference between Traditional Purchasing and Strategic Sourcing?
“Traditional Purchasing” is a short-term, routine and oftentimes reactive approach to buying supplies, services and equipment within departmental units using quick-quotes and order processing with emphasis on satisfying public procurement, financial and audit requirements.
“Strategic Sourcing” is a long-term, systematic and holistic approach to acquiring current and future needs for the university on-the-whole at the lowest risk and total cost. Focus is on simplifying low-dollar/low-risk transactions, so that quality time can be spent instead on strategic activities, such as market research, contracting, vendor evaluation/selection and relationship management, and customer support.
To better align with other best-in-class universities, operate more efficiently and leverage the university’s overall spend, VCU must successfully navigate the shift in focus from traditional purchasing to strategic sourcing, while also responsibly preserving public sector procurement, financial, and audit requirements.
3. What is the new system called?
The name of the new system is “RealSource.”
4. What platform does it run on?
The software platform is JAGGAER, formerly SciQuest. JAGGAER software is used across the country in numerous higher education institutions, including Virginia Tech and The University of Virginia. It has a strong following also in the healthcare and research industries.
The software is cloud-based and highly configurable.
5. What "modules" does RealSource consist of and what do they do?
RealSource consists of six basic modules, however, the system operates as one, fully-integrated system.
|TSM - Total Supplier Manager||Web portal to register VCU vendors and payees. Suppliers can self-register, submit invoices, electronically execute contracts, etc.|
|e-Sourcing||Electronic system to manage the solicitation process RFx system (RFIs, RFQs, BVAs, Quick Quotes) in a paperless environment. Proposals/bids can be electronically submitted, evaluated and reviewed by evaluation committees.|
|TCM - Total Contract Manager||System to author contracts, record information about contracts in a repository and house copies of contracts for ease of accessibility|
|e-Catalog||Online marketplace with pre-priced e-catalogs of frequently purchased items|
|e-Pro||System to requisition, issue purchase orders and receive goods and services|
|A/P - Spend Director||Central place for vendors to “electronically” send all VCU invoices with full visibility to vendors, departments and central A/P|
6. Who will be impacted by RealSource?
All persons who interact with Procurement Services will be impacted, except those who interact “only” with VCU’s Travel or PCard programs. Christopherson, Chrome River and Bank of America Works will not be impacted by RealSource, although the volume of PCard transactions is expected to decrease as payment options for vendors will be expanded.
7. Who can use the system? Is it required?
RealSource will be required for use by all VCU departments and their designated staff. It will replace VCU’s existing source-2-pay tools, such as eVA, Banner receiving, i-Payables, etc. It will also add functionality that is not currently available.
Note, RealSource will not interact with or replace VCU Health’s Lawson (procurement and payment) system.
8. When will RealSource launch?
RealSource will fully launch the first quarter of calendar year 2019 (Jan – Mar 2019). A firm schedule, including dates for info-sessions, training sessions and official launch dates, will be widely communicated in advance.
9. Who is involved in the planning and implementation of RealSource? How can I get involved or contribute ideas?
The planning and implementation of RealSource is under the management of the .
To participate and contribute ideas, employees are encouraged to , respond to surveys, through the project portal, and/or .
10. What sort of training will be provided and when will training take place?
In-classroom and on-line training will be provided for all persons who will interact with the RealSource, including employees, student workers and vendors. Training for employees will occur 30-45 days prior to software launch. Information about training opportunities will be widely circulated well in advance and training will occur on both campuses.
11. What happens to eVA?
RealSource replaces eVA altogether. Immediately prior to launch, pending eVA transactions will be migrated to RealSource. Users will continue to have access to view historical documents either through eVA or Banner.
12. Will VCU and our vendors still be required to register in eVA and pay fees on transactions processed in RealSource?
Yes, vendors will still be required to register in eVA and pay fees to the state. VCU will be required to send a daily file of PO transactions to the state. It will be used to bill vendors. Both are required by statute and cannot be avoided.
13. What happens to Banner?
Banner remains VCU’s financial system-of-record, however, certain transactions, like “receiving” will occur in RealSource and fed to Banner. Banner permissions will be appropriately adjusted prior to launch to ensure that transactions are keyed to the appropriate system.
14. What happens to historical data?
Immediately prior to launch, open transactions will be moved to RealSource. Closed transactions will remain in the old systems (i.e., in eVA). Users will have query access to historical records in eVA and Banner.
15. Will the new system limit who I can buy goods and services from?
RealSource will provide expanded access to a wide variety of e-Catalogs and pre-negotiated contracts that can be quickly located and directly accessed by departments. While best-in-class universities appreciate the benefit of leveraging their buying power, Procurement Services recognizes that departments will have unique requirements that are not covered by pre-existing contracts.
How do I login to RealSource? From MyVCU or from the RealSource website. Central Authentication Service is required to access the system.
Why can’t I login? All VCU employees with an “eid” should be able to login to RealSource. If you’re experiencing login problems, close all other applications, clear your browsing history and restart your computer. RealSource should work on any browser, however, trying another browser may also help. If you need help, contact the RealSource HelpDesk RealSource@vcu.edu or 8-1077 (Option 6).
How do you log out? Exit the application as you would any other VCU app.
How can I find out how to use RealSource? A comprehensive Help Guide was provided during training sessions and is available in the Departments Only tab of the RealSource website.
My department is incorrect, how do I fix it? A person with RealSource approval authority, which is usually a fiscal manager, can send a “RealSource User Request Form” from the RealSource homepage to correct this.
I need to be or add a Requester, what do I do? Contact your fiscal manager/approver and ask them to submit a “RealSource User Request” form from the RealSource homepage.
What are the differences in the roles for shoppers, requesters and approvers?
See Page 4 of the Help Guide for a more comprehensive explanation. The Help Guide is available in the Departments Only tab of the RealSource website.
- All VCU employees and student workers with a VCU assigned eid are shoppers. A shopper is someone who can start a requisition (only). Shoppers must assign their shopping carts to a requester for review. Shoppers can also process a receiver in RealSource once their goods/services are received.
- Certain VCU employees approved by Fiscal Managers can serve as requesters. Requesters review shopping carts prior to advancing them to approvers for approval.
- An approver is a person who approves requisitions sent to them by requesters, and approve (or reject them). These approvals trigger the purchase order. Approvers also approve requests for one-time payments.
How quickly do transactions process in RealSource? RealSource is real-time. Transactions will process in a split or within a few seconds.
How do I get a student set up in Chrome River? Utilize the Existing Vendor Request form found under System Request on Shopping homepage. You must click the Yes box for Chrome River and provide the Student Name, Address and Vendor Number.
Can we see travel reimbursements in this system? No, these can only be viewed in Chrome River.
Can we do personal or reimbursements using RealSource? No, these continue to be processed in Chrome River.
How do I activate a vendor that is showing inactive (red X) in RealSource? Utilize the Existing Vendor Request form found under System Request on Shopping homepage. You must provide the Vendor Name, Vendor Number, Vender email address and indicate if this is a Chrome River reimbursement request.
How do I find out if my vendor is in RealSource? Select the Vendors icon to the left of the homepage, then “Search for a Vendor.”
Why can’t I find my vendor in RealSource? The vendor was not migrated from Banner, has not registered in RealSource or has never done business with VCU.
How do I request a new vendor? See page 19 of the Help Guide. Select the Vendors icon to the left of the homepage, then “Add Vendors.” There are 2 types of registration, one for individuals and one for all other vendors (full registration).
How long will it take to process a new vendor request? This depends on the quality of information provided in your request and the responsiveness of your vendor. Vendor registration invitations will be processed within 3 business days. Departments should alert vendors to register ASAP, otherwise purchases/payments will be needlessly delayed. The registration process is simple and takes only 10 minutes to complete.
What happens if a vendor refuses to register in eVA or RealSource? Vendor Support can add vendors to RealSource by proxy, however, similar to the past, this will occur very sparingly. Registration is important to ensuring VCU has accurate vendor information and assists in precluding fraud.
How can vendors get information about RealSource? They can access the Vendors Only tab on the RealSource website or call Procurement Services at (804) 828-1077.
If a vendor is not sure where to go to register for RealSource, where do I go to direct them? Vendors can only register by invitation. For a vendor to “receive” an invitation, a VCU department must submit a Request New Vendor form, whether the vendor is a new or existing vendor.
Is there a cost for vendors to register in RealSource? No. However, RealSource vendors must also register in eVA and the state will continue to assess eVA fees. eVA registration is statutorily required of all state vendors, including those who do business with VCU.
How do you enter a request to add an international vendor without a TIN? The TIN is keyed with all 9s (hover over the field to display the correct number of 9s).
Do we need to collect tax forms (W9, W8)? No, when a vendor is invited to register, they are required to attach their tax form. If the vendor happens to provide it, you can attach it to the Add Vendors request form if you choose, but it is not required.
How do I cancel a PO? Utilize the Cancel PO Request form towards the bottom of the RealSource home page. Note, if a PO has been partially received, it cannot be canceled. Instead a Change Order must be processed to adjust the remaining lines of the PO to zero. See page 65 of the Help Guide.
How do I process a change order? See page 56 of the Help Guide.
Is the declining balance PO the same as the Blanket PO? Yes, however, the declining balance PO is much easier to manage and includes 3 important distinctions.
First, under the old blanket PO, users placed the total dollars in the quantity line with a price of $1 (flipper). Under the declining balance PO, the dollars appear in the “dollars” field and the actual quantity in the “quantity” field (as they should).
Second, the limit of 999,999 simply no longer applies.
Third, under a declining balance PO you will now “receive” by dollars. This is called “cost” vs. quantity receiving. See page 49 of the Help Guide for more information about declining balance purchase orders and cost (vs. quantity) receiving.
If the shopper doesn’t assign the cart, what happens? It will remain in the shopper’s queue until the shopper advances it to a requester and has no impact on Banner Finance.
Can you split accounting on a PO? Yes, both at the header and detail levels.
Can we still see our PO’s in eVA? Yes, but not PO attachments. See the Departments Only tab of the RealSource website for information about finding/viewing eVA POs.
Will there be an Amazon eCatalog? There are no immediate plans for this. Users are encouraged to utilize VCU’s pre-negotiated eCatalogs and contracts before making purchases on other websites.
How does RealSource affect Pcard transactions?
- Pcard users are no longer required to key Pcard transactions into the purchasing system (RealSource).
- There is “no place” in RealSource to place your Pcard information for eCatalog purchases or otherwise. Anything “Pcard” related must be managed in Bank of America’s “Works” system (not RealSource).
- If you put a Pcard order into RealSource, it will pass to Banner and your department will be required to liquidate it.
- “None” of the eCatalog vendors in RealSource, including The Supply Room Company, will accept Pcard orders for eCatalog purchases. Rather, these vendors will electronically bill VCU after (paperless invoicing). Upon your “receipt” of the goods in RealSource, these electronic invoices will be matched against your eCatalog order (and receiver) and paid. If they do not match, they will require reconciliation prior to payment.
What is the One Time Payment form and what can I use it for? Certain services no longer require a purchase order. These can be conveniently paid instead using the One Time Payment form. The types of services include:
(a) awards and prizes,
(c) immigration payments,
(f) research participants, and
(g) revenue refunds.
Note, if you process these as a purchase order, the recipient “will” be assessed eVA fees. So, it is important to pay these using the One Time Payment form instead.
If an invoice comes to me, where do I send it? The same way you do today to firstname.lastname@example.org. This will change to some degree, however, in the August 2019 timeframe – more to come.
I noticed there is a new “Bill to” address in Pennsylvania, what does this mean? VCU’s invoice (or Bill to) address has changed from the PO Box in Richmond to an address in Pennsylvania. This address belongs to a 3rd party contractor who has been hired to receive, scan, conduct a preliminary review of and upload the invoices (data and image) into RealSource. This firm has nothing to do with approving invoices, but merely provides administrative support. You are not required to “notify” your suppliers of this change, this will be generally communicated to vendors in a special campaign after the new fiscal year start.
Will vendors still get paid by paper check? Yes, however, VCU offers convenient ways for vendors to be paid faster via ACH and virtual card payments.
How do I process Pre/Post-Doctoral stipend payments? These are still processed as a PO.
How would we process wire transfers with RealSource? RealSource does not impact wire transfers, the process remains the same.
Has VCU’s payment terms changed? No, they are still Net 30.
Is ImageNow going away? Not quite. Departments can still view historical invoices in ImageNow. Any new invoices will be processed and viewable in RealSource.
How do I process scheduled payments? This process does not change with RealSource.
How do I know if the vendor has submitted an invoice? The requester will receive an alert.
If you were paying living expense stipend, can you use the direct pay form? No, a purchase order is required instead.
What if the invoice that A/P receives directly does not match the purchase order? The process for matching invoices is unchanged. If the invoice doesn’t match within established university tolerances, it will be withheld from payment pending department review.
Will I be able to see invoices and payment information in RealSource? Yes.
How does receiving change? Receiving now occurs in RealSource. See page 63 of the Help Guide. The same persons who receive today can receive in RealSource.
Can shoppers receive? Yes.
Can you export data from RealSource to an excel document? Yes, using the search feature or reporting.