Supporting California’s Educators
Since 2010, when Capio Group was formed as a small business providing extraordinary IT Solution services, Capio Group has been working with the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) to sustain the trust and secure the financial future of over 949,000 members and beneficiaries. CalSTRS was established in 1913 to provide retirement benefits to California’s public school educators from prekindergarten through community college. Today, CalSTRS is the largest educator-only pension fund in the world, and the second largest pension fund in the U.S. The market value of the CalSTRS investment portfolio was approximately $306.7 billion as of May 31, 2021.
Pension Administration Solution
During our most recent project, Capio Group supported the Soft Launch of the pre-production environment which has enabled external stakeholders to initiate early testing activities and begin planning for the implementation of CalSTRS’ new pension system. Capio consultants provided a spectrum of project and organizational change management services, including communication planning and execution for internal and external stakeholders, in support of CalSTRS implementation strategy. The initiative helped CalSTRS business partners (school districts) begin their preparations to adopt new employment and contribution (payroll) functions associated with CalSTRS’ new pension system.
In accordance with CalSTRS-specific project methodologies, our team worked closely with the CalSTRS Employer Readiness Team, Employer Services Division, and the Pension Solution Project team to design an overarching readiness methodology for employers, a centralized, online communication center, and an automated readiness tracking tool to support the Soft Launch phase. We provided guidance for the overall planning, coordinated and supported the execution of scheduled activities, developed training requirements and testing success criteria, and documented results. We regularly reported status to stakeholder groups at various levels which involved monitoring readiness progress, developing communications, analyzing testing and training results, and reporting progress on target metrics. Throughout the Soft Launch phase we regularly engaged external business partners, transition teams, Pension Solution developers and testers, and CalSTRS employees (operational SMEs), to identify and mitigate risks and incorporate process improvements.
Capio Group developed a readiness methodology for employers to follow to prepare for the production rollout. The methodology also includes a framework for CalSTRS to support and track the readiness progress of employers as implementation of the new pension system draws near. Key components of the methodology include: 1) mandatory, as well as optional, readiness and testing activities that employers must complete during Soft Launch to demonstrate their readiness to use the new system, 2) a suite of Success Criteria that is recommended for prior to implementation, and 3) the various training modules and communication forums needed to support employers as they transition to the new pension system.
Our team also monitored the feedback from employer testing activities during Soft Launch and coordinated defect resolution, design, and development updates, and submitted enhancement requests for the new pension solution to improve the new pension system prior to implementation, thereby facilitating a smooth transition experience for both employers and CalSTRS staff.
Capio Group continues to support the execution of the Soft Launch phase for employers and is now providing guidance to the Pension Solution Project team by highlighting the lessons learned and advocating for the best practices employed during Soft Launch.