December 3, 2018, by Riz Ahmed
Sarah O’Hara’s blog: Implementation of Campus Solutions
From this week, we are starting to implement Campus Solutions as the University’s new central student records system. I wanted to take this opportunity to look at what we have achieved so far, review the lessons learned, and go over the steps involved in preparing the University for the vital rollout of this new system.
I would like to take a moment to reflect on where we are today. We currently use a large number of independent administrative IT systems at the University, each designed to perform a very specific function. The same type of data is often entered into these systems multiple times by various colleagues which can result in errors and sometimes confusion regarding which information is correct. In addition, there are a number of dated, bespoke IT systems that were created by individual colleagues or very small external software developers. Many of these systems are no longer fully supported and represent a significant risk to the University.
Campus Solutions provides us with one central student records system that interfaces with our existing supporting systems. This allows us all to access the same information and ensure its validity. In addition to supporting colleagues, Campus Solutions will also give students access to online self-service features which they may have to currently complete in person.
It is with this overarching aim that we have been dedicated and persistent in getting this software solution ready for rollout. As you will know, it has been a difficult, lengthy and complicated process causing immense and understandable frustration for so many colleagues. Please accept my apologies once again for this. This software will support all our 46,000 students and 8,000 colleagues, so it will come as no surprise that this is the largest implementation of Campus Solutions in the UK.
Following our previous attempts to implement this system, we have been busy developing and fully testing it to ensure it meets our requirements to enable us to launch it. The software is now in a state that allows us to roll it out and develop it further in the future. As with the rollout of any IT system of this scale, the system will not be perfect and there will be a series of developments that will be prioritised and worked upon after rollout, such as the availability of exam results which will be viewable in BlueCastle when we go live.
We ran a series of comprehensive Gateway Review meetings throughout November to assess whether the University was ready to move from Saturn to Campus Solutions. Business, transition and technical readiness were reviewed in detail in these meetings to ensure we could start the switch to the new system across the University. The final Gateway Review meeting took place on Friday 30th November where it was unanimously agreed that we were ready for the cutover to commence.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Andy Long has emailed all UK staff to outline the changes required to implement the new system. This will affect some of the systems and processes that many of us use in our day-to-day work. Please read this message carefully, and get in touch with colleagues as directed if you need any more information.
In addition to developing and testing the software, we established the Campus Solutions User Groups, which consists of a network of 78 colleagues across the University. These colleagues meet every month and have been instrumental in voicing the needs of their Faculties and departments in the development of Campus Solutions. Please continue to give your feedback to these colleagues as we move forwards.
I know you will be frustrated at the length of time it has taken us to get to this stage. I fully appreciate that and I thank you for bearing with us as we prepared to get to this point.
The next steps in this process are to move data from Saturn to Campus Solutions and ensure that linked IT systems are updated to take their data feed from the new system. We are working through the implementation plan and this will be shared with you soon to give you an indication of when Faculties and departments, along with students, can start accessing the new system. I can assure you that a number of support options are being put into place to ensure you are fully supported throughout this period.
The cutover and rollout process will no doubt come with its challenges. I must ask you for your continued commitment, patience and support once again as we start to embed this new system into the University over the coming weeks.
As always, we continue to welcome your feedback and input so please send any comments, questions or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professor Sarah O’Hara
Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education and Student Experience