Undergraduate students socialising in the Food Court, Portland Building, University Park

April 4, 2016, by Ryan Neal

GoLive 3: Project Update – Prof Karen Cox

GoLive 3 of Project Transform is fast approaching and so I thought it timely to update you on the progress we have made in recent months and outline the next steps of the project.

First and foremost thank you to everyone who has been involved in this crucial programme so far.  There has been a huge amount of work undertaken across the University in the UK, China and Malaysia by the project team and colleagues in Schools and Professional Services to get us to this point.

I am grateful to everyone for their commitment, talent and tenacity in making sure we are not only keeping the current ‘show on the road’ but also getting us all ready for the changes ahead. I recognise that communication and discussion about a project of this nature is always a challenge. While we have shared information face-to-face with Faculty PVCs, Heads of School and Professional Services Directors in our leadership forums over the year; and with Professional Services and Administrative staff in consultation discussions with them and more recently in direct communications with colleagues in Schools to establish the impact of changes and new ways of working, this is not always perfect. More can — and will — be done.

As details are confirmed and progress is made we will provide more information on the changes and the impact these may have on you and your role.

Progress to date

Go Live 2 – Go Live 2 was a challenge for all of us. Our research told us that in every organization we have looked at, learning how to use new technology, how to work differently, alongside trying to manage the on-going demands of business as usual , is hard. However, colleagues have worked fantastically well through this phase. The Oracle system is now working for us in terms of supporting recruitment and admissions and colleagues across the organisation have worked brilliantly to make sure problems were addressed as they arose.

I am pleased to tell you that applications to study with us here at Nottingham are up on last year’s figures and up relative to our competitors and the sector as a whole. Moreover, we have more applicants with A*AA predicted grades than ever before, and we are all now working hard to convert these to ensure Nottingham is their first choice.

This conversion work looks like it is beginning to pay off and we are very close to  the position we were at this time last year in terms of conversion rates (29.2% this year compared to 30.6% last year). Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this. 

Organisation design – Following role preferencing and allocations (when over 80% of staff were assigned their first or second preference) we are now at the stage where the new Student Services and restructured External Relations teams are complete. The management teams are in place, and colleagues at APM levels 1-4 now know which roles they will be moving into over the coming months. Over the next few months we will be supporting these colleagues to ensure they are ready for their new roles, trained on the new system and ready for GoLive 3 over the summer.

I appreciate this may have been an unsettling process for many individuals and I want to thank everyone for their support and patience during this time. We have been able to offer opportunities for colleagues to move around the organization if they wish and there have been opportunities as well to apply for more senior positions within the new teams.

To help manage the move staff will make from Schools and Professional Services a series of events is in progress to welcome colleagues to their new teams and introduce them to the new system and new ways of working. So far we’ve had three Student Services roadshows for more than 300 staff, and the External Relations team has arranged an informal get together before their roadshow takes place in April. A programme of activities will continue beyond this summer and into the 2016/2017 academic year.

Service Centres – Work to create our new Service Centres is currently underway, with all locations scheduled to be complete by the end of May. Although the centres won’t officially be open to students until August, the new teams will use some of the centres to carry out user acceptance testing on the new system over the coming months, and all sites will undergo individual site testing. More information on centre locations and layouts can be found elsewhere on the Project Transform blog.

Next Steps

System and user testing – We are currently moving into the third cycle of system testing, after which system integration testing will begin. System integration testing will ensure that all of the different components of the new IT system (Campus Solutions) work together in a fluid, coherent manner. The final phase of testing is user acceptance testing which, along with staff, will also involve the input of current University of Nottingham students. This is due to take place from 30 May to 1 July.

Training – The first version of standard operating procedures was finalised on Friday 18 March, with the second version due Friday 15 April. This second version will inform preparation for user acceptance testing as well as the training materials.

APM staff in Service Centres, Schools and Admissions will receive training prior to GoLive 3, in July. This will consist of both instructor-led courses and eLearning opportunities. Support will continue to be provided post-GoLive and academics will be briefed on the solution as well as receiving information on specific areas of functionality relevant to their role. There will also be MyNottingham guidance documents available for students to use as reference.

MyNottingham – Following GoLive 3, our students will be able to carry out many of their administrative tasks online for the first time. They’ll do this through MyNottingham, a 24/7 online platform which is compatible with any device. Many new students will already have used MyNottingham as part of the application process. They will continue to use it for registration, paying fees, accessing bursary information, arranging placements and accessing a personalised timetable. Watch a demo of MyNottingham to see some of the functionality that might be available.

Phased GoLive – In order to deliver as smooth a transition as possible to the new system and processes, and to ensure staff are fully supported through the process, we are taking a phased approach to GoLive 3.  This will help the new Student Services and External Relations teams in the UK and colleagues in China and Malaysia to prepare for key points in the recruitment cycle and the student journey.  We’re all working together to determine the best points in the academic year to launch each element of the system across our global sites. We will update you on the agreed launch schedule by the end of April.  More information on this can be found in the phasing plans blog post.

Communications and promotion – Students and staff will be seeing and hearing a lot more about the new Service Centres and MyNottingham over the next few months. There will be information available across campuses highlighting the move of administrative support from Schools to the new Service Centres and MyNottingham. We held Student Engagement Sessions in February and are planning more in April. We’re also planning events in every Faculty for colleagues in Schools and Departments to have the opportunity to see the benefits of our new systems, to find out how things will change for them following GoLive 3, to see demos of the new system and ask questions.

Plans are well underway to refresh and update communication materials and websites for new and returning students. These are linked into Welcome Week plans and will ensure students receive updates and information on any required actions at the right time. We will share these plans with colleagues when they are ready so you can see what our students will see, before they receive it.

So finally, thank you for your continued hard work, patience and support over the last few months. This is one of the most challenging and far-reaching change projects we have undertaken as a University, it will also be one of the most transformational. I think we all know there is much work still to do. The system will not be perfect from day one. We will need to continue working together to create new ways of working that will give us solid foundations on which to continue to improve on our excellent student experience.

Professor Karen Cox
Programme Sponsor

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Posted in Student Services Launch (GoLive3)Update