Professor Karen Cox - Deputy Vice-Chancellor

May 11, 2016, by Ryan Neal

Update on Project Transform – Decision to Phase Implementation

The following is a message from Prof Karen Cox, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Project Transform sponsor.

Following my blog last month, I wanted to update you on the latest news on Project Transform.

My previous blog noted several developments within the project –

  • Work on the second Transform GoLive (including a reflective review of lessons learned ready for the GoLive 3 launch) was near completion
  • Organisation design developments (with colleagues coming together to form the new Student Services team) were on-going
  • Work on the new Student Service Centres was progressing – and this has continued to plan, with the five Centres ready for launch in August/September 2016.

In relation to the new IT system (Campus Solutions) I noted that system testing had begun and this would lead in to system integration testing, user acceptance testing and system training. My previous blog also highlighted the possibility of phasing GoLive 3, in order to deliver as smooth a transition as possible to the new system and processes, and ensure staff were fully supported through the process.

Work has been progressing to plan, however, as testing has continued, a number of issues have emerged. Getting the system right is essential to ensure we have an effective IT solution that does what we need it to do and works as it should.  In particular, there have been some issues identified with the Programme Enrolment and Academic Management (PEAM) element of the system, which we have been required to escalate to a senior level within Oracle (the system provider of Campus Solutions) for resolution. Fixes for these issues are currently still coming through.

What does this mean?

These issues and the requirement for an additional testing cycle have meant that, whilst we are now out of the first stage of testing and moving into system integration testing (to test how well the new system ‘speaks’ to around 29 existing systems it will need to work with), we have experienced additional challenges. This means the whole system will not be ready, fully tested and staff training completed, in time for the beginning of the academic year – GoLive 3 – as we had originally intended.

It is the view of the Project Transform Programme Board, University Executive Board and Audit and Risk Committee that given the challenges outlined above, a single ‘big bang’ deployment of Campus Solutions would not be a pragmatic or sensible action. Rather we should aim for a more phased approach across the academic year for all our campuses. Our revised approach therefore is to complete the testing thoroughly, then phase implementation of the system at times that are practical throughout 2016-17. This applies to the UK, China and Malaysia. A phased approach will allow all users to become more familiar with the new system and processes and to iron out as many snags as possible, before operating the system in a live environment.

The Transform project team is now developing a phased implementation schedule and we will share this with you as soon as it is available.

Changes coming this year – launching GoLive 3

As a reminder, some of Campus Solutions is already in use for UK UCAS undergraduate admissions, enquiries and events (launched in GoLive 2). This week user acceptance testing began on Confirmation and Clearing and our plan is to use this element to manage these processes from summer 2016. Colleagues moving into the External Relations Department will do so as planned.

Colleagues joining the Student Services team will also move into their new roles as scheduled and Student Service Centres will be open to support and serve students from the beginning of the next academic year, using legacy systems currently in place plus elements of Campus Solutions as it is phased in.  We will be in touch with colleagues moving into these teams separately to provide more detail on this.

Implementing Campus Solutions is an essential part of the University’s Strategy 2020 and our longer term sustainability.  We remain committed to launching the full system as soon as possible. Whilst I am disappointed that we have had to take the decision to phase implementation across the coming academic year, I am confident this is the right thing to do at this point and wanted to let you all know as soon as possible that this is the approach we are going to take.

The Project Transform Workspace (login required) has recently been updated with a number of FAQs relating to Student Services, the new Student Service Centres and Campus Solutions. Please do take the time to read through these if you have any questions.

As I noted in my previous blog, a huge amount of work has gone into getting us this far and will continue to be required. I am grateful for all of the effort that has gone in to this project to date and want to thank everyone for their continued support moving forwards.

Posted in Project NewsUpdate