STRATEGIC PROJECTS & INITIATIVES
Provision and implementation of AV, IT and security technologies for The Pā.
ITS is currently going through the detailed design and costings for all the AV and IT requirements for Events, Teaching, The Student Hub, OVC Office, Wharenui, FMIS Offices, Retail, CCTV and Access Control in the Pa. Hawkins have now taken control of the site and construction will begin shortly. As the Pa is due to open in early 2022, ITS will lead the acquisition, delivery and implementation of all the technology and security components starting mid-2021.
Replacement of existing solution to provide a more efficient paper prescription process.
The Paper Information project has several key deliverables across multiple divisions. The goal of ITS is to decommission the existing Paper Outlines software and remediate issues with the Staff Paper Association tools. The business would like to streamline the processes, remove duplication of effort where possible, have a clear and auditable process for the Paper Prescription process through to what is published for Students and Staff to view. This project is incredibly complicated and touches many areas of our University. We are currently working through the High-Level Business Requirements, Solution Concept Design and Staff Paper Association documents in preparation for the Steering Group to approve these. Our next phase is then to move on to system selection and a Business Case for the Detailed Business Requirements, Solution Architecture document and an Implementation Plan.
TEC Ōritetanga Student Success – Phase 1
A joint initiative to improve student success.
The Ōritetanga Student Success project is a joint venture between the University of Waikato and The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) to look at ways to improve the chances of Students succeeding in their studies. The first phase of this project has been focused on the data, primarily through machine learning and a Dashboard to start identifying areas where Students may not complete their studies. This project has focused on first year Students specifically. The Business Case is currently being written for Phase 2 that will look to improve Student success by implementing strategies in key areas where Students were found to be most at risk.
Implementation of a student placement solution to manage Work-Integrated learning for the University.
The University has made a commitment to provide all undergraduate students with the opportunity to complete a Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) activity. In order to meet this commitment, we are implementing a modern integrated Student Placement Solution to effectively and efficiently manage the full range of placements across all areas of University.
The project team is currently implementing the solution in different divisions and the aim is to finish onboarding of all divisions before the end of the year, 2020.
Oracle EPM Project – Financial Budgeting and Forecasting
Implementation and improvement of financial and budgeting processes.
The project will implement a Financial Budgeting and Forecasting tool and business processes. Oracle EPM (Enterprise Performance Management) is part of the Oracle Cloud Financials suite and is provisioned under the SaaS (Software as a Service model). Oracle EPM replaces the previous Excel spreadsheets that were used to prepare and consolidate the University’s financial budgets and will integrate seamlessly with Oracle Cloud financials that are planned for future deployment at the University. This is an opportunity to move to budgeting and forecasting processes that support increased business input to the process that drives business decision making.
EPM Phase 1 go live was achieved on 19th June and the FBPs (Finance Business Partners) will be the main users for the 2021 budget cycle. Roll out to budget owners will occur in February and June 2021 when EPM will be used by budget owners for management reporting and the 2022 budget cycle. EPM Phase 2 kicked off on 20th July and is scheduled to go live on 12 October this year.
Phase 1 included profit and loss models for budgets and forecasts covering:
- Workforce model – employee costs
- Student revenue
- Capital expenditure and depreciation
- Revenue projects
Phase 2 includes:
- Balance sheet
- Long range planning
- Narrative reporting – management reports
Enabling work for ERP/HCM
Preparation to support the move to Cloud for Human Resource and Financial systems.
This project has been set up to review, analyse and prepare subsidiary applications and interfaces to support the move to Oracle Cloud Financial (ERP) and HR (HCM) systems and to decommission Oracle on premise toolsets at the university.
The initial phase covers:
- Preparation of a plan to decommission Oracle tools and implementation of priority items;
- Preparation of a roadmap to support Finance and delivery of approved elements of the roadmap. Preparation of plans to deliver the initial elements of the roadmap
- Preparation of a roadmap to support HR and delivery of approved elements. Preparation of plans to deliver the initial elements of the roadmap
Replacement of existing solution that University staff use to create a public web profile.
Good public-facing web profiles of research staff enhance the University's reputation. They ensure that academics are findable and suitably showcased to potential collaborators, to prospective research students, and for contracting/media enquiries. The University's current system for creating staff profiles is being replaced with an add-on module for IRIS, the University's research information management system.
Project benefits include more automated data flows to save staff from having to re-key information, and more granular control over what information is displayed publicly. The new system will be significantly easier to maintain than the current solution.
The aim is to complete this project in the third quarter of 2022.
SIGNIFICANT BAU PROGRAMMES
Project to improve AV infrastructure in the teaching rooms at the Hamilton campus.
This project is focused on the replacement of aged AV infrastructure in teaching spaces on the Waikato campus of our University. Our approach has been to prioritise the work based on the age of the existing equipment and the analysed risk of failure. We most recently completed the lecture rooms in L Block and are now planning for the next group of rooms. Although this is a five year programme of work, we are focused on refreshes until the end of 2020.
The benefits that we expect to realise as a result of this work include proving teachers with access to fit for purpose technology to implement different pedagogies; proactively manage AV teaching technology assets and to standardise the technology experience of our teachers and learners across Waikato campuses.
Cyber Security Programme
A programme initiative, which will mature the University’s Cyber Security.
Cyber security is the state or process of protecting networks, devices, and programs and recovering networks, devices and programs from any type of cyberattack.
In the first quarter of 2020 an emergent Cyber security programme was started, aimed at pulling together a range of roadmap, project and BAU security related activities with similar aims. The programme has established governance, alignment and accountability and is able to measure, understand and report on progress. As new threats come in they are analysed and threats are classified.
The programme has two main streams of work with over 50 discrete pieces, 1.) System Currency which is primarily focussed on up-to-date patching and versioning of our hardware and software and 2.) System Security which is focussed on security of our Network. The System Currency workstream is now at approximately 75% complete and the System Security workstream at just under 50%. The programme has no dedicated resource however continues to make slow but steady progress.
Standardisation of tools and processes allowing better management of our software and hardware fleet.
This project seeks to standardize the tools and processes involved in managing and refreshing our computer fleet (including imaging and setup, deployment, user state migration, disposal of old hardware…), currently estimated to take over 2,000 hours of Distributed Consultant effort across 700+ desktop/laptops per annum.
Gaining visibility of all the software licenses currently installed across the universities’ 4,500 desktops and laptops for compliance is also a key deliverable of this project.”
Going to market for an external supplier to own the capital refresh programme is also included in this project, with an aim to free up ITS resource to focus on higher value projects and BAU work.
Network Remediation and Modernisation Programme
This project will provide the University with a robust modern and future proofed data network.
The University Data Network is the key foundation for all ICT operational activities, including online presence, teaching and learning facilities, research systems and processes, business applications and communication and collaboration. Having a well performing, robust and reliable network is a must in this information rich, digital age. Going forward the network must not only support the existing use cases, but also support future large-volume initiatives (e.g. CCTV, integration with physical security and building management systems, Smart Campus requirements, etc.).
The capital value of the data network (excluding telephony) is estimated at $8M. An appropriate asset management approach to the renewals would be an expenditure of 20% per annum on replacing equipment on the network (i.e. $1.6M p.a.). Over the last 5 years, the ITS capital budget for network renewals (excluding telephony) has been $610k p.a. on average. This underinvestment has meant that approx. 70% of the network equipment is past its planned/useful life and needs to be replaced.
A preliminary business case was approved to complete a high level design to inform the future Service Integrator and Technology partners selection process, and to confirm the ongoing operating model. 127 Limited is helping ITS select the right Service Integrator and define the operating model.
The plan is to have a decision by October/November.
Consolidation of existing booking capabilities and activities into one tool.
The University of Waikato has a number of booking systems used by different business units to meet their specific needs. Furthermore, business units without a booking capability have indicated a need for a technology solution that will assist them with the booking of rooms, lecture theatres, equipment, parking spaces, etc.
This project seeks to consolidate existing booking capability and meet the emerging needs of different business units across the University. The project commenced in August 2019 and the first release in December 2019 allowed teaching rooms to be booked for non-teaching activities in Resource Booker. In March 2020, shared staff and student spaces on the Tauranga campus were added to Resource Booker, and since the end of June staff have also been able to book visitor parks in the system. The project is also looking to include the Library Group rooms and ad hoc lab or seminar spaces around campus.
In addition to a room booking solution, this project is tasked with identifying a suitable equipment booking system which will allow the issue, tracking and return of equipment across campuses. This solution will be suitable for all types of equipment which are loaned to staff and students, the chosen solution should have a self-service portal and allow for booking collection and return notifications to be issued to users.
An audit of the spaces around our campus has been undertaken to update the data linked to teaching and meeting rooms, this includes everything from data projectors to whiteboards. This data allows users to make a more informed decision when booking a space and will be added to existing meeting room calendars during August and September.
Jabber Softphone Roll-out
Transition of desk phones to soft phones in preparation for future unified communication technologies.
As part of the University’s response to COVID-19, ITS set Service Desk, Student Service and Student Case Management staff up with Cisco 90-day temporary Jabber softphone licenses to allow them to make and receive calls via their phone extension in a work-from-home situation. Towards the end of lock-down requests from Divisions and Departments to retain Jabber were received, this coupled with the fact that the University has 1,700 Cisco end-of-life desk phones needing upgrade or replacement in the next 1 to 2 years has meant the University has taken the decision to roll Jabber out University wide.
The transition to softphones has multiple benefits for the University including increased resilience, cost savings, increased flexibility for staff in terms of where they work, and allows staff to become familiar with Unified Communication technologies that the University is considering in the next few years. The softphone roll-out is underway, with the aim of converting as many users as possible by the end of year. Division and Department Heads are being presented to individually to take them through the options available to them. Response to date and uptake has so far been very positive. The project however is not without its challenges and involves a heavy degree of change management, has a large manual component and is currently resource constrained which can make scheduling difficult. This is a logical move for the University, bringing it into line with many other tertiary providers.
Migration from on-prem to Cloud storage to ensure reliability and scalability.
When the Government announced that the country would move to COVID Alert Level 4 the University moved to online teaching and ITS increased Panopto's concurrent user capacity. During this time, it became apparent that the Panopto storage was getting to its limit. It, therefore, was decided to migrate to Cloud-based Panopto systems.
Panopto Cloud is secure, scalable, has high availability for redundancy, and is built to ensure uptime and reliability to meet the Universities growing need for online teaching.
Currently, the team is at the start of the project and will start in the coming weeks with copying all data from the current on-premise servers to Panopto Cloud.
Upgrade and migration of the payroll system.
The Ascender project relates specifically to our payroll system. Originally part of the Oracle/HR programme of work it was de-scoped as the timelines for the programme changed and there were immediate compliance issues that needed to be fixed. The project will migrate from an on premise solution to a hosted solution. An upgrade will also be done to take us from v16 to v18. The go-live date is scheduled for the weekend of August 21st.