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Operational Excellence Submissions 2021

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Note: Submissions where the nominees are not aware of the nomination are not listed.


IGNITE Agile Transformation

Victoria University

Victoria University

Over the last 12 months, Victoria University (VU)’s IT Services department transitioned to a new way of working. Named the IGNITE (Inclusive, Grow-in-Numbers, Innovate, Trust, Evolve) framework, our delivery model is a bespoke Agile framework combining Scrum, SAFe, Lean Six Sigma and Kanban practices. The overarching vision was to elevate the working culture of our department and create “the ITS of the future” and it has successfully resulted in a high-powered operating framework that champions employee engagement and empowerment with a collective mindset focused on innovation and collaboration for solving emergent business problems. Please see a short video here about how our staff sentiments have dramatically improved under IGNITE. In this second video you can hear more about the IGNITE mindset and hear from staff across the University outside of IT who have experienced positive repercussions. 


Library Teaching Management System

Griffith University

Griffith

The Library Teaching Management System (LTMS) allows Griffith academics to request academic skills workshops to support student learning via a sophisticated Power Apps form which submits to a SharePoint List. Library staff use the LTMS to manage and report on these teaching events. The LTMS presents a holistic approach and drives operational excellence by streamlining the requesting and management processes reducing user time and effort. The LTMS integrates Microsoft products (Power Apps, Power Automate, SharePoint Lists, Power BI) to replace inefficient data collection methods via uncontrolled spreadsheets. Benefits include: Ability for academics to request multiple repeat sessions simultaneously, each with different dates, times and locations. Integration with Single Sign On to capture academic contact details, improving communications. Controlled form fields foster efficient data entry ensuring clean data flows to Power BI reports. The LTMS allows Griffith Library to reflect, plan and promote our dedicated support to the Griffith University community. 


Swinburne IT Testing & Business Process Automation Framework

Swinburne University of Technology

Swinburne

Enabling Testing Automation - Throughout the year 2020 Swinburne IT delivered multiple strategic technology platforms to help enable the University’s 2025 strategic plan. Due to size, scope and timelines, traditional testing & quality practices could not be used to gain visibility into quality demands and to provide efficiencies required to implement systems that deliver intended business outcomes. The Swinburne IT Testing & Quality Team developed an automation strategy to reduce inefficiencies involved in manual testing & quality processes. In alignment with the strategy, the team built an automation framework that significantly improved testing efficiencies, reduced reporting overheads and enabled faster releases with consistent quality. Optimised testing processes and automated testing techniques resulted in a total saving of $800,000+ in IT operating and resourcing costs in 2020. The innovative automation framework also delivered process automation capabilities. 


SmartCampus - An IoT / Digital Data platform used in the day to day operations of the University of Melbourne

University of Melbourne

The ‘SmartCampus’ platform is an IoT / Digital Data platform that is now being extensively used in the day to day operations of the University of Melbourne. It has transformed operations in a positive way. On a high level the platform makes Campus Service’s operations more efficient. It reduces the operational costs, improves the student experience and importantly, prevents data existing in various silos throughout the organization and being un-accessible. It also transforms thinking in our research and student community, future proofing our organization to stay relevant in a competing university landscape. SmartCampus harvests vast amounts of data, the following is only a subset: BMS (building management system) data from > 300 campus buildings. Solar Energy usage, Energy Invoices, Bureau of meteorology weather data, forecasts. IoT Sensors: From Rat traps, Toilets, Bins to IoT controlled lights and data driven cleaning apps, we are utilizing sensors to ensure sensor data is collected and actioned on. We have a vast array of over 300 people counter sensors installed, and also process CMX cisco data for detailed analysis of building occupancy. All this data is being used to improve our operations throughout our 8 campuses. 


University of Newcastle Cloud Migration

University of Newcastle

In November 2018 the University of Newcastle made a strategic decision to adopt a cloud-first approach. The benefits of cloud, compared with onsite storage were clear: it would be more secure, more flexible, more scalable and more cost-effective. With ongoing adoption of cloud services, it would be possible to deliver enhanced performance and automation across the University; for researchers a greater ability to self-serve, enhancing their capacity to problem solve; and for students, more access to workplace style tools supporting the University’s priority to provide pathways to work-readiness. Following the decision to demolish the building where the University’s on premise data centre existed, the University migrated all applications and workloads housed in the data centre to the Cloud in 9 months, ahead of time and on budget (concluding in June 2020). 


University of Newcastle shift to a Contemporary Operating Model

University of Newcastle

As part of realising the University’s digital strategy, IT Services embarked on a digital transformation journey in late 2018 so that it can become a ‘differentiator’ in the higher education sector and realise its mission to be a pivotal strategic partner, trusted advisor and enabler of the University’s educational and research strategies. A multi-phase change program was set up to shift IT Services from ‘back office’ to ‘front office’ and to establish new capabilities to facilitate organisational agility, effectiveness and efficiency. ITS then embarked on the next phase to shift its mode of operations to one based on a Product Line Management Framework. This framework allows organisations to assign and dynamically reposition resources to enable continuous delivery of end-to-end technology services. It aligns the work of ITS according to how it is consumed rather than how it is produced, establishes standing teams to continually enhance and innovate, and controls the people, processes, data and technologies to support a business outcome. 


WSU Enterprise Service Management (WesternNow) Program

Western Sydney University

Western Sydney University

The Enterprise Service Management (ESM) “WesternNow” program established ServiceNow as the platform for service management for Western Sydney University (WSU). The strategic objective is improving staff and student experience, and raising service productivity through digital transformation. WesternNow is led by IT and Digital services, and the Office of Strategic Project Implementation and Improvement. Over 261 services were in scope across IT, HR, Projects, Student Experience, Marketing and the Academic Division - now all readily discoverable via dedicated portals for staff, students and external partners, and accessible via any device, anywhere, any time. Integrations with AscenderPay (staff, payroll) and Oracle get requests to the right approvers, with the right delegations involved – making it far easier and faster to deliver services - then automatically TRIM them. An operating model is in place to ensure sustainable outcomes, leveraging advanced analytics, and stakeholder engagement to help guide the right investment and evolution of services. 


 COVID response – innovative evolution of contact centre capability and services using PureCloud

Deakin University

Deakin University

In the face of a global pandemic, we were challenged by uncharted territory, digital disruption, rapid service transformation, and a doubling in service demand for IT support. The IT Service Desk within eSolutions needed to not only transition to working from home but also support 10,000 staff and 60,000+ students working and studying remotely. The reliance on IT support became paramount in supporting resilience and digital literacy. Our new imperative of being able to work anywhere, anytime was supported by our Cloud-based enterprise contact centre system. There was appetite and need to rapidly evolve our channels and service offerings to align with evolving external influences, University policies and new customer requirements. The core focus of innovation for 2020 was: simplifying the support staff effort, removing barriers, and ensuring a frictionless experience; doing more with less by optimising productivity gains and workforce efficiency; promoting digital resilience and empowering our customer base.


Improved oversight and forecasting of energy consumption and carbon footprint on an Enterprise Data Platform

The University of Western Australia

UWA

The objective of this project was to provide a comprehensive understanding of the electrical energy resources across the campus, both in terms of demand and supply. This will enable the University to better manage these resources in order to minimise cost, maximise efficiency and maximise renewable energy percentage. A valuable extension of this work is the forecasting model which predicts future usage and potentially facilitates automation of systems. The outputs of this project will not only support decision makers to work towards UWA’s goal of becoming energy carbon neutral by 2025, but also improve our accountability on four of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (#7, #11, #12 and #13). In summary, this project aims to provide Campus Management with easier access to their own data to support decision making, as well as provide University executive with oversight of our sustainability KPIs. 


Rebuild of Deakin’s Applicant Portal – the first touch point in our student’s journey

Deakin University

Deakin University

The Student Management System (SMS) is a slow moving market. Most solutions Australian universities use are built on 25+ year-old IT stacks. Deakin made an important strategic decision a few years ago: retain the core of our SMS as a safe and stable record management system, until a serious replacement exists in the market. The ‘Engagement Layer’ of our SMS required refreshment though; and full alignment with the drivers of the digital era, therefore we started working on the Applicant Portal Project: Decoupling the Student Application front-end of the SMS, develop our own and connect it back to the back-end of our SMS - generating significant tracking of applicant behaviour and progress in Salesforce. That is Applicant Portal: a modern, powerful, attractive, highly usable engagement layer, fully integrated with other tools that works on top of an old Student Management System, removing inefficiencies, pain points, manual tasks and transactional mistakes. 


Direct Applications Project

La Trobe University

La Trobe

The Direct Applications project delivers on two major objectives for La Trobe University (LTU). Firstly, to improve the student experience in applying for undergraduate and postgraduate courses, secondly, to build a robust and scalable solution that delivers applicant and applications data to the enterprise for the purposes of application integration, analytics and reporting.

This is achieved through the in-house development of a web application called Apply Direct, leveraging an API based architecture for integration between Apply Direct and the VTAC system “FlexiDirect”. APIs are developed within LTU’s Integration platform based on a Canonical Data Model (CDM), enabling data integration between Apply Direct and FlexiDirect in addition to the creation of a new “Golden Record” data repository for applicant & application data.

This architecture provides a single view of customer for LTU, with a consolidated repository for “person” data across multiple personas (e.g. lead, applicant, student, alumni, staff). This is the first stage of this target state architecture. 


Course Management Reform

La Trobe University

La Trobe

Access to timely and accurate course information is critical to student satisfaction and success. In 2017, La Trobe University reviewed its course and subject management processes and capabilities and identified a plethora of duplication and risks arising from manual data entry, local variation and incomplete records involving many systems and manually maintained documents. Issues included poor information flow on course approvals, limited course structure information, disparities arising in course information to students and limited capacity to manage historical records. The Course Management Reform (CMR) program transformed the University’s business and technology landscapes. The renewal of related policies, procedures and business practices plus the introduction of a single integrated system holding all course and subject information, co-designed with the vendor to expand system capabilities in line with contemporary data integrity needs, enabled the disestablishment of legacy systems and data consolidation providing a single, accurate source of truth for courses and subjects. 


Cloud Migration Powered by Cloud Dexterity

The University of Auckland

Auckland

With COVID-19 restrictions prompting unprecedented demand for online learning and remote working, the University of Auckland drew on cloud services to rapidly digitise our systems. The cloud initiatives include: Migrating educational applications to the public cloud to deliver remote learning in a fast, scalable, and user-friendly way for students; Migrating the Lecture Theatre Recordings (LTR), a critical teaching and learning application that holds 29TB of learning content, to deliver learning content to students, including more than 2,000 overseas students unable to travel; Enabling a new digital assessments platform, Inspera, by providing integration capabilities with existing master data management systems and learning management systems; Migrating our internal and external contact centres to Amazon Connect, an easy-to-use omnichannel cloud contact centre and setting up a cloud-first culture by launching Cloud Uplift Standards and Practices (CUSP) to upskill staff, with over 225 employees now trained in AWS and Azure. 


Connect Express – Rapid PC Deployment

The University of Auckland

Auckland

Connect Express is a new service designed and built to improve the staff experience when we refresh the +1500 personal computers every year at the university. It is a custom-designed solution that is scalable, simplified and enhance our modern digital workspace. For Connect Express to work at scale, the existing fleet needed to be standardised and our deployment process streamlined. This involved a commitment to upgrade all 20,000 computers to a standard Windows 10 version, consolidate 15 faculty OS images to 1 staff image and one teaching image and move application deployment to the Software Centre. Now working on a standard platform, Connect Express can move at scale and provides a robust, repeatable experience to our staff and realise efficiencies within IT teams. 


The Virtual Telehealth Implementation Team

Griffith University

Griffith

A virtual team comprising of staff from Digital Solutions, Student Life and Griffith Health Clinics was established to research, select, and rapidly implement technology and new processes to deliver Telehealth appointments. Under normal BAU conditions, transitioning to telehealth would have been an 8-12 month implementation. This team implemented telehealth within 7 weeks, providing a cost-effective and safe beacon of hope for the patients and students that would otherwise not have received care during Stage 1 of COVID-19 restrictions. Telehealth will now become a significant part of Griffith’s health services, enabling patients and students to receive quality care via telecommunication technology. This has also presented a significant opportunity to broaden our student-let clinical service delivery into regional and rural communities and review traditional supervisor-supervisee relationships in settings which are face-to-face. 


 The CRM Project

Charles Sturt University

Charles Sturt

Charles Sturt University partnered with KPMG to scope out, design and build ‘The CRM’- a solution with the core objective of driving efficiencies and improvements in the overarching experience students have when engaging the University. With higher education forming the third largest industry in Australia, student retention forms an integral part of a University’s commercial strategy. The CRM was constructed on a best of breed technical backbone of Microsoft Azure and Dynamics CRM integrated with core University systems and data sources to vastly improve the univerity’s ability to rapidly respond to its consitituent requests. 


Enrolment Wait Listing

UNSW Sydney

UNSW

The Enrolment Waitlist service provides the ability to enable waitlisting at course and/or class level for any offering in any term. This allows students to add themselves to a waitlist for a class that is full, and to be automatically enrolled in that class as space becomes available. The service is fully integrated with our regular enrolment process; students simply select classes as they normally would with an option to be waitlisted if their preferred class is already full. Staff use waitlist data as a concrete measure of demand at both course and class level to aid in managing class offerings and capacity. Waitlisting controls are integrated into our Term Planning process; staff simply specify the availability and size of a waitlist when setting up a class for a term. The introduction of the service was transformational, bringing significant improvements to the student experience and efficiencies to staff class management. 


Research Data Archive Project

UNSW Sydney

UNSW

UNSW Research Data Archive is an essential platform for all UNSW researchers. The project scope included the migration of the Research Archive Data from the Government Data Centre, tape-based Service at end-of-life, to AWS S3 Glacier Deep Archive. The migration of Research Data has been actively managed by the Mediaflux platform, a rich, adaptable metadata-driven technology platform enabling a single worldview of all the stored data archive assets on tape and, since the migration commenced in May 2020, a worldview of the assets also now stored in AWS S3 Glacier Deep Archive. In March, with ~ 98% or 4.11 Petabytes (PB) of 4.21 PB migrated to AWS the Archive was cutover to AWS in March 2021 with all UNSW Researchers now directly archiving their data (public, private, sensitive, and highly sensitive research data) to AWS, and no longer to tape, whilst the remainder of the archive balance continues to migrate in the background. 


 Early Release of CRM Recruit for HDR Applications

Western Sydney University

Western Sydney University

The Student Management System Program implemented a new Higher Degree Research Admission and Scholarship solution in April 2020. This was to meet a business need to improve the application experience for students as well as implement an online application for Scholarships. The aim of this process was to improve the student application experience as well as improve review times to provide faster outcomes for students. In the new process, students are asked to provide all supporting documentation during the application as well as nominate their principal supervisor, minimising the follow up and delays in the application review process. Students are also able to track the progress of their application through the student portal. The new process is workflow enabled, allowing for all reviews to take place within the system and eliminating the use of emails for application reviews. 


Information Services Cost Optimisation 2020

La Trobe University

La Trobe

Using our Leadership in Action program (LEAP) of nominated future leaders within Information Services (IS) and responding to COVID impacts in HE, a hand-picked team was assembled with the non-negotiable goal of swiftly lowering the cost base for IS with the operational budget as primary focus. In a period of 4 months the IS Cost Optimisation Team achieved >$4m of bottom-line impact & cost avoidance. This achievement not only met the revised optimisation target ($3.5m), it substantially exceeded it. This level of saving equates to the very real outcome of also retaining a considerable amount of people’s jobs (20+) not just within IS but in the broader University community. Furthermore, the actions of this team have embedded a cost-conscious culture within Information Services ensuring long lasting behavioural change. The program was so successful we have again been asked for a similar initiative and with similar goals in 2021. 


 Automate the Special Consideration Assessment Process

Southern Cross University

Southern Cross

Automate the Special Consideration Assessment process. Key motivations were to: Remove manual labour within Student Administration Team related to triaging and processing documentation through the CRM system (essential via email); Improve the Student Experience & reduce stress by reducing decision turnaround time with auto approvals for requests that met policy conditions; Streamline workloads for Academics processing decisions. Scope: Rework the online form and include ability for students to track progress online; Build an automated business process that follows submission including auto approval processing and online workflow management allowing approvals & other decisions to be processed with a click of a button; Build an Operational Dashboard to monitor and track processing times and outcomes; Implement and manage the change from manual to high volume automated workflow processing; Provide a project and collaboration template for rapid implementation of future Forms & Business Process Automation including an analysis and governance framework. 


Adopting New Ways of Working to improve Operational excellence, Student Success

La Trobe University

La Trobe

Our Information Services division formed a COVID-19 response task force to deploy Microsoft Teams, F5 VPN and VMware VDI within about two months. VDI was targeted at students who required access to computer software that was previously only available in computer rooms on campus. VPN was targeted at staff, students and researchers who required remote access to systems and data with a higher level of security and that was not available over the Internet. Teams was targeted at all staff, students and researchers who needed to connect, collaborate, communicate and share. Teams became a focal point for the University as it adopted new ways of working due to COVID-19. The record pace in which these activities were achieved was a fantastic outcome for the University and for students, staff, researchers, collaborators, strategic partners and the broader LTU Community.