Larmer Brown Case Study - University of Cambridge

University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge, encompassing 31 Colleges, 6 Schools, 200 Faculties and Departments, 9,000 staff and 20,000 students, is one of the oldest universities in the world and one of the largest in the United Kingdom. It has a reputation for outstanding academic achievement that is known world-wide and that reflects the intellectual achievement of its students as well as the world-class original research carried out by the staff of the University and the Colleges. The University is a confederation of Colleges, Faculties and other institutions and functions, with a central administration and central bodies consisting of, and mainly elected by, the current academic personnel of the Faculties and Colleges. Each of the Colleges and the University is a separate legal entity. The mission of the University of Cambridge is to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence.

The Project

The last five years had seen the Management Information Services Division (MISD) transform into a professional Business Information Systems and Information Management group, with responsibility across the wider University for the core administrative systems. With a number of large-scale ERP systems being developed, or upgraded and deployed, including PeopleSoft´s Campus Solution for Student Records known as ‘CamSIS’ and Oracle´s eBusiness iProcurement, MISD needed to develop a strategy to support the diverse projects and user community to which these multiple projects were being delivered. The team researched what systems were available to meet their diverse needs, through investigative discussions with industry peers, product presentations, proof of concept sessions, and the installation of evaluation software for testing.

Oracle´s User Productivity Kit (UPK) was selected to meet the University´s diverse requirements for the core administrative systems. In addition to the combination of system process documentation, testing and training deliverables, features such as context sensitive help, object recognition, as well as a centralised repository for review and editing of content, were deemed of great value to both the training and project teams. The CamSIS Training Team was the first to implement UPK and sought a partner to help them step up to their project and support the implementation. Larmer Brown was chosen as the implementation partner because of their longstanding relationship with both Oracle and the UPK software development organisation, Global Knowledge. Larmer Brown´s extensive knowledge and experience of the UPK product had been showcased at the various events attended by the University of Cambridge procurement team.

The Solution

Larmer Brown prepared, trained and assisted the University of Cambridge by way of their QuickStart programme. This programme, combining installation, configuration, developer training, standards and support enabled the Cambridge Team to build their own UPK skill in-house. Their three internal trainers were guided through each of the programme phases, from technical configuration, developer training, standards setting, through to prototyping and development. Subject Matter Experts were used to record raw content and then complete the content build with the Team´s own Content Developers. This provided additional benefits, including the use of the UPK testing scripts during the User Acceptance phase.

Development and delivery of the UPK solution was managed by Andy Kent, Training and Communications Manager from CamSIS. With the need to gain stakeholder support, Andy´s Team ran a series of workshops with key business and user stakeholders who responded enthusiastically to the UPK interface and functionality. This reaction, in itself, kick-started Andy´s change and communication programme. "Having purchased a training solution, we considered the use of the Test Scripts a real bonus. Also, once we'd completed the launch workshops, we used UPK as a communication tool during the CamSIS rollout project," stated Andy. To support communication, the Team developed a UPK newsletter that was distributed to users to educate and inform them about the new way of learning, setting expectations prior to the training. A series of classroom training sessions introduced UPK to the users, enabling them to navigate the screens with support, before progressing to the self service of learning content.

The Result

The upgraded CamSIS project went live at the beginning of September 2008. There were approximately 2,500 users registered with CamSIS, who each received a blended learning solution. As ever, the University was keen to understand the benefit gained from the investment made in UPK and an analysis of the CamSIS classroom training attendance confirmed a saving of 75 per cent in terms of days in the classroom. The Team did not experience any increase in Support Calls or user error.

The Future

With nearly 450 processes to be maintained and new ones being identified and recorded most days, the UPK tool provides ongoing value to the CamSIS Training Team. "This year we have a large number of Colleges and Departments on board. In the next year we are targeted to extend this and we see UPK as the tool that will enable us to meet these challenges," added Andy Kent. "The continual improvements in functionality and features within CamSIS further compound the value of the product. We consider that training provisions to support the ongoing application upgrades would not be in place if UPK was not part of our toolset," commented Andy Kent. "In addition to CamSIS, UPK has been used for an iProcurement project we needed to deliver last year. UPK will be our strategic application training product for our core administrative applications for some time to come."

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