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Administrative Processes Modernization Program

Improving the administration of uOttawa’s financial and human resources. Together.

The University of Ottawa is a vibrant, research-driven educational institution. To support its mission and long-standing reputation, the University created this unprecedented program, which aims to modernize, humanize, and streamline the delivery of financial and human resources services to faculties and services so they can focus on their core mandates.


 

Learn about the program

Background

In early 2019, just as the University was consulting stakeholders on its new strategic plan, Transformation 2030, the University also decided to hold parallel discussions on its administration. This project, entitled Review of the financial and human resources administrative processes, had three goals:

  1. Evaluate the current state
  2. Design a future state
  3. Propose a multi-year plan

The review highlighted that external pressures were forcing the University to become more efficient at a time of financial constraints. It also revealed that to effectively recruit students, attract professors and researchers, retain employees, and receive prestigious research grants and donations, the University must renew its financial and human resources tools, systems and processes.

Following this evaluation, the University launched an unprecedented multi-year modernization program under the leadership of the associate vice-president, finance and administration.

Alignment with Transformation 2030

The University’s strategic plan, Transformation 2030, is driving the need for change. The program to modernize administration is a key component of the University’s ambitious plan to implement best practices throughout the organization. Here is how the program aligns with Transformation 2030’s four strategic pillars and three of its core aspirations.

Strategic pillars

More agile

  • The program leverages digital innovation to modernize, humanize, and streamline administrative processes.

More connected

  • The program develops and implements digital tools that connect us with the world and enable us to fulfill our mission wherever we are.

More impactful

  • The program leverages innovation so that researchers and professors can focus more on teaching and conducting research.

More sustainable

  • The program leverages cutting-edge tools to improve financial sustainability and sustainable physical infrastructure growth through better data and information for decision making.
Core aspirations

Outstanding leadership and management

  • The program assists the University in remaining an employer of choice by providing top-notch experiences to its employees through simplified digital experiences.
  • The program leverages our employees’ high-value contributions by automating low-value tasks.

Effective governance

  • The program implements robust, integrated data governance systems to enable effective, data-driven decision making.
  • The program provides high-value administrative services that benefit not only the administration, but also end users.

Cutting-edge research

  • The program facilitates flexible, standardized policies and systems that promote interdisciplinary research across the organization.
  • The program supports and empowers researchers.

Goals

Policies and processes

  • To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of administrative processes and services.

Organization and people

  • To support professors, researchers, employees, and students by providing simplified, responsive, easy-to-use services.
  • To promote good governance by minimizing risks and improving accountability, transparency, equity, and inclusiveness.

Information and systems

  • To facilitate analyses and data-based decisions by providing accurate, complete, easily accessible and timely information.

Benefits for the community

Administrative employees should expect:

  • Complete end-to-end human resources data, such as leave balances, hire dates, vacations, employment history, etc.
  • Streamlined access to information and simplified task execution (including from mobile devices) for transactions such as leave approval, as well as reimbursements and payment approvals.

Senior management should expect:

  • Near real-time visibility on university-wide or unit-wide quality data and key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Improved analysis capabilities and easier scenario modelling to support decision making
  • Ability to develop strategies and make decisions based on data

Professors and researchers should expect:

  • Simplified processes that reduce their administrative burden
  • Self-serve and near real-time financial analyses, charts, ratios, graphs and reports for better decision making
  • Research grant information (such as remaining funds) provided in near real-time
  • Better links between student/academic and financial/HR information

Students should expect:

  • Professors and researchers focusing more on teaching and research and less on administrative tasks
  • Efficient and accurate administrative services
Scope

Human resources

Employees are the most important asset of any organization. To attract and retain employees, administrative processes need to improve. This function’s key business processes will be reviewed.


Financial administration

Most activities at the University require some type of financial transaction. The data from these transactions provides valuable information about the University. This function’s key business processes will be reviewed.


Research

Research activities include all functions of this scope. Impacts on research will be considered to streamline the research experience.


Reports and analytics

Reports and analytics are key to managing human resources, financial assets and research. These functions require an understanding of the data, information, and interdependencies so that complete, accurate and accessible data is available for analysis and decision making.


Enterprise Resource Planning System

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems usually embed best practices while allowing for some customization. A new ERP system will transform processes and provide new and improved functionalities that meet the University’s needs. To meet the program's objectives, Banner and FAST will need to be replaced, as well as other stand-alone and interdependent systems.


Service delivery model

Clarify whether elements are transactional or strategic in nature and whether their scope is unit-wide or campus-wide while ensuring that the model meets the needs of professors, researchers, employees or students.

Guiding principles
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Client-focused

Improve the experience of those receiving administrative services, including professors, researchers, students, and employees.

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University-wide perspective

Remove silos and compartmentalization for more consistent, seamless services, policies, processes and information across University faculties and services. Decisions should be taken based on what’s best for the University as a whole.

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Information quality

Treat and nurture information as an organizational asset. Improve the value of the information by removing its duplication and increasing its availability, accuracy, standardization, and integration.

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Alignment with best practices

Model the University’s administrative services on industry best practices, which are relatively common and standard from one industry to another. The University should avoid customization and follow best practices to find effective solutions that meet its unique needs.

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End-to-end simplification

Challenge current processes and systems to find ways to simplify and reduce the administrative burden.

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Adaptability

Design solutions with flexibility in mind so that these solutions can adapt and evolve as the University’s needs change.

Timeline
Program timeline

Four years. Three phases.

1. Lay the foundation (2019-2021)

  • Clarify roles and responsibilities, data governance, definitions and structures
  • Re-define the service delivery model
  • Select a new enterprise resources planning (ERP) system

2. Transform (2020-2023)

  • Review all administrative processes
  • Replace the ERP system and related systems
  • Implement the new service delivery model

3. Refine (2022-2024)

  • Leverage data and new capabilities for analytics and strategic advice
  • Implement new services such as workforce and succession planning
Governance

Program Level

Project Level

Program Sponsors

  • Champion the program and provide strategic direction
  • Are accountable throughout the program's lifespan
  • Prioritize projects within the program

Program Steering Committee

  • Provides operational direction by managing program objectives, scope, risks, budget and timelines
  • Creates consistency among projects and manages interdependencies
  • Initiates projects and acts as an escalation point for program deviations

Program Director

  • Provides day-to-day tactical direction for the program
  • Executes in accordance with the program objectives set by the governance
  • Manages overall progress, performance and stakeholders

Project Sponsors

  • Champion projects
  • Are accountable throughout the project's lifespan
  • Prioritize the project's business needs

Project Steering Committees

  • Manage project objectives and monitor project scope, risks, budget and timelines
  • Approve change requests
  • Ensure appropriate measures are taken to ensure project success

Project Teams

  • Execute the project and are responsible for the project deliverables
  • Consult with appropriate stakeholders

Project Managers

  • Execute in accordance with project objectives
  • Manage project progress, performance and stakeholders
  • Manage project risks and issues
    Engagement

    The program is largely dependent on the commitment of all members of the University community. In the next four years, everyone will be invited to participate to some extent in the program and its projects. We intend to inform you regularly about the progress of our work.

    We value your comments and advice on the quality and efficiency of the services we intend to put in place. If you have any questions, send an email to Program Director Mathieu Mainville.

    Learn about the projects

    The modernization program is a major undertaking. To facilitate the work, achieve its goals, and address problems more rapidly, the program is divided into projects.

    Expense Reimbursement Improvements

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    The project aims to review, simplify and standardize uOttawa regulations related to reimbursements and the Concur expense management system workflow, as well as to improve the user experience by providing access to a centre of expertise, information sessions, and tools.

    Contact us

    We are a multidisciplinary team of newly arrived uOttawa employees, as well as employees with many years’ experience in Financial Resources, Human Resources and Information Technology, who have been temporarily assigned to the Administrative Processes Modernization Program. We bring exceptional expertise to the task of carrying out the projects and objectives of the Program.


    Office
    1 Stewart, First floor
    Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5

    Program Management
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