As part of our new Student Management System, the project will deliver a new Handbook. This will result in a change to its look, functionality andcreation process. It will provide a better experience for our future students, current students or anyone interested in accessing our handbook. The SMS project is implementing a new IT system, CourseLeaf, to publish our handbook.
This new handbook has been selected following a proof of concept that involved a large number of Western stakeholders. It has been approved by the Project Working Group (PWG) and Steering Committee for design and development.
The new handbook:
will provide improved efficiencies in the management of the curriculum structure and the online publishing of its details while keeping Banner as its source of truth.
has better navigation, device responsiveness and overall user experience
is more aligned with our brand direction *will be searchable by program / subject title via search box or side menu, and
will provide accurate information about the program, admission requirements and its recommended sequence for completion.
We are planning for the new handbook to be accessible to support the Summer 2021 enrolments. We will communicate more about it as the discovery stage progresses.
On the 12th of September, representatives from the Practice Adoption team spent time with Student Central at Parramatta South to experience ‘A day in the life of Student Central’. This provided the team with opportunities to observe student walk-in enquiries, listen to live student calls and see how email enquiries are actioned. This activity provided great insight into the reasons why students reach out to Student Central and the way in which the Student Central team use Callista and other systems to help respond to the student’s enquiry. In addition to spending time with Student Central, we have also sourced data on the volumes of enquiries that have been received this year based on the wrap up code that is used to classify the enquiry.
This information will help us better plan our training for Student Central and ensure that we can develop appropriate training and tailored adoption plans. The variation in enquiries received highlighted that on the day of go-live these teams could receive a call about anything from acceptance of offers through to graduation enquiries and our approach to training, support and ongoing adoption needs to carefully consider the particular needs of this stakeholder group. For the implementation of our new SMS to be successful, we need to ensure we plan for readiness at go-live and include plans to increase system expertise beyond go-live as we continue to adopt our new SMS.
Transition to support planning
Within the broader SMS Project Team there is a Transition to Support team who are responsible for the extensive testing and transition plans to ensure our new SMS can be successfully transitioned into business as usual operations. Our new SMS will integrate with a number of existing IT systems and the impacts of these integrations must be identified so that any subsequent changes can be made. The Transition to Support team is working hard to make sure these changes are known and transition to the future state is clearly planned, communicated and any issues are identified so they can be effectively resolved.
The Practice Adoption Team is also working with stakeholders to understand business impacts that need to be managed in the transition to our new SMS. Team members met stakeholders across the University to build an awareness of the changes that are currently known, such as nomenclature changes and subject code changes. During these engagements impacts can be identified and mitigation activities for these impacts can be planned and built into transition plans. The development of transition plans is an iterative process and will detail particular activities that need to occur before, during and following go-live.
All stakeholders that will use our new SMS will have an opportunity to be involved in testing and training prior to Go Live in September 2020. We are aiming to have a production ready system by April 2020, which means we will have time to develop and deploy training material before the September Go-Live date. The Practice Adoption Team is currently working through training and adoption plans and ensuring stakeholder needs are understood so we can effectively deliver training and support tailored to stakeholder needs.
During and after Go-Live the project team will be busy monitoring the new SMS and working with stakeholders ensure a seamless transition to the new system. This period of time is often called “hyper-care” and this period exists to ensure adequate support is provided to stakeholders who are using the system for the first time. More details regarding the hyper-care period and what you can expect will be communicated over coming months.
Stakeholder Focus || Leslie Cowles
1. When did you first hear about the new Student Management System (SMS) Project?
Early in 2015, before the initial vendor presentations. I was on a year secondment to International Admissions then, as I am now.
2. What does the new SMS implementation mean to your area?
A new integration of data from Studylink and a new system of record for the information we send across. At the moment we set up a lot of dependant / downstream things and we have to manage how (if?) those will work in the new SMS.
3. Give us your TIP for successful technology implementation?
Talk to the end users throughout the process and don’t hard-code tables that help systems talk to one another.
4. How does the SMS align with other projects within your area?
Anything we change with Callista now has to inform our starting point with the new SMS. I’m sensitive to any departures from the specs which were collected years ago. So the SMS Project is in the back of my mind whenever we make changes.
5. What excites you about our new SMS?
Having a modern, flexible, student focused system and having the opportunity to set the standard for how this system works in the Australian context.
6. How do you prepare for change?
Trying to understand its rationale and explaining it to affected staff.
Roles in change
The implementation of our new SMS will result in significant operational change and will require people to change the way they do things. Organisational change is often viewed as difficult, however the Practice Adoption Team within the broader SMS project team know that organisational change does not need to be hard – especially when everyone is engaged and participating in the change.
Many change theorists highlight the importance of “roles in change”. The SMS Practice Adoption Team has developed a view of the changes roles we believe are important in adopting our new SMS. These roles include:
Practice Adoption Team,
Change Enablers and
The role of the Practice Adoption Team is to provide support to these roles so that we can all successfully implement and adopt our new SMS.
Importance of Managers & Supervisors in change
Over coming months, the Practice Adoption Team will be developing material to support our Change Leaders (Managers and Supervisors) and will create artefacts that our Change Leaders can use to help introduce and explore the change with their teams. Prosci research identifies the role of managers as a top contributor to successful organisational change and have identified 5 functions that managers and supervisors must fulfill to help implement change. These are:
Communicator: Communicate with direct reports about the change. The SMS Practice Adoption team will provide information that Managers and Supervisors can discuss with their teams. 2-way dialogue is particularly helpful and we will be seeking feedback via Managers and Supervisors to let us know when more information is needed and any particular questions or concerns that have been raised.
Advocate: Demonstrate support for the change. It is important that when communicating Managers and Supervisors advocate for and support the change. There may sometimes be issues or concerns that are raised and we ask that Managers and Supervisors discuss these issues with the SMS Project Team and seek to explore appropriate resolutions.
Coach: Coach employees through the change process. Everyone deals with change differently and Managers and Supervisors should be prepared to support and coach staff through times of change. For the SMS project this coaching is likely to be around changes to operational activities, such as process changes or new / changed activities.
Liaison: Engage with and provide support to the project team. Managers and Supervisors are often the conduit to information being passed between the project team and staff. It is important that Managers and Supervisors continue to play this role.
Resistance manager: Identify and manage resistance. The SMS Practice Adoption Team prefers to see “resistance to change” through the lens of “reactions to change”. More information regarding how people react to change and how we can work together to manage reactions will be included in coming months.
The role of the SMS Practice Adoption Team is to ensure stakeholders are aware of the changes arising from our new SMS and have the skills and knowledge necessary to adopt our new system. Achieving operational change is a team effort and the Practice Adoption Team will work with all “roles in change” to ensure we can successfully implement our new SMS.