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See how the programme is progressing

The latest updates across all projects are listed below, or you can follow project progress on the relevant streams' webpage.

Stream 1

Quick wins

Stream 2

Service delivery / process improvements

Stream 3

IT enhancements

Stream 4

IT projects

Stream 5

Supply chain

Stream 6

Space and relocation

30 July 2020

Stream 4: IT Projects


There are two phases to the implementation of the new student accommodation management programme at the University called StarRez. Phase 1 went live in the middle of June. Phase 1 is designed to provide standardised practices and processes across all the residential colleges.

Phase 2 is the student application process, which will be ready to go live by 1 August when student applications for the University Residential Colleges open.

The big change is that we will be asking them to enrol for Residential Colleges through eVision.

We are also launching an online user application called Portal X, which is for the residential side of college life. This will be designed to allow students to do such tasks as request maintenance, order a college hoody, request a friend stay, or ask for an extra meal online.

Every week a new piece of functionality is being added to Portal X for students to use. Over recent weeks there have been moves to automate banking transactions.

We now have administrators in 10 Residential Colleges who are doing everything the same way and building on their collective knowledge. So, when they are unsure on how to use some of the functionality, they can contact one of the other administrators and learn how it is done, without needing to contact StarRez itself for support.

28 July 2020

Stream 5: Supply Chain

In May we welcomed Mark Botting to the Enabling Excellence team as Supply Chain Project Manager. Mark’s key task is to produce a Master Plan for the Supply Chain Enhancement Programme – building on the work done to date by Richard Mackenzie-Browne on the Business Case.

The COVID-19 lockdown slowed progress on the project with priorities focussed elsewhere. However, now we are back on track with the pace picking up since returning to the University.

Getting the Master Plan agreed upon is an important step to ensuring the scope and resourcing are well supported and tasked to achieve the desired results. A draft of the Master Plan was submitted to the Programme Steering Group (PSG) in mid-June with many discussion points arising. Final decisions on the project Master Plan are expected in August – allowing the approval process to go ahead.

Building on positive changes, the Supply Chain Enhancement Programme aims to update and improve the supply chain for the benefit of all its users and touch points. Our vision is to implement a fit-for-purpose and consistent supply chain that adds value across the University. It will be focussed on the Supply Chain “Rights”: right product, right specification, right time, right place, right price. This is a very large project that is expected to impact many aspects of University operations and staff over the next three years or so.

24 July 2020

Stream 2: Service delivery / process improvements

Promapp helping ease transition at the University

Ever wondered how you can map out your department’s work processes and ease the transition of new team members?

One of the key projects for the Enabling Excellence team over the past year has been the rollout of the process improvement software tool Promapp. Promapp is used to document the University’s processes and support process management throughout the University.

Group Lead Process Improvement Katie Barrett says Promapp, “encourages University-wide collaboration and assists in continuous improvement. It helps us streamline things, it also identifies gaps and duplication in processes”.

Katie says where there have been gaps within a process due to staff changing roles, staff turnover or activities moving to another part of the University, “Promapp has helped identify the missing information so that we can completely document the process from end-to-end”. Currently, there are 221 people in the University that have been trained in using Promapp.

“It’s brilliant. There are plenty of people accessing or viewing Promapp – we can see that there are more than 20,000 process views so far this year.”

Katie says more than 700 processes have been mapped out so far. While many of those have been developed by the Process Improvement Team, a large proportion have been produced by University staff who have been through a training course.

“They’re best placed to map out a process as they know their work areas and the activities undertaken there.”

Within Promapp, there are two roles assigned to a process. A ‘process owner’ has overall responsibility for a process. They’re accountable for the process running efficiently and continuously improving. But they’re not necessarily using it on a day-to-day basis, so have more of a governance role.

A ‘process expert’ manages a process day-to-day on behalf of the owner and has a detailed understanding of the process. They respond to improvement suggestions and make sure that the process remains up to date.

“So, it’s all about empowering all University staff enabling them to take ownership of their area’s processes. Promapp is the best tool to do that.”

Promapp is easy to use and consistent for the end user. “We want people from all areas of the University to access this with the same look and feel each time.”

Katie says the University plans to one day get to the point where all its processes are mapped within Promapp in their current form so staff can work on continuously improving them from there.

“You can add web links to processes so you can link through to more detailed documentation, eLearning material, a policy that relates to it or any other information accessible on a website.”

In the future, staff will be able to log into Promapp and see their job role and all the processes associated with it, as well as the processes that they are responsible for.

Katie says Promapp training courses are run on campus most weeks depending upon staff demand. To get in contact with the Promapp team, you can email

Recent work completed in Promapp includes:

  • Business continuity processes for Shared Services (Finance Services, ITSS, AskOtago, HR Services, Student Experience)
  • South Hub Database Project – purchasing processes for departments serviced by the South Hub Purchasing Team

Stream 3: IT Enhancements

SMS Enhancements

The Online Approval process for thesis proposals is now scheduled to go live on 29 July 2020. Training is underway and all affected users have been sent communications with links to training material. The new process will replace the current paper-based one. We expect the new way of working to increase our efficiency and improve transparency around the thesis approval process. This has been a huge effort, not only from the project team but the Graduate Research School, Associate Deans Postgraduate, Student Experience and others. A big thanks to everyone who has contributed to making this change possible.

The automation of the replacement examiner process has recently gone live and we will shortly be releasing the automation of the research student management withdrawals process. We have also developed a process to automate the removal of semester 2 papers, where the semester 1 prerequisite was failed, which was previously managed with a manual student-by-student process. This was a significant timesaver for the Student Administration team leading up to the busy semester 2 Change of Course period.

We will soon be releasing a major change to how we manage duplicate student accounts. While this change is largely “under the hood”, the new method will see far fewer students being incorrectly caught as duplicates, resulting in a reduced workload for the Student Administration and Application Support teams who are involved in tidying up the duplicate accounts.

For the rest of 2020 we will be shifting focus to two new areas: Online Change of Course, and Applications and Admissions. The Online Change of Course project aims to be in place for the 2021 academic year and will see a major overhaul of how students request changes to their programmes and papers post course approval and how these change requests are processed by staff. The goal is a more streamlined process that improves the student experience and reduces workload for staff.

The first phase of the Applications and Admissions work is focussed on quick wins to mould the existing functionality to the post-SSR centralised Admissions structure within Student Administration.

Stream 4: IT Projects


The SONIA placements administration software has reached the halfway stage of implementation.

It has recently been rolled out to a further four areas: GP Placements, Rural Medical Immersion Programme, Paediatrics and Nursing.

Next in line are: Radiation Therapy, Community Contact Week, Physiotherapy and Phase 2 of Dentistry.

SONIA training is ongoing and feedback from placement officers has been positive.

“It’s much better to have a central system to track the students as one place being updated is much better than separate documents,” one participant commented.

Ci Anywhere

The Ci Anywhere Upgrade project is currently on track in terms of budget and schedule. Initial workshops for Enterprise Budgeting, General Ledger, Fixed Assets, Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable have been completed, and requirements have been captured. Purchasing and PCard workshops are scheduled for early August.

Training has also been completed for Enterprise Budgeting, General Ledger and Fixed Assets. User Acceptance Testing of these modules will start soon, once the new Test Server Environment setup is complete. Feedback from those trained has been very positive.

We are also upgrading the OCR Scanning software (KOFAX). It is used to scan invoices and credit notes and upload the information such as invoice or purchase order number to match against the amount involved. As part of this upgrade, we are doing a clean out of old data, and enhancing the validation and optimisation to increase the overall accuracy. Currently the error rejection rate is 60 per cent of all scans, meaning these require manual input. The improvements being made should reduce this rate to less than 10 per cent.


Since the project launch in May there has been a great deal of work done in this space. In May and June, 46 Requirement Workshops were held with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and stakeholders. The information from these workshops is currently being incorporated into a Detailed Requirement Document including business and system processes for the relevant area. We have also completed a Prosci (change management) survey to measure the Awareness, and Desire (ADKAR model) and the effectiveness of the workshops.

The Project Team and many of the SMEs moved into the basement of the Otago Business School Building in mid-May and it has been affectionately called the ‘Bunker’. This has allowed the Project Team and SMEs to work closely together on the pre-design processes. The Design workshops will take place from 27 July to 14 August 2020, which will go into detail of the systems and processes and then be developed into a detailed design document in mid to late August.

Resource Booker

A new system is being introduced to consolidate and streamline the University’s room booking process.

Resource Booker will enable campus-wide visibility of rooms in Dunedin to allow them to be managed more efficiently.

Staff and students will be able to access a common platform to both see what spaces are available and to reserve rooms.

It is expected departments will retain a level of administrative control over their rooms.

Resource Booker will replace the current environment where several different systems are used to book rooms.

Stream 6: Space and relocation

Clocktower update

Work has begun in the first floor “Octagon area”, which is the area of the Clocktower where the Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellors, and the Chief Financial Officer are located (amongst others).

This is the last phase of work in the office space before moving into the final refurbishment phase, which includes the Reception Lounge, Committee Room North and the Council Chambers. Other approved works still to be programmed (which are currently being designed), are the refurbishment of a number of bathrooms and showers, which are in a poor state, and the replacement of the stairs to the second floor tea rooms.

The current phase is due for completion in early August, when staff currently based in the Archway West Building will return to the Clocktower. The whole project is due to be completed in early November.

IT and Supply Chain Hub update

Development of new purchasing/supply and IT hubs for the University is advancing:

  • Supply Hub - Biochemistry
    This hub was completed, with staff moving there, in mid-June.
  • South IT Hub – Marples building (Zoology)
    Design is complete. Currently in the demolition phase of the construction programme, which is due to be completed in August.
  • North IT Hub – Science 3 (Physics)
    Design is complete. Construction is scheduled for completion in September, however several issues in construction are yet to be finalised.
  • Central and East IT Hubs – 119 Albany St
    Design concept accepted. Construction design in progress. A completion date will be confirmed once the detailed design is complete.

Learn more about Resource Booker

7 May 2020

Stream 6: Space and Relocation

The University’s space improvement programme was briefly paused during the pandemic lockdown, but is moving back into gear as restrictions ease.

Work has resumed on the Clocktower refurbishment and a revised schedule is being developed.

When the University went into lockdown work was underway on the HR Director’s area, which will be followed by the Chief Financial Officer’s office, Client Services Senior Manager, and then the Vice-Chancellor’s space. This is followed by the three public spaces: the reception lounge at the top of the main stairway; Committee Room North; and finally the Council Chamber.

Some additional features, which will be added over the next few months, include replacement of the upper section of the staircase to the main tearoom (with a new and less steep access way). In addition the basement showers and toilets, and some of the other Clocktower bathrooms that are in most need of work will be upgraded.

24 April 2020

Stream 2: Service Delivery/Process Improvement

Over the past 12 months we have been reactive in our approach to process improvement, as we have worked to address many of the immediate issues raised during the “shift” phase of the SSR.

However, during the remainder of 2020 we will be taking a more proactive approach and focusing our resources on one subject area at a time (e.g. HR then Finance then IT etc). The priority areas will be based on where we can deliver the most significant benefits to the broader University community. We will also be considering the IT projects that are currently in progress or planned and how the process work we do aligns with these. This approach will also allow us to apply some more structured change management practices such as having sponsors for each of these pieces of work. We are just finalising the last parts of the plan and will share this with you as soon as possible.

Current Activity
While adjusting to balancing home life, home-schooling and workloads in our bubbles, the Process Improvement team urgently redirected their focus to assist in Covid-19 readiness and response across the University. This included business continuity process mapping for Shared Services, assisting in the processes for transitioning the University from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 3 and preparation work for the implementation of Digital Exams and the Service Management/CRM project.

We want to say a special thank you to everyone for their patience, cooperation and efforts over what has been a unique and challenging time.

Stream 3: IT Enhancements

SMS Enhancements

Development of Phase Two of Research Student Management is well underway. This phase will develop an online approval process for thesis proposal approval to replace the current paper approval form.

Group Leader Business Systems Ben Cole says, “we’re aiming to complete this work by early June and will be sending communications regarding timing and training opportunities to all users shortly.”

Ben says the project team has almost completed the technical changes required to merge the Summer School enrolment and approval processes with those for the main enrolment period. The next stage is to complete user acceptance testing. This change will not be rolled out until shortly before paper selection opens for 2021, to avoid interfering with second semester change of course. The focus of this work stream will soon shift to developing an online change of course process, for release in 2021.

“The final items for Phase One of the automation stream of work are currently being tested and we have made a start on improvements to the Duplicate Checking process.”

The next item to be worked on will be Applications and Admissions. “We have been working closely with the Student Experience team to understand and prioritize their requirements and will start work on this once the Duplicate Checking item is complete,” Ben says.

Stream 4: IT Projects

CRM and Service Management projects have merged

The Service Management Project has merged with the CRM Project to form one new project, which is called the Customer Relationship Service Management (CRSM) Project.

COO Stephen Willis says basically, we’ve combined two projects, one that aims to help us manage the services we provide for our external relationships (CRM) with another that focuses on managing the services we provide for our internal relationships (Service Management); requests from staff and students for services for anything from building repairs to IT resources.

The Service Management team started scoping that project as the Customer Relationship Management team was focusing on using Microsoft Dynamics 365, and it became clear the projects overlapped significantly and could both use that system.

This not only makes financial sense, but means you won’t have to switch between so many systems, and information will be more readily available and be shared between teams.

Currently, we deal with information and requests in many places, in different ways, and store it on different platforms. Having one system will let us provide the most effective, efficient, streamlined services possible. It will be far more user-friendly than our many existing systems and allow staff to focus more on their key tasks.
“In this time of uncertainty, it is important for us to deliver the improvements we have promised. The pandemic has also highlighted how these projects will provide a transparency that will help us all navigate any future emergencies.”

The renamed project will have four implementation phases:

  • Phase 1 is External Relationship Management, which successfully went live on 15 April 2020.
  • Phase 2 starts next month and finishes about April next year. It will create a shared portal for staff and students’ requests related to AskOtago, Student Experience and IT Support Services by bringing those services into the CRM system so staff and students can raise service requests, update them and track them anytime, anywhere. Those service teams can easily update and share information to provide a better service.

    This phase’s second focus is integrating with eVision – our Student Management System – so CRM users can have relevant student information. While interactions our students have with these services are recorded and our students have a more cohesive experience during their journey with us.
  • Phase 3 begins in mid-2021 and finishes about the year’s end. It will add Marketing, Schools’ Liaison and more Service Management functions to the portal. This will let staff log HR-related and transactional financial requests, while also letting Marketing and Schools Liaison record their interactions with prospective students at events.
  • Phase 4 starts in mid-February 2022 and finishes about August that year. It adds Social Media Listening, Property Services and more service management capabilities to the portal. This includes automatic reporting that produces dashboards for managers, a focus on engaging students in a timely way through social media and maximizing their opportunities at our University, while integrating with the Property Services system. This is when we will have most service teams using the same system to work more efficiently together.

Stream 4: IT Projects


Work continues at a furious pace on the implementation of the student accommodation management system – StarRez. Recently business stakeholders reviewed and signed off on college operations and finance processes.

University Senior Business Analyst Shaun Barnarde says quicks wins implemented during the first quarter of the year resulted in an estimated saving of between 79 to 126 hours of work. This was done by automating a previously manual data update (photos from eVision to StarRez) with additional processes automation having been developed and ready for production release planning.

“The team is currently working with Learning and Development to establish training collateral that covers the first delivery phase,” Shaun says.

The vendor is migrating data from the current production to the new environment so that unit testing can start, as well as to support hands on training and user acceptance testing.

May will be a very busy month with training and testing activities being planned, Shaun concluded.

Stream 4: IT Projects


Good progress is taking place with the wider deployment of SONIA. The placements administration system has already been successfully implemented (during phase one of this project) into the College of Education and School of Pharmacy and now the following departments are the latest to go live:

  • Otago Business School
  • School of Physical Education
  • Department of Psychology
  • Otago Medical School (Electives)
  • School of Dentistry

SONIA allows administrative staff to automate many of the processes involved in placement administration. The system also helps the University meet Health and Safety obligations, improve the quality of information and reporting and quickly identify where students are located.

The uncertain environment during the COVID-19 outbreak is a great example of the importance of a real-time placement tracking system to maintain visibility of where students are located.

12 March 2020

Stream 5: Supply Chain

Supply Chain preparing its Business Case

Most of the investigative phase of the Supply Chain project has been completed and a business case is currently being prepared to be reviewed and approved by the University’s senior management team over the next few months.

Subject Matter Expert Richard McKenzie-Browne says they’ve “completed the ‘discovery’ phase and are now starting to compile the information for the strategic part of the business case.”

He says the business case will outline what needs to be done to achieve the goals for the Supply Chain work programme, and the supporting implementation plan will say how we need to do this.

There will be an estimated two-year minimum implementation plan to start achieving the cost savings and efficiencies forecast from the programme.
“It’s a very large programme, which in some way will touch every part of the University,” Richard says.

He says the business case will determine the resources needed to complete the transition, together with the opportunities that are forecast to be achieved.

Dr Lincoln Wood, who teaches supply chain at the University of Otago Business School, is providing academic expert advice on the programme to the management team from a stakeholder perspective.

“The whole change management programme is absolutely key to the success of the supply chain outcomes and this needs to be clearly communicated. There will be regular updates in the months ahead,” Richard says.

Stream 4: IT Projects

StarRez student accommodation management solution for our residential colleges

Work is progressing well with the implementation of the StarRez student accommodation management system at many of the University of Otago residential colleges.

University Senior Business Analyst Shaun Barnarde says during the last quarter of last year the project team was assembled and the project office was established.

In addition, the programme team identified quick wins, and a vendor-facilitated business process review was completed, which among other things identified opportunities to introduce best practice.

The system is being upgraded and will be used by all University-owned residential colleges. It provides standardised processes and realises some process improvements through automation. The University College system, which has been developed in conjunction with the Enabling Excellence team, will be shared with two of the affiliated colleges.

In the current quarter the new environment with virtual machines and software has been commissioned.

“We will establish the core system configuration, implement the financial capability, and residential college operations, and also test data migration over the next few months,” he says.

The system has been in use at the University for more than 16 years. It is hoped that the rollout of StarRez will help streamline the administrative work in the residential colleges of the Client Services Administrators.

It is planned to have all phases of the StarRez implementation completed by the end of this year.

The SONIA Student Placement Project

The SONIA placement administration project is picking up pace with implementation across five schools/departments planned for March.

Fifteen placement officers recently attended a two-day SONIA training session to get to grips with the system.

Feedback from the training was positive and the placement officers will now be involved in helping configure SONIA to suit the University’s needs.

About 17 per cent of Otago University students go on placements and SONIA allows administrative staff to automate many of the processes involved.

The system also helps the University meet health and safety obligations, improve the quality of information and reporting and quickly identify where students are located.

Stream 6: Space and relocation

University hubs taking shape

There’s been a hive of activity around the University as a range of service hubs are put in place.

The AskOtago hubs at the Clocktower, St David II, the Hunter Centre, and the School of Business are completed. The College of Education hub is operating, but it still requires signage and a self-help desk to be finished. Operations Group Project manager Jon Thompson says it will be about five weeks to complete all this work.

AskOtago self-help terminals are planned for the Invercargill, Christchurch, and Wellington campuses, and will be installed later in the year.

Jon says that the IT hub in the Marples building (Zoology Department) is currently under review, as is the planned Albany St hub.

In order for the Science III IT hub to progress, the current occupants (Mathematics postgraduate students) will be moving to the second story of the Good Earth café in Cumberland Street, which is in the process of being refurbished.

Work on the south campus storage hub can only begin after work on the Marples building is completed, Jon says.

In terms of the purchasing hubs, the hub on the Biochemistry building ground floor site is currently in construction and should be finished by early April. The purchasing hub in the Lindo Ferguson building is completed.

Meanwhile, a kitchenette is planned for the ground floor of the St David II building and there is work starting to refurbish the storage space in the basement of the Clocktower (this work is outside the scope of the current Clocktower refurbishment programme).

AskOtago School of Business hub image
The AskOtago hub on the School of Business ground floor.

Clocktower refurbishment well over halfway

The University’s iconic Clocktower building renovation is moving forward with much of the work either underway or completed.

“We’re just about to complete phase eight of 13 of the project, which includes about three-quarters of the actual office space,” Clocktower Refurbishment Assistant Project Manager Tim Colling says.

He says the External Engagement Division Directors will be based in Archway West until 17 April, and once they are back the whole ground floor refurbishment will be finished. This will be followed by the Chief Financial Officer’s office, Client Services Senior Manager, and then the Vice-Chancellor’s space. This is followed by the three public spaces: the reception lounge at the top of the main stairway; Committee Room North; and finally, the Council Chamber.

Alumni Room Fit out 2020 Image

Tim says a limiting factor for the duration of the work has been the size of the decanting area (Archway West), which can comfortably house about 30 people.

Some additional features, which will be added over the next few months, include replacement of the upper section of the staircase to the main tearoom (with a new and less steep access way). In addition, the basement showers and toilets, and some of the other Clocktower bathrooms that are in most need of work will be upgraded.

He says a major benefit of the refurbishment has been the increase and upgrade to meeting room space in the Clocktower. Two new large meeting rooms have been added on the ground floor, both equipped with AV. In addition, the AV equipment in the two larger meeting rooms on level one and the Council Chambers will be upgraded. Along with the increase in numbers of larger AV equipped rooms, a number of smaller meeting rooms have also been created.

“Anyone from throughout the University will be able to book these meeting spaces via the Outlook calendar system,” Tim says.

There are several other design features, which will be revealed later in the year, that fit with the cultural narrative of “navigation”, which has been developed for the first major refurbishment of the building in more than a decade.

The current completion date for all phases of work is late September, Tim notes.

Stream 2: Service delivery / process improvements

University putting service delivery in the spotlight

What constitutes excellent service at the University is being reviewed by the Enabling Excellence team, alongside staff from the Operations group.

Project Manager Emma Chen says the Service Delivery work stream aims to ensure there is a consistent level of service for staff and students right across the University.

She says that a great deal of exploratory work has been done and a business case for this work will go to the Vice-Chancellor’s Advisory Group at the end of March.

“We’re doing a lot of work with the Operations Group to understand what our students and staff most need in terms of service options, and we’ve been working closely with projects such as Customer Relations Management to find solutions that will complement each other.

“The message that we have received so far is that everyone wants a more consistent and standardised approach to service delivery. Also, the students themselves want to have more self-service options, which will mean that our staff can concentrate on other aspects of their role,” she says.

A Service Delivery steering group has been established and is currently in place.

Emma says that for the past few months she’s been meeting people throughout the University to understand the service expectations of staff and students.

“The Service Catalogue is one of the major projects involved in this work stream. It aims to have one place where everyone accesses the same information. Currently, there are around 600 different forms in use across the University, and we are looking at this right now.”

Once the business case is approved Emma plans to run a series of workshops, which will give all those who use University services an opportunity to have their say on what they think great service is.
The Service Delivery rollout schedule is yet to be finalised, Emma says.

The Service Catalogue Project – a centralised repository for all University staff

The Service Catalogue is a directory or list of professional, administrative and support services provided to the University community. While various organisational units around University have developed their own lists of services, until now there’s been no central, single point of truth for this information.

Project Manager Annemaree Senior says a service catalogue aims to help us find out what services there are and how to access them.

“For example, a Client Services Administrator may be asked to arrange for some keys to be cut; to find out how to organise media training for an academic member of staff, and told to log an incident in Vault. After the service catalogue is released, the administrator can browse or search the catalogue to find out how to complete these tasks.”

The first release of the Service Catalogue will include services from the following organisational units:

External Engagement Communications
Operations Information Technology Services
Project Management Office
Property Services
Shared Services Ask Otago
IT Support Services
Student Experience

“Over the last three months we have been working on the template for the service catalogue entries and collecting additional service information, particularly in the IT space,” Annemaree says.
In the next three months, it is planned to:

  • Undertake testing to ensure that the Service Catalogue is useful and is operating as expected;
  • Release the Service Catalogue to University staff; and
  • Collect the next batch of service information from University departments and divisions.

Below is a draft of what a typical service catalogue entry is planned to look like.

Service catalogue image

Travel and conference booking system a success

Over the past few months, the new travel and conference booking system has been rolled out across the University and is now being used throughout the academic Divisions. The system is based on that originally developed at the School of Dentistry about six years ago.

More than 530 electronic travel and conference applications have been approved at the University since its introduction. In the Dunedin School of Medicine, there have been 233 applications received, and it is now normal business practice. Meanwhile, the Science Division has been using it for eight weeks and has received around 100 applications.

Project Manager Toni Iaseto says that the key benefits of the new system are improving this process by making it paperless, and providing consistency for applying for travel and conference leave right across the University.

“There has been fantastic support from all the client services administrators, the academic leaders, academics, supply chain, HR and financial services, and many other University staff to make it a success. Client Services Managers need a special mention across all divisions for their great mahi,” Toni says.

He is also keen to acknowledge the work of the University’s service provider Intergen, and also the University’s Corporate Records team to help make it a success.

He says in the past the paper-based system involved a number of people in the process, but now the academic staff member organises their own quotes, makes sure that their work is covered, fills in forms, which are automatically send for approval. Once approved the supply chain can create purchase order numbers, which are given to the travel agent and they’re all booked in.

“Part of the beauty of having the forms available electronically is that you can monitor your own application, there’s no longer a need to hunt them down and find out whose in-tray they’re in.

“Another benefit is in situations such as the current coronavirus COVID‑19 outbreak this is another way that we can quickly see where University staff are travelling, and identify who we may need to contact,” Toni says.

He says for the next quarter we will begin planning to roll it out right across the Operations Division.

17 February 2020

Stream 3: IT Enhancements

SMS Enhancements marks completion of Phase One

Phase One of the SMS Enhancements project – Research Student Management was successfully released on Wednesday 5 February. This enhancement addresses issues of navigation and workflow visibility within the Proposal Assessment task in eVision.

Group Leader Business Systems Ben Cole says drop-in sessions to demonstrate the new functionality were well attended, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. No issues have been reported since the release. He says the project team is now planning for Phase Two, which will focus on online approvals of research proposals.

“We also released functionality on 5 February to allow Student Administration staff to request students scan and upload identity documentation.

“We are continuing to work with Student Experience to scope out their requirements for further SMS improvements, Ben says.

27 January 2020

Stream 5 Supply Chain

The Supply Chain team held 12 discovery workshops on campus from mid-November through to mid-December. These workshops were attended by professional and academic staff that work directly with purchasing, procurement and other parts of the supply chain lifecycle.

These workshops will help the Supply Chain team develop the business case for the programme. In addition they will identify and begin to inform the projects that will sit within the programme. The project scope will be refined and further workshops will take place over the next few months to clarify and develop more detailed requirements for the Supply Chain stream of work.

5 December 2019

Stream 3: IT Enhancements

The SMS Enhancements project currently has three streams of work in progress to enhance functionality within eVision: Automation of Support Tasks; Summer School Improvements; and Research Student Management. We have also recently completed work to allow students to upload scanned identity documentation, which will be released once the appropriate document authentication training has been delivered by an external trainer.

Automation of support tasks aims to reduce the need to raise a ticket to get changes made in eVision, by creating tasks to allow staff to make the changes themselves. The first phase of this work is due to be completed in early January, with the following tasks already released: maintenance of suspended students; access to change specialisation for student administration; and exit qualifications.

Summer School Improvements focuses on streamlining enrolment and course approval processes to reduce duplication and issues for both students and staff. This piece of work needs to be completed before we can undertake any further development for online Change of Course, which is a high priority for the University.

Research Student Management (RSM) is the enhancement and redesign of current functionality in Graduate Research, the area of eVision where research students are managed. The need for change was documented by the RSM Review held in 2017 and RSM related change items are contained in the SSR Business Case. The first release in early 2020 will address issues with navigation and visibility of students requiring action within Proposal Assessment. We will then work on online approval functionality for Proposal Assessment.

2 December 2019

Stream 2: Service delivery/process improvements

Sensitive Expenditure Forms
The need for a single Sensitive Expenditure Approval Form for University staff use has been identified for some time.

Three forms are currently being trialled as part of the online-form project (events, gifts and donations) which will be incorporated into one online form, with a drop-down box.

Once the trial is complete the revised Sensitive Expenditure Policy and Sensitive Expenditure Procedure and Guidelines will be ready to circulate as a complete package. The benefits of one online form include a clear, consistent, documented and standardised approach to sensitive expenditure across the whole University.
View the Sensitive Expenditure Policy

Stream 3 IT Enhancements

Upcoming SMS enhancements
The next three work packages (items) in the SMS Enhancements Project are currently being developed: automation of support tasks; Research Student Management phase one; and Summer School improvements.

ITS Group Leader Teaching and Learning Ben Cole says, “automation of support tasks” has been prioritised to reduce the workload of the Application Support team and provide more autonomy to eVision users. Currently there are a number of processes which require users to log a support call, which requires a manual response in the back end of the system by the Application Support team.

Phase one of the Research Student Management work package is being developed. Phase one will improve navigation of the graduate research component of eVision. Staff will be provided with an ‘easy to use’ view indicating which students need action. Staff will be able to navigate from this view into the relevant task to perform the action, and have clear visibility of what needs to be done. This will have significant efficiency benefits for all staff using the graduate research area of eVision.

29 November 2019

Stream 6: Space and Relocation

AskOtago hub update
New AskOtago hubs in the Hunter Centre and the Otago Business School have been completed. The Clocktower hub has been fully operational for several weeks now. The St David II hub was finished in July, while the College of Education hub is due to be completed later in the year.

26 November 2019

Stream 2: Service delivery / process improvements

Service Support Structures and how to access them
Given the ongoing implementation of new support structures and teams, it can be difficult to know your go-to person for different services.

To help you find the go-to person, there are now a set of handy service support structure tables located in OURDrive. These tables are kept up-to-date by service managers, so save the link to your bookmarks to be sure you always have the latest information.

Select the area of the University you work in, and open the corresponding file. For example, if you work in the Botany Department then select Sciences above. This file will show you the different people available to support this department.

Note that you may be prompted to update links when opening the file. Please select Yes.

Enabling Excellence Stream 2 26112019 image

22 November 2019

Stream 4: IT Projects

The University is preparing to roll out Phase 3 of SONIA, a new system to improve processes for the management of students out on placement.

Each year about 17 per cent of Otago students from a number of different departments are on placement to develop skills and gain clinical and work experience.

SONIA, which has already been successfully implemented for the College of Education and the School of Pharmacy, will standardise the management of placements for the University administrative staff and off-site mentors.

Importantly it will improve student safety by allowing the University to quickly identify where students are in the event of an emergency.

SONIA will be implemented across the various schools and departments from February to October 2020.

19 November 2019

Stream 3: IT Enhancements

Work is underway to standardise the use of StarRez, the student accommodation management system which has been employed at Otago for more than 16 years. One of the key deliverables of this project is the streamlining and simplification of administrative processes, which, among other things, will allow Client Services Administrators to work easily and confidently across colleges in the event that backfill is needed. Other anticipated benefits of the project include increased efficiency (through automation of tasks), enhanced data capture (pertaining to incidents, financial account management, etc.), and enriched student experience (via mobile self-service functionality relating to requests for late meals and maintenance work, the ability to purchase college merchandise, etc).

To date, staff representing the business needs of the Heads of College, Client Services Administrators, Finance and the Student Accommodation Centre have participated in a series of “future state design” workshops to scope the finer details of the new way of working. The vendor’s configuration proposal is expected by the end of November, at which time stakeholders will be engaged to review. A project team has been established to work closely with the vendor as the project moves ahead.

We plan to have all phases for the implementation of StarRez completed by the end of next year.

7 November 2019

Stream 5: Supply chain

Richard McKenzie-Browne imageRichard McKenzie-Browne recently joined the Enabling Excellence team as Supply Chain Lead. In his role he will deliver the programme business case that will outline the IT, physical and other elements the University needs to ensure our Supply Chain is operating as well as possible.

Originally from the United Kingdom, he has 25 years of supply chain experience. He’s previously worked for the University on improvements to asset management, contracts and procurement.

Richard is an MBA qualified management accountant and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (MCIPS). In addition he is a PRINCE2 (project management) qualified practitioner and also a member of the Association of Project Managers. He has worked in New Zealand for the last seven years and previously worked in England, Hungary, Slovakia, Canada, Greece, Holland, Germany, Sweden, and Cyprus.

14  October 2019

Stream 2: Service delivery/process improvements

Applicable deliverable: EE2.6 Process improvement

A web-based application called ProMapp is now being used across the University to create, view and share the University’s processes.

Using ProMapp helps to ensure University processes are described consistently, easily accessible, and are easily referenced. The tool also helps us analyse how up-to-date and well used processes are.

An example of a ProMapp process can be found on the Small Events hub:
Visit Small Events Promapp

If you want to know more about ProMapp or would like access to this tool, then contact:

7 October 2019

Stream 2: Service delivery/process improvements

Applicable Deliverable: EE2.6 Process improvement

The process for running Small Events has been revised. The new process (in Promapp), supporting information and resources, is now in one place: the Events Hub OURDrive site, with a page dedicated to Small Events.

This new OURDrive site provides guidance, templates, tools, and equipment hire information to staff organising small events, including:

  • Staff holiday parties
  • Staff morning teas
  • Departmental forums
  • Departmental film screenings
  • Retirement functions
  • Small seminars

All University staff can access the site, and it will guide them through the steps of organising an event, from the initial concept right through to running the event, and any post-event tasks.

Visit the Events Hub OURDrive site

30 September 2019

Stream 5: Supply chain

Deliverable: EE5.3 Hubs, stores and logistics

The University Supply Chain Team are further developing two of the hubs within the Dunedin campus. The four purchasing staff in the South Hub will be located in room G35 of the Lindo Ferguson building, with a Lead Officer located next door in room G16.

A new South Hub store will be created in the Thermal building, at the back of the Lindo Ferguson building which will be the single point of inwards goods and inventory for the hub.

The Northern purchasing hub is planned to go in room G11 in the Biochemistry building, with four purchasing staff, including a Lead Officer, based there. There is no change to store activity in this hub.

Purchasing processes are planned to remain the same during the transition, and purchasing staff will be as flexible as possible. The two new purchasing hubs are due to be completed by the end of the year.

17 September 2019

Stream 2: Service delivery/process improvements

Applicable deliverable: EE2.6 Process improvement

The roll out of the OurDrive solution for travel and conference approval process continues. This has been initially focussed on Health Sciences. This new approach saves around one hour of administrative time per application.

We plan to have the new process in place across all Academic Divisions by the end of the year.

6 September 2019

Stream2: Service delivery/process improvements

Roles and responsibilities for producing a Costings and Consents Worksheet

The Costings and Consents Worksheet (CCW) is an Excel spreadsheet used to determine the costs and develop the budget for a research funding application or contract. Completed CCWs must be checked by a Research Advisor or Business Development Manager before being signed off by the applicant and Head of Department.

The tabs in the CCW spreadsheet relate to various types of costs (e.g. staff salaries, student stipends, operating expenses), ethics and regulatory requirements, and aspects of a project’s financial administration (e.g. indirect salary recovery, multi-departmental teams, and foreign exchange rates).

The first three tabs provide a summary of expenses. Research Advisors or Business Development Managers can assist researchers and departmental administrators with filling out CCWs, particularly the tabs concerning aspects of financial administration.

Before beginning a CCW, make sure you are using the most recent version:

  • CCW Information – July 2019
  • For competitive research funding proposals, be sure to read the funder’s guidelines and instructions for applicants carefully. These guidelines may contain specific inclusions and exclusions (for example, no travel costs or pieces of equipment over NZ$2000).

Please follow these guidelines to best complete the CCW:

  • The Principal Investigators (PI) are responsible and accountable for having their CCWs completed
  • The PIs can and should seek out support and advice from their Divisional Finance Associate on the budget aspects of the CCW (notably staff costs)
  • The PIs can and should seek out support and advice from the Research Advisors and/or Business Development Managers on how to fill CCWs, eligibility of expenses, ethics and consents, and any questions they might have about CCWs
  • The Research Advisors and/or Business Development Managers will make sure the CCW is compliant and circulate for required approvals

Stream 4 IT Projects

Applicable Deliverable: EE4.1 Service Management

Service delivery management
Improving the delivery of the University’s internal services is the focus of a new project.
Instead of having different systems in different areas of the University, we want to have a single tool that collates progress on all service requests, while providing quality data so performance can be measured and improved. A by-product will be saving money by eliminating some systems.

We also want to enhance service delivery management more by:

  • Moving away from paper-based forms to online forms
  • Having online workflows to manage the progression of activities/tasks and ensure progress is visible
  • Introducing electronic signatures, to prevent printing documents, signing them, then scanning them. That system would be replaced with a faster, more efficient, completely digital process

University-wide it will be easier to prioritise requests, identify problems with services, and monitor demand. Our University will also gather information more easily to inform decision-making, so we can evolve to meet future needs.

Implementation will be over three phases and is starting now with phase one’s enhancements to AskOtago’s services, to get people faster answers to their queries. Phase one involves:

Changing the searchable knowledgebase:

  • Dividing searchers into staff and students so the most relevant information appears more immediately, pushed up the queue by previous searches
  • Reviewing key words and taking any other available steps to help ensure common searches return the expected results
  • Ensuring the student knowledgebase homepage rotates its displays of information to reflect the stages of the academic year
  • Ensuring refreshing the information in the knowledgebase is a regular administration task

Changing the request system:

  • Creating more online request forms – to automate more processes, speed up directing queries to specialised expertise, streamline the prioritisation of requests, ensure data can be collected to inform decision-making about everything from rostering staff to future enhancements, and reduce then eliminate reliance on email
  • Improve requesters’ ability to see the progress of their request
  • Expanding AskOtago chat to include specialists as first points of contact, especially for urgent requests, and questions about IT
  • Ensuring the ‘send your enquiry’ option is simplified by replacing a list of categories that need to be browsed with a few simplified, concise questions
  • Enabling AskOtago staff to use more mobile devices
  • Ensuring AskOtago staff can log all their interactions with people wanting help

Phase one should be completed this year.

Phases two and three have to be investigated and costed.

Phase two would consolidate systems on one platform. Phase three would involve integrating the service delivery management system and the customer relationship management system to ensure that areas such as AskOtago don’t need to enter information into multiple systems.

Stream 5: Supply Chain

Applicable Deliverable: EE5.1 Purchase to Pay, EE5.2 Inventory Management, EE5.3 Hubs, Stores and Logistics

Supply chain update
We are working on an initiative to help ensure our University consistently buys goods at the right time and for the right price, transports them properly internally, keeps track of them, stores them correctly, knows when they need replaced and disposes appropriately.
The first stage of our supply chain transition involved establishing our new staff structure, which has already produced positive results. Previously one person used to do a task in a department and now teams do the work across the University, removing the threat of the sole person with the knowledge being on holiday, sick or leaving the job.

Moving to the new structure has also highlighted more opportunities for improvements.
All our supply chain changes need to be considered and planned together because they will all affect each other, so a programme of change would have to run projects simultaneously and sequentially.
We are recruiting a programme manager and once that person starts in the next month or so, we will start an in-depth examination of the supply chain while also looking for any quick wins that can be introduced easily within existing budgets.

Once the investigation has been completed, recommendations for changes outside existing budgets will be presented to the University Council for consideration.

  • Our investigation into the supply chain and subsequent recommendations will be based on customers’ needs and will consider:
  • Specialised staff buying special goods and services (e.g. chemicals)
  • Centralising interactions with suppliers to create active, more influential relationships to negotiate prices, agreements and contracts that cover the whole University
  • Where possible, standardising procurement, delivery, receipting, payment, labelling assets, transporting goods internally, tracking, storage and disposal
  • The location of goods stores
  • Software that is as automated as possible, which:
    - makes purchasing easy
    - keeps track of goods’ shelf-life
    ˗ automatically orders frequently used goods when supplies are low
    ˗ tracks goods
    ˗ helps manage non-building assets (e.g. furniture, computers etc.), including hazardous/controlled substances
  • Creating consistent, University-wide, simplified, clear, consistent and efficient policies, processes, procedures, guidelines and systems – including for approvals
  • Sustainability
  • Recycling and waste management

The initial phase of this initiative will exclude the following areas:

  • Fleet management
  • Non-supply chain mail delivery
  • Gifted (e.g. antibodies, cell lines, etc.)
  • Union catering, including its inventory software
  • Specialist animal activities

29 August 2019

Stream 6: Space and Relocation

Applicable Deliverables EE6.1 Relocations and EE6.6 Minor space adaptions
Agreement has been reached to locate the southern campus IT Support Services hub in the Marples Building (Zoology). Shared Services IT staff will be based there as it’s close to the areas they support, and will mean they can easily reach areas when they need in person support.
Department of Zoology – Marples building

13 August 2019

Stream 2: Service delivery/process improvements

How do I update the University website?

The process for making website changes has come a long way in the past year. Website-related services and advice are now jointly provided by the Marketing Content and Publications Unit, the Web Design team, and the ITS Applications team.

To request changes to your website, email In your email, include the applicable URL for the page(s) that need updating, as well as a description of what needs to be updated, deleted or added.

Your request will be triaged by a team of content assistants within the Content team, who will either take care of the request themselves or assign it to a content developer, web designer or an ITS developer. Most general maintenance requests are addressed within two business days. Complex requests, such as those involving changes to site structure or major overhauls of existing sites, do take longer.

If there’s any confusion about what needs to be updated, a team member will be in touch with any questions and will let you know when the work is complete.

Stream 5: Supply Chain

Applicable deliverables: EE5.1 Purchase to pay, EE5.2 Inventory management, EE5.3 Hubs, stores and logistics
Sandra Wheeler is the Business Analyst for the Supply Chain Programme. Sandra is responsible for understanding and documenting high-level requirements for the multiple streams of work in this Programme. Workshops are being set up across these streams shortly.

Stream 6: Space and Relocation

Applicable Deliverables EE6.1 Relocations and EE6.6 Minor space adaptions
Most Divisions, Schools and Departments now have staff that support them however now report via other divisions e.g. Finance, Shared Services, Marketing, Communications, ITS etc.

To ensure a consistent approach across the university with respect to the accommodation of these staff, teams or the new service hubs guidelines have been developed.
Please refer to the following guidelines on OurDrive. (PDF)

7 August 2019

Stream 2: Service delivery / process improvements

Applicable deliverable: EE2.6 Process improvement
Enabling Excellence is working with the Student Experience team to improve processes. At the moment these teams are focused on integrating the various categories of admission. Workshops have been completed relating to doctoral, masters by thesis and limited entry programmes.

Enabling Excellence is also working with the Client Services team to improve processes. At the moment these teams are working on several areas of focus that impact on the Client Services team, these include but are not limited to; how tests under examination conditions are managed, sensitive expenditure approvals, and how Client Services support activities related to the Academic Misconduct Process. We are also looking at joint clinical recruitment processes and rolling out an OurDrive solution that supports travel and conference approvals.

6 August 2019

Stream 3: IT Enhancements

Applicable deliverable: EE3.1 eVision enhancements
Major eVision enhancements underway
Read the Otago Bulletin article outlining the latest eVision planned enhancements.

18 July 2019

Stream 5: Supply chain

Applicable deliverable: EE5.3 Hubs, stores and logistics
We are working towards the goal of locating supply chain staff within a hub (e.g. co-located with the supply chain teams), rather than having these staff embedded in a department, and linking back to a hub. There are six teams of supply chain staff and there are expected to be hubs in the south, central and north campus as well as other smaller hubs. Given the scale of activity it is clear that co-locating these teams is required to achieve the level of service and benefits to the University as outlined in the SSR Business Case.

15 July 2019

Stream 6: Space and relocation

Applicable deliverable: EE6.3 Clocktower Refurbishment
The Clocktower refurbishment is progressing and the first phase of work has been completed. This work involved the Strategy, Analytics and Reporting Office team moving into the southwest corner of the first floor. AskOtago have four hubs in development; work is almost complete on the St David II hub and we are expecting the Hunter Centre and Otago School of Business hubs to be completed in August. Work on the College of Education hub will start later this year. We are finalising details about the IT hubs and supply chain hub options.

8 July 2019

Stream 2: Service delivery / process improvements

Applicable deliverable: EE2.6 Process improvement
We are reviewing the P-Card and Reimbursement processes. Once these processes are confirmed we will identify any IT changes needed and then start planning the implementation of the new processes based on this.

Stream 5: Supply chain

Applicable deliverables: EE5.1 Purchase to pay, EE5.2 Inventory management, EE5.3 Hubs, stores and logistics
VCAG have approved the creation of a programme business case to support the supply chain project. The next step is the appointment of the project team. This will be followed by information gathering (that will include workshops with key stakeholders) that will inform the business case. It will cover aspects of supply chain including how we purchase and pay for goods, how goods are stored, how inventories are managed (hazardous goods are tracked) and how goods are moved around the University.

Stream 6: Space and relocation

Applicable deliverable: EE6.2 AskOtago Hubs
AskOtago has fours hubs in development; work is almost complete on the St David II hub and we are expecting the Hunter Centre and Otago School of Business hubs to be completed in August. Work on the College of Education hub will start later in 2019. These hubs will enhance the service AskOtago offers and provide more opportunities to provide face-to-face support to students.

Applicable deliverable: EE6.3 Clocktower Refurbishment
The Clocktower refurbishment is progressing and the first phase of work has been completed. This involved the SAR team moving into the South West corner of the first floor.

19 June 2019

Stream 2: Process improvement / service delivery

Applicable deliverable: EE2.6 Process improvement
Workshops have been completed to document the process related to recruitment of casual staff. These workshops involved staff from Shared Services, HR and other related areas. We are currently looking at the processes related to Direct To Offer recruitment and this will be followed by a review of the Advertised Vacancy recruitment processes. We are planning to implement all 3 recruitment processes at the same time. The exact timing will depend on any IT changes that may be required.

Stream 3: IT enhancements

Applicable deliverable: EE3.1 eVision enhancements
VCAG have approved a business case covering 20 enhancements to the eVision system. These are intended to improve the experience of students using eVision and address a number of common issues that have been raised by staff regarding eVision. This will include improving how eVision supports research students (i.e. making use of online forms and approvals as much as possible) and providing improved functionality to support the Student Experience. As the project progresses, the project team will working with key stakeholders to inform the exact shape of the enhancements. It is expected to take up to 2½ years to complete all of the enhancements and this work will be delivered by the ITS Information Systems Group. Once the priorities for the next 6 months have been confirmed, we will post a further update.

Stream 5: Supply chain

Applicable deliverables: EE5.1 Purchase to pay, EE5.2 Inventory management, EE5.3 Hubs, stores and logistics
VCAG have approved the creation of a programme business case that will outline the next steps with regard to the supply chain programme of work. The intention of the business case is to outline the best approach to deliver all aspects of the supply chain at the University. This will include how we purchase goods and subsequently pay for these goods, how goods are delivered to the University and where they are stored, and how we manage inventory (particularly our hazardous goods inventory). We are currently in the process of appointing a project manager to lead this stream of work. Once we have filled this role, we will then establish working groups covering each of the streams of the supply chain programme.