IT projects and programmes digest - Michaelmas term 2021

We have been working hard over the summer to be ready for the new academic year with a range of new and updated IT systems and services.

Ian Wild, Head of PPDG

And if you've ever wondered what an IT Project actually is, and what the process is for picking which projects go ahead, then you might like to read our What is an IT Project? article, which features an interview with Ian Wild, Director of Programme and Project Delivery in IT Services.

Annual leave and timesheet functionality in HR Self-Service

Bringing additional functionality to HR Self-Service

We’ve just started a pilot with a number of departments to use HR Self-Service to record annual leave and manage timesheets. This reduces the administrative burden associated with manual timesheet processes, delivers cost savings and is an improved user experience for casual and variable hours staff.

Find out more in the HR Self-Service timesheets and annual leave pilot news article.

Expense claims going online

A simple, quicker, common process for expenses claims

SAP Concur eExpenses is now available in the Social Sciences division. These departments will be early adopters of the system to allow us to check if is operating as it should before introducing it to other departments and participating colleges from mid-November. Each department or participating college (Kellogg, Reuben, or St Cross) can choose when to start using eExpenses up until the current offline expenses claim form is retired at Easter 2022.

See further information on the Finance Division website.

Wi-Fi hardware upgrade

Upgrading Wi-Fi across the University, with improved support and better diagnostics

The COWLSHUR project is replacing the hardware for the centrally managed Wi-Fi service provided by IT Services. This will provide an improved end user experience and the best possible Wi-Fi coverage, with support from wireless experts in the Managed Network Services team, and a better diagnostic interface for IT support staff thanks to the new technology.

Having completed Proof of Concept and Pilot phases that were impacted by the pandemic, the project has begun the full implementation works, and expects to complete all sites by December 2021, with the service fully live in January.

More information is available on the COWLSHUR project website.

Education IT Projects

Delivering a whole new system for managing undergraduate teaching at Oxford and getting coursework submission online

There is plenty of work underway within the Education IT Programme. We are pleased to announce the launch of TMS, the new Teaching Management System, which replaces OxCORT from Michaelmas term. Online coursework submission will shortly be possible using Inspera, the tool used for online exams. The Inclusive Teaching Enhancements project is working to design in and enable inclusive teaching practice within Canvas and its associated tools. And we will be delivering a new, online system for providing degree certificates, transcripts and verification of degrees for Hilary term 2022.

Find out more about the Education IT Programme in the latest update.

Backup Service Replacement

Moving backup to modern and highly functional solutions

This project is working with users of the desktop and laptop 'Endpoint' backup service to migrate them, where possible, from the existing IBM Spectrum Protect platform to the new, cloud-based, Code42 solution.

Server back-ups will continue to be provided by the IBM Spectrum Protect software, but with increased back-end performance, security and a deeper versioning of files. The new service will soon be able to accept early-adopters, with a plan to migrate all users over by Spring 2022.

Key benefits of the new service include:

  • A modern and highly functional solution for both server and endpoint back-up
  • Improved long term value for money
  • An enhanced central back-up service, reducing the need for Divisions, Departments and Colleges to seek their own back-up solutions
  • An improved speed of recovery for business critical applications, in the event of Major Incidents that destroy or corrupt data

More information is available on the Backup Service Replacement project website.

BizTalk Upgrade

Integrating data between key systems

The University currently uses the Microsoft BizTalk 2010 integration platform to allow the movement of data between key systems such as Oracle R12 (finance data), CoreHR (staff data), SITS (student data) and DARS (Development and Alumni data). With BizTalk 2010 having gone out of full support this year, the project is looking to move integrations to a fully supported solution and, ultimately, to platforms that require less support expertise, and take advantage of cloud solutions, such as Microsoft’s SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) and Azure Integration Services (AIS).

The project in on track to migrate integrations during September to December 2021, with Oracle R12 integrations moving to SSIS and all others upgraded to the fully supported BizTalk 2020 platform.

More information is available on the BizTalk upgrade project website (link requires SSO).