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Major upgrade success follows great collaboration

News publication date: 
Monday, 18 June 2018
Abstract computer update

Over a mid-May weekend, three members of IT Services worked shifts round the clock to successfully install upgrades to the SITS student records system and the R12 primary accounting system with minimum downtime and disruption. The upgrades were carried out by the Platform Services team but its success is rooted in months of planning, preparation and collaboration with the Financial Systems Support Centre (FSSC).

Oracle R12 is used by some 6,500 people around the University for purchasing, billing, budgeting, project and research accounting, and more so it was vital to keep downtime to a minimum. Security is obviously a top priority so it was also vital to install the latest updates and to test the system thoroughly before opening it to users. All the preparatory work clearly paid off with IT Services handing the system back to FSSC eight hours ahead of schedule for their testing to take place.

Although a number of issues were identified in the two weeks after the upgrade, thanks to the hard work of the project team (both FSSC and IT Services) the majority were resolved in that time, and those remaining will be dealt with alongside usual work.

In all, around 35 people, from IT Services and Finance, were involved in ensuring the success of the upgrade and Michael Howe, Unix Platform Team Leader, commented “The whole project team worked really well together. The general feeling was very positive.”

The annual SITS upgrade was carried out the same weekend; May is a quiet time for the system that provides services for managing admissions, on-course students, enrolment of freshers, visa management, examination entry, examination results and transcripts, etc. The planning and preparation went well allowing the system to be successfully updated and handed back ahead of schedule.

Benefits of both upgrades include additional security measures, performance improvements and new features.