Monday, 21 January 2013

Develop or Replace? CIS Student Systems to be Reviewed

The CIS student system was implemented in 1996 as part of the MAC Initiative. Since then it has been systematically developed and modified to meet new demands and strategies. It has had new functionality added and been linked to external systems that required access to its data. Over the years there have been a number of reviews to assess the suitability of the system. This year, however, the University will conduct a comprehensive review to determine whether the student system continues to meet our current needs and whether it would also meet our vision of the functionality and processes that may be required in the near future.

The review will be undertaken as a formal project led by a steering group comprising Prof Alistair Warren, Faculty of Science Director or Learning and Teaching; Dr Andrew West, Director of Student Services; Dr Chris Sexton, Director of CiCS; and Valerie Cotter, Faculty of Arts and Humanities Director of Operations and Kate Butler from CiCS as project manager.  It is expected that there will be a number of groups involved in the work, each with a significant contribution to make. These will report to an overarching project board that will invite representation from across the University and there will be wide reaching internal consultation at every stage. The Project Board will in turn report to the Steering Group

The student system review will combine a thorough evaluation of the current system, of systems maintained independently by departments and of all related processes. It will assess real and perceived strengths and weaknesses and identify areas where functionality is missing or requires improvement. Alongside this, there will be an appraisal of commercial systems used by other universities and wide-reaching consultation on new and proposed developments in functionality and technology that may be of interest to us.

The review will conclude by making a recommendation to the University Executive Board on the most appropriate way forward. There are a number of likely options including: retention of the current system as is; redevelopment of the current system; and partial or complete replacement with a new product. In addition, each option may be combined with an additional streamlining of our current processes. Whatever the recommendation, it will result in significant and far-reaching work on this critical University system, which may take a number of years to fully implement.