OETU enterprise systems 1

Quantifying OE: Overhauling Enterprise Systems

The Organisational Excellence (OE) initiative was launched in 2018 to modernise NUS’ administration and enhance operational efficiency. One important component of this goal has been the upgrading of the University’s technology systems, bringing them in line with industry standards to provide for a more agile and effective support apparatus.

“As one of Asia’s leading universities, it is essential that we have a world-class administration,” states Mr Clarence Ti, Deputy President (Administration). “By ensuring that our underpinning technology is up-to-date and responsive to our working needs, we can better help the University fulfil its larger teaching and research missions.”

In the past five years, 11 systems have been either upgraded or launched as part of OE. 

This includes administrative systems such as CHRS, a cloud-based HR management system; Concur, a system for expenses and travel claims; the NUService Hub, a one-stop portal to submit administrative service requests; and FS2, the University’s new finance system which replaces the decades-old SAP ECC.

It has also included uNivUS, a gateway app to unite the University community with NUS resources and personalise the campus experience for both staff and students. 

Significantly, as the OE initiative has expanded in reach, it has also overseen the launch of new academic systems, such as the Curriculum Management System (CMS) and the integrated Research Information Management Suite (iRIMS), both released this year. And the transformation is ongoing— currently under development is the Next Generation Student Information System (NextGeneSIS), a programme of refinements to the Student Administrative Suite that will better support the administrative activities of students and administrators. 

Each of these systems exemplifies how technology is being integrated to enhance university operations. In the case of the NUService Hub, the platform facilitates continuous service improvement by enabling administrative departments to analyse request and fulfillment data trends, identify bottlenecks, and allocate sufficient resources. Another example is uNivUS, which proved integral to the continuity of the University’s operations during COVID-19 through the management and implementation of safe distancing, contact tracing and ART testing requirements.

Results from the 2022 NUS Organisational Agility Survey indicate staff have a generally favourable view of the University’s technology. 77% of respondents agreed that our systems enable us to be paperless; 73% that our systems are useful; and 64% that our systems are up-to-date. 

However, the survey also points to areas for further improvement: only a slight majority (51%) of respondents viewed NUS’ technology systems as user-friendly and only 50% agreed that they have helped reduce processes.  

Acknowledging that the implementation of major new systems is often accompanied by teething issues, system owners are taking a proactive approach to ensuring that systems are continuously updated, that feedback is addressed, and that users have adequate access to training and resources.   

“We recognise that our work does not end with the roll-out of a new system,” notes Mr Tan Kian Woo, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO). “Committed to continuous improvement, we take user feedback seriously and are working hard to steadily resolve issues that have surfaced post go-live".

Examples of recent improvements include upgraded user interfaces for Concur and CHRS. Refresher training courses for Concur are also currently being provided at the departmental-level, as the resumption of overseas travel has resulted in a surge of claims made via the system. 

Concur was recently updated with a new user interface.

For upcoming systems, concerted efforts are simultaneously being made to engage users and incorporate their requirements prior to system rollouts; for instance, a team within the NUS Agility Office has begun university-wide consultations for the upcoming Enterprise Contract Management System (ECMS).  These activities are complemented by the University’s larger strategy to enhance the technical competency of its staff via the Digital Enablement (DE) programme.

“The earlier system launches have taught us many things about how better to communicate with stakeholders and users during implementation,” avers Roy Tan, Director of the NUS Agility Office. “We will apply these lessons to upcoming systems to strive for a better experience for everyone.”



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