The University of Queensland
Building Technology Capabilities for Digital Initiatives

Working to create a streamlined experience for the modern student, staff, and alumni, the University of Queensland digitised over 50 paper-based processes using API-based integration, Business Process Automation, and Robotic Process Automation. Intelligent Pathways formed a strong relationship with the University, providing strategic advice, solution architecture, vendor evaluation, technology implementation and development services in an ongoing program of digital transformation.

‘We’d previously had a relationship with Intelligent Pathways…it was a trusted relationship, it was a very honest relationship where we could really speak freely about what we needed, what was working and what wasn’t. They were flexible and agile enough to be able to meet our requirements and not try and sign us up to a 10-year deal with 50 staff.”

~ Jodi Phillips, Deputy Director IT Applications and Support, UQ

Engagement Driver

The University of Queensland (UQ) wanted to improve the services and experience they offer students, staff and alumni by digitising the 400+ paper-based business processes used to undertake daily activities.

Background

The UQ technology landscape is large and complex, operating on core systems up to 15-20 years old. UQ embarked on a Digital Transformation program with an objective to provide a world class student experience supported by internal business process automation. A key requirement for UQ was to leverage their existing legacy systems as systems of record and establish a new layer of systems of engagement.

UQ and Intelligent Pathways Partnership

Intelligent Pathways was initially engaged to establish two core technology capabilities (API-led integration and Business Process Automation) to support digital transformation initiatives at UQ. The capabilities are not provided by a single technology from a single vendor, rather they are set of best of breed technologies that best suit UQ’s current needs and operating environment.

Intelligent Pathways has gone on to provide strategic guidance, solution architecture and implementation services for several other digital initiatives at UQ including the Human Capital Management (HCM) transformation and the Customer Experience program.

Enabling Technologies
API-led Integration

UQ previously had redundant point-to-point batch style integration and modern API-based integration was identified as a key capability required to support digital business initiatives. Intelligent Pathways developed UQ’s fit for purpose API integration architecture and implementation roadmap. The roadmap was tightly aligned to UQ’s business objectives to ensure fast value realisation.

Intelligent Pathways implemented the selected technologies – Oracle Service Bus (OSB) and Axway AMPLIFY API Management – in UQ’s private cloud on Amazon Web Services. We also established practices and standards for API design and development lifecycle to enable the UQ integration team to be self-sufficient; they have since delivered 20+ APIs over two years to support digital initiatives.

Business Process Automation

Intelligent Pathways defined the solution architecture and conducted technology evaluation for UQ’s business process automation requirements. Bonita BPM was selected due its ability to deliver highly tailored user experience, its lightweight and open architecture, and the competitive total cost of ownership offered over a five-year period.

Intelligent Pathways implemented Bonita BPM into UQ’s private cloud (AWS), digitised initial forms and supporting workflows and upskilled UQ staff. We have subsequently designed and delivered business process automation across several portfolios in parallel.

The next phase of automation at UQ will leverage RPA, Machine Learning and AI for intelligent decision making along with Bonita BPM. We have architected the Business Process Automation capability like lego blocks to ensure UQ can take advantage of new and emerging technologies.

Robotic Process Automation

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) was identified as an ideal tool to automate a number of manual processes at UQ such as the transfer of data to systems without APIs and the extraction of data from documents into systems.

Intelligent Pathways worked with UQ to build the business case for RPA and assist with technology selection. We then installed the UiPath RPA platform with DevOps capability, prepared automation architectures, identified RPA process candidates and developed several of the RPA processes.

Outcomes

UQ is benefiting from significant cost efficiencies due to improved data accuracy and timeliness.

The technology capabilities that have been established have dramatically improved user experience for students, staff and alumni at UQ. Students can submit and track requests in real time from their web or mobile device and the time taken for staff to process requests has been greatly reduced. UQ also expect to see further efficiencies  over time from exposing APIs that give students, faculties and third parties access to data they can use for their specific needs.

 

Research

The Research portfolio has a new Candidature Management Solution (CMS) that has enabled the digitisation of 30+ processes. The CMS is integrated with UQ’s core HDR management system (Oracle PeopleSoft Campus Solution) and Bonita BPM.

Prior to the CMS, over 15,000 paper-based forms relating to the higher degree research (HDR) candidature life-cycle were manually processed each year. The Research faculty is now reporting a 94% improvement in average turn-around time for HDR requests and an estimated 67% increase in efficiency – equivalent to approximately 7 FTE in workload. This has enabled a redistribution of workloads and more proactive support for HDR students with earlier intervention and support.

Student Administration

The Academic portfolio’s Student Administration unit is leveraging the digital business platform to enable student requests to be submitted online. These requests were previously submitted via paper, email or manual hand over. The requests are now processed online by UQ staff and/or via automated workflows that typically involve multiple reviews and approval points by faculties and school staff.

Bonita BPM has been integrated with UQ’s core student system and document / records management system to facilitate the automated workflow.

Human Resources

The HR portfolio has leveraged the digital business platform to automate high volume processes including fixed term renewals and request for flexible work arrangement using the change of hour or days process.

Finance

The Finance portfolio has leveraged the digital business platform to automate high volume processes including financial systems access, project financial change request and contracts and grants revenue split.

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