Less paperwork, more productivity: U of T enhances support, systems for researchers

In 2013, U of T launched the My Research Application (MRA) to provide researchers, academic administrators and staff with a tool that ensures the effective, accurate and transparent management of research activities.

To date, close to 23,000 applications have moved through MRA in a well-defined approval process, ensuring visibility and awareness at multiple levels within the institution.

The system now includes over 1,000 annual non-funded research agreements supported by the Innovations & Partnerships Office (IPO) such as confidential disclosures, material and data transfer agreements. It’s a development that will help reduce administrative demands on U of T’s 2,800 researchers research.

“MRA has been a great productivity tool and we’re delighted to celebrate its expansion,” says Derek Newton, assistant vice-president, Innovation, Partnerships and Entrepreneurship. “MRA will now include a greater range of research agreements and these can be linked to research funds, regulatory permits or requirements and will make the process easier for our researchers.”


What’s Included in My Research Non-Funded Agreements?

  • Confidential Disclosure Agreements
  • Data Transfer Agreements
  • Material Transfer Agreements
  • Visiting Scientist IP Agreements
  • Research Memoranda of Understanding
  • Equipment Loan Agreements
  • Non-Funded Collaboration Agreements

Not only does this application streamline processes for researchers, but it also gives department chairs and deans direct visibility into these agreements.

“This application helps me to see at a glance all of the non-funded agreements at the Faculty of Medicine – in the past, this information was stored in various locations, but now I can easily view everything on my computer or phone,” says Professor Richard Hegele, vice dean, Research & Innovation. “Kudos to the way this application was developed and rolled out – the team implemented feedback from multiple testing sessions and by and large it’s been a fairly smooth transition.”

The system also provides transparency to researchers.

“The system allows researchers to identify who to contact,” says Renee Brost, chief administrative officer of the Division of the Vice-President Research and Innovation. “They know what stage their agreements are at and can follow them through the process – much easier than tracking multiple emails. Plus, the new application stores documents so researchers can quickly refer to past information.”

But building a system to support the size and scope of U of T wasn’t an easy task.

“We have researchers accessing different types of materials or data from around the world,” says Newton. “These could include biological materials for medical research, or data that can improve classroom teaching methods and student success.”

Professor Yu Sun is familiar with the complexities. His research spans biomedical engineering and mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering.

“We collaborate with hospitals and industry, and need to have agreements in place. For example, we collaborate with clinics to test new devices for IVF treatment – for less invasive penetration of cells and for non-invasive selection of a single sperm with high DNA integrity. Instead of using hand-written forms, this application is efficient and easy to use – you just click through and submit!”

The non-funded application enhancement also uses a new user interface, which will be rolled out to the rest of My Research in the future. It’s part of a three-to five- year project, called the U of T Enterprise Modernization Project, which will transform the entire HR Talent Management Suite and the core HR, Research and Finance systems.

“We’re excited to put this new user interface from SAP into practice,” says Cathy Eberts, executive director of Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration. “Our goal is to provide a consistent, intuitive and streamlined user experience so that we can support our researchers and U of T’s mission.”

What’s next for My Research?

“We’re looking forward to continuous improvements in user experience,” says Brost. “Our goal is to support U of T’s mission by improving processes for our researchers so they can spend less time on paperwork and more time focusing on their work.”

Important Update on Compensation Planning Tool Project

For those who currently do compensation planning and budgeting at the University:

As you are likely aware, we have been working with Questica to develop a new cloud-based Compensation Planning Tool to better meet institutional and divisional needs.

To date, we have completed the requirements analysis, conducted validation, and configured most aspects of the system to meet U of T’s needs. During the configuration and development phase, the functionality and flexibility offered by Questica have met our expectations; however, when loading our large volume of complex data into the Compensation Planning Tool, we have recently experienced issues with adequate system performance and processing times.

We are currently working with the vendor on a plan to substantially improve performance in order to provide users with both accurate and timely budgeting information. However, this plan requires us to delay implementation of the new Compensation Planning Tool. As a result of this, and to ensure a smooth compensation planning process for the coming year, the B6 will continue to be used to plan compensation expenses for budget year 2020-2021 while we tune the Questica platform.

Thank you for your patience throughout this process and your input and participation to date. We look forward to providing you with updates as we work to optimize the system and provide a superior user experience for many years to come.

Questions?
Contact Darshan Harrinanan, EASI Project Manager, at darshan.harrinanan@utoronto.ca

Sincerely,
Planning & Budget Office
Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration (EASI)

U of T successfully launches IT Service Centre

September 17 was the big day – when U of T launched the IT Service Centre as part of the Enterprise Service Centre (ESC). The IT Service Centre is projected to streamline, track and respond to over 38,000 annual IT inquiries.

Before the launch, users would submit help requests through email, phone calls, other web applications and even paper-based processes. The ESC currently allows users to access ITS support from the Joint Operations Group (JOG); Planning, Governance, Assessment, and Communications (PGAC); and Enterprise Applications and Solutions Integration (EASI). Soon, the ESC will provide a single service desk platform for all IT requests and is available to anyone with a UTORid.

In order to ensure an effective launch process, the ESC development team informally activated the system three weeks prior to the official launch date.

“This period, that we call ‘soft launch,’ allowed us to do our due diligence where we were able to iron things out and publish a number of updates,” says Gary Raposo, manager of enterprise shared services with Enterprise Applications and Solutions Integration. “On September 17, we were impressed by the amount of people logging into the system to check it out and submit tickets, and overall the user experience was smooth.”

On the first day, users logged over 130 help requests and currently users are submitting an average of 100 tickets per day. Users are also increasingly using request forms to gain access to or help with systems, including ROSI, SharePoint and the Administrative Management Systems.

“It’s been busy but very satisfying!” says Jessica Viau, a member of the ESC development team. “When we log into the system, everything is organized and we can easily track tasks and see trends. As we have an opportunity to work in the system, we can also provide better support in the future.”

The ESC development team worked closely with SuMO IT Solutions Inc. as an implementation partner for ServiceNow, which is the platform for the ESC.

“SuMO was a great implementation partner. It took a lot of teamwork and we really learned a lot about how to optimize the system,” says Raposo. “It was a collaborative effort and while it enabled us to launch ESC initially, it has also given us the tools that we need for our development team to continue to enhance ESC in the future.”

Another factor leading to a successful onboarding process was training and change management.

“Our approach was to use the ServiceNow platform as much as possible to deliver training and now all of the material covered is in the ESC for reference,” says Viau, who was also a training lead. “I’ve had feedback from fulfillers that they like our instructional handouts because they can see how to perform tasks at a glance.”

In the future, key users will continue to add knowledge articles, allowing users to search for information and find answers before submitting a ticket.

“We’d like to prove the correlation between the increase in the number of knowledge articles and a decrease in the number incidents submitted,” says Raposo. “Users can rate the articles, allowing the team to see which ones are performing well and those that may need to be modified. We can also see what terms people are searching for – if we constantly see a particular search item, we can publish a knowledge article about it that includes things like tips and tricks. Analytics will play a big part in how we deliver service. We’re just starting to scratch the surface.”

Next steps for the ESC team include a continuous development approach to streamline current content and processes. In parallel with that, the next big effort will be to onboard more services so that in the future users will go to the ESC to submit a ticket for any IT request. In a broader sense, the ESC will also help the University process over 40,000 annual Human Resources service requests.

“Our overall goal is to provide a modern interface for U of T staff to submit all of their requests in a quick and easy way,” says Raposo. “So far, we know that users like the transparency the system provides, including being able to see their tickets and communicate with fulfillers directly. I see ESC evolving across more departments, faculties, and divisions to provide a truly consistent experience across the University.”

Thank you to the ESC Development Team: Amy Luu, Cris Diaconu, and Jessica Viau.

The team would like to thank all those who helped to make this project a success, including the following people who participated in requirements gathering and core testing:

Brenda Bannis
Rodney Branch
Magdalene Cheung
Melvin Chien
Paul Day
Tony Di Felice
Gerry Lindo
Percy Lo
Pascal Loucadellis
Nia McCash

Heather Postill
Jason Quay
Zac Ryan
Randy Samsoondar
Joanne Sukhai
Sujee Thangarajah
Pari Tsoukalas
Vicki Vokas
Ni (Nisie) Yep

Growth and gain: EASI’s 2019 VP-OREP Student Professional Experience Program

It was a summer of growth and gain – a time when students could put their classroom learning to the test. This summer, eight co-op students joined Enterprise Applications and Solutions Integration (EASI) to work on projects ranging from  machine learning, business intelligence, user experience and design, SharePoint and front-end web development.

“Our student summer experience program has grown significantly over the years, and this year our students benefited from hands-on experience with high-profile projects,” says Cathy Eberts, Executive Director of EASI. “EASI also continues to benefit from this program and the new skills that students bring to each area of the department.”

The program included students from U of T’s iSchool, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, and the University of Toronto Mississauga. While it officially ran over the summer, several students will continue with EASI over the coming months.

Learn all about their experiences.


Wenqi Jiang

Currently completing her Master’s degree in User Experience Design and Information Systems and Design at the Faculty of Information.

What did you work on this summer with EASI?
I conducted preliminary user research with instructors and faculties for the Course Information System and the syllabi creation tool. I designed the well-being support tab, which will be added to ACORN. I also redesigned and created the front-end for the Job Evaluation Tool (JET) tool, which analyzes job descriptions to provide estimates for job pay bands.

What did you find most interesting about this experience and what did you learn?
The entire experience has been interesting. I worked on different systems, and I was involved in different UX processes and practiced different skills. One of the biggest learnings from this experience is how to work with developers. This is my first UX-related working experience, and having the chance to work with different teams and implement designs has been great. 

What do you hope to do in the future?
Early in my career I would like to be a user experience generalist.


Ahmed Mohamed Khedr

Currently completing his Master’s degree in Information Systems and Design at the Faculty of Information.

What did you work on this summer with EASI?
I worked with Andy Chien from the Planning & Budget Office to create a solution to help the office run their files and automatically create reports. I also helped Andy to maintain reports and processes for the office.

What did you find most interesting about this experience and what did you learn?
I loved my experience at the University of Toronto, working with the Planning & Budget Office and with EASI’s Business Intelligence department. I have learned many concepts and skills from my projects and was fascinated with how the departments communicate with each other to come up with solutions that can help everyone get the job done in the fastest and easiest way.

What do you hope to do in the future?
I would like to work in a place where I can make people’s lives better by using my technical skills and ideas.


Shally Liu

Currently completing her Master’s degree in Information Systems and Design at the Faculty of Information.

What did you work on this summer with EASI?
I worked on the Data Dragon project as a data analyst during this summer. This project was for Enrolment Services and it analyzed internal data for English Language Proficiency tests for all undergraduate applicants. The goal of this project was to make admission requirements more transparent and easy to understand, and to improve the process for staff working in undergraduate admissions and student recruitment.

What did you find most interesting about this experience and what did you learn?
I loved working with my teammates – everyone was nice and knowledgeable. I also improved my technical skills during my project and the team helped me out a lot. I learned how to create professional Tableau dashboards for end users and make them more efficient for the end user, allowing them to easily get the data that they need.

What do you hope to do in the future?
I hope to be a data analyst in the future.


Jason Quay

Currently completing his Master’s degree in Information Systems and Design at the Faculty of Information.

What did you work on this summer with EASI?
I spent the majority of my summer designing SharePoint solutions for various clients on campus such as Simcoe Hall. I was mainly exploring advanced SharePoint features and integrations with MS Flow for the purpose of automating client workflows.

One of my more notable accomplishments includes completing the redesign for EASI’s internal SharePoint portal. The intranet site will aggregate employee resources into a single platform that is easy to access and intuitive to navigate.

What did you find most interesting about this experience and what did you learn?
I found the change management and onboarding processes to be the most interesting and challenging aspects of my work this summer. I learned that change management needs to be implemented at various stages of development. Simply training clients post development isn’t sufficient. Clients need to be educated well before they have hands-on experience with systems. Various strategies such as iterative deployment also needs to be introduced to ease any potential resistance to change.

What do you hope to do in the future?
In the near future, I wish to pursue a career as a business/process analyst or a product owner. I’ve been enjoying the client-focused nature of my role thus far and hope it can be part of my future endeavours as well.


Jason Tang

Currently completing his Bachelor’s degree at U of T in Computer Science with a focus on Artificial Intelligence.

What did you work on this summer with EASI?
I worked on a Job Evaluation Tool (JET), which uses Natural Language Processing to estimate job pay bands from the job description alone. I also worked on a pilot project on Course Recommender, which creates recommendations based on past course history.

What did you find most interesting about this experience and what did you learn?
I learned a lot about the practical applications of machine learning and the end-to-end techniques required for it.

What do you hope to do in the future?
I hope to work in the industry focusing on machine learning for a few years, and then continue to pursue graduate school for research in machine learning.


Ganesh Vedula

Recently completed his Master’s degree at U of T in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering with a focus on Data Analytics.

What did you work on this summer with EASI?
I worked on a project called Course Recommender and its goal is to improve students’ course selection process.

What did you find most interesting about this experience and what did you learn?
The most interesting part about this project has been the ample amount of data which can be leveraged in so many possible ways to recommend courses to a student given a condition like his/her program, year of study and course history – just like Netflix which recommends movies to us based on our previous browsing history. I have learned how to work in an agile environment, how to create complex machine learning models and present them to a totally non-technical audience.

What do you hope to do in the future?
I would like to pursue a professional data scientist career.


Nicole Williams

Completing her Undergraduate degree at University of Toronto Mississauga, studying Computer Science and Psychology.

What did you work on this summer with EASI?
This summer, I migrated the ACORN Launchpad website over to WordPress and updated content and site architecture for existing WordPress websites. I also ensured that all the sites I worked on were accessibility-friendly.

What did you find most interesting about this experience and what did you learn?
I was surprised by the amount of projects on the go at EASI. I found I liked working on so many different projects. I gained more knowledge on databases and servers, as well as more experience with web programming languages.

What do you hope to do in the future?
In the future, I hope to carve out a career in front-end web development, creating new and interesting websites and applications that are accessible for all users. I want the chance to use my skills as a programmer but to also be creative.


Nora Zhou

Completed her Master’s of Engineering at U of T’s Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.

What did you work on this summer with EASI?
I worked as a Machine Learning Engineer at University of Toronto Business Intelligence at EASI. I was responsible for building business intelligence tools to leverage machine learning algorithms.

What did you find most interesting about this experience and what did you learn?
The most interesting part of this position was that I had the chance to deal with real-world data with special cases. It is hard get this experience through course projects. I learned skills to interpret, aggregate data and find a suitable machine learning model to solve the problem.

What do you hope to do in the future?
I hope I can work with data – dealing with data is irresistible.

What to expect with IT Enterprise Service Centre

On September 17, the University of Toronto will be launching the IT Service Centre as part of the Enterprise Service Centre (ESC). This service desk solution will enable the University to eventually streamline, track and respond to over 38,000 annual IT inquiries. In the future, the ESC will also help the University process over 40,000 annual Human Resources service requests.

The ESC, based on the ServiceNow platform, will provide a modern employee experience, help to manage a growing workload, allow for seamless collaboration and provide real-time data to make evidence-based decisions to help adjust our services according to demand.

Here is a Q&A with Gary Raposo, manager of enterprise shared services with Enterprise Applications and Solutions Integration (EASI):


Why is U of T developing the Enterprise Service Centre?
The Enterprise Service Centre, or ESC, is a service desk platform that will unify the way you submit requests and open incident tickets at the University. Today there is no consistent way to do this – in some cases you send an email, in some cases you have to make a phone call, sometimes there’s a web app, or even a paper-based process. With ESC, we want to provide a single portal for all your requests.

What will it be used for?
ESC will support a number of central IT requests and HR cases at launch. We’re using a continuous development process with ESC so new applications will be added on a regular basis after that.

Who will be able to use it?
The system will be open to anyone who has a UTORid. ESC will present service catalogue options relevant to your profile so only items that are useful to you will appear. We’re hoping to make the ESC experience a personalized one.

What will users find most valuable about the new platform?
Over time, ESC will simplify your life. It starts by providing you with a single portal for all your requests so you won’t have to remember a myriad of emails, phone numbers, and websites. ESC also has a built-in knowledge base allowing you to get answers to your questions without having to open tickets in the first place. Finally, ESC provides full visibility to your tickets and requests so you’ll always know who’s working on your request and you’ll have the latest updates. You’ll never wonder if that email or web request ended up in a black hole.

When will it be launched?
The IT Service Centre will launch with the first wave of applications on September 17, 2019. The HR Service Centre is planned to follow in November 2019. We will be working with local IT teams to push out a desktop shortcut icon to access this cloud-based service.

Initial services will include a ticketing system for the Joint Operations Group, the Digital Workplace managed desktops and EASI services such as ROSI access and SharePoint Online support.

How do you see this platform evolving in the future?
ESC is built on an extremely flexible, cloud-based platform from ServiceNow. ServiceNow provides us with the building blocks to automate and streamline almost any workflow. I’d like to see the ESC evolve beyond IT and HR and into things like asset management, facilities requests, and even business and procurement requests. More importantly, I see ESC evolving across more departments, faculties, and divisions to provide a truly consistent experience across the University.

Questions? Check out the Enterprise Service Centre project website.

You can also watch this video about the IT Service Centre.

IT Service Centre to launch fall 2019, streamlining over 38,000 annual requests

On September 17, the University of Toronto will be launching the IT Service Centre as part of the Enterprise Service Centre (ESC). This service desk solution will enable the University to eventually streamline, track and respond to over 38,000 annual IT inquiries. In the future, the ESC will also help the University process over 40,000 annual Human Resources service requests.

The ESC, based on the ServiceNow platform, will provide a modern employee experience, help to manage a growing workload, allow for seamless collaboration and provide real-time data to make evidence-based decisions to help adjust our services according to demand.

“Information Technology Services is working to serve the broader University of Toronto community better by introducing modern, agile tools that enable efficient service delivery,” says Cathy Eberts, executive director of Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration (EASI). “This will improve the employee experience by helping users find the information and get the help they need when they need it.”

The University of Toronto Mississauga has used ServiceNow for over three years with great success at handling over 15,000 annual service requests.

What can you expect with the Enterprise Service Centre?

  • Ticketing system – allows users to quickly submit and track support incidents and inquiries.
  • Service catalogue – allows users search the catalogue by category to submit online requests.
  • Knowledge base – allows users to easily search a database of articles that are linked and categorized based on relevance to frequently asked questions and topics.
  • Dashboards and analytics – allows users to view important data at a glance and prioritize tasks.
Screenshot of the homepage for the Enterprise Service Centre
The ESC is a cloud-based solution that will be accessible to users through their preferred browser starting on September 17.

To prepare for this change, the project team has gone through an extensive six-week program of user acceptance testing followed by targeted training with participation from users across the University.

“Workshops and discussions with our user community were essential for understanding how to move them from traditional processes to a digital platform,” says Gary Raposo, manager of enterprise shared services with EASI. “As development progressed, it was great to see the excitement grow as people realized the potential of this platform.”

There are a lot of exciting changes coming this fall with a roadmap for continued development of the ESC.

For a complete list of which services you will be able to access from the ESC, visit the Enterprise Applications & Solutions Integration website.

Vikram Chadalawada recognized with 2019 Sustained Service of Excellence Award

Congratulations to Vikram Chadalawada, Senior Manager of Student Information Systems at EASI for being recognized for Sustained Service of Excellence at the 2019 Simcoe Hall Vice-Presidential Staff Award.

Since 2013, the Simcoe Hall Vice-Presidential Staff Award has recognized outstanding performance in the portfolios reporting into the Offices of the President, Vice-President & Provost, the Simcoe Hall Vice-Presidents, and the Office of the Governing Council. Each year the award recognizes staff members who have contributed to their Division or to the broader University in an exceptional way.

The Sustained Service of Excellence award is given to an individual, with exemplary service to the University, and who is held in high regard by their colleagues and peers in areas that are core to the University’s values including: excellence, service orientation, citizenship, professionalism, collegiality, integrity, and innovation.

Vikram was nominated by Cathy Eberts who wrote that “Vik cares deeply about the University of Toronto. Most notably, he promotes our ideals as an organization and sincerely values our contributions to society. He understands that the cultivation of healthy and productive working relationships translates into exemplary service for our students, staff, faculty and alumni. He has a strong locus of control and uses the power of civic responsibility to make a positive impact in all aspects of his work and beyond…there are few people I have met at U of T who more clearly “walk the talk” than Vik.”

Vikram was presented with the award on July 10 at U of T’s Faculty Club.

EASI Retirements: July 2019

Congratulations to George Mammoliti, who will be retiring on August 31 after 44 years of dedicated service to the University.

Learn more about George below, and please join me in wishing him all the best in the future!

Cathy Eberts
Executive Director, Enterprise Applications and Solutions Integration

George Mammoliti
Business Information Analyst, Financial Information Systems

Joined U of T: July 21, 1975
Retirement: August 31, 2019
Last day in the office: on or about July 31, 2019

Describe your background and how you arrived at EASI
At retirement, I will have worked at U of T for over 44 years. I began my career here on July 21, 1975 in the Purchasing Dept., then moved to its Customs, Traffic and Taxes section, and later I was promoted to be the University’s Travel Programme and Surplus Asset Disposals co-ordinator. As a result of my experience in these areas, in 1993 I was asked to be Purchasing’s representative on the implementation team for the University’s new SAP financial system (AMS), and following that, I was hired as one of the initial members of the FAST Team within Financial Services. Then in late 2000, it all led me to my current role back here in EASI.

What will you remember most about EASI?
Over so many years of rewarding work here in EASI (AMS), it will in fact, be the people with whom I have had the great privilege and pleasure to work with that I will remember most. Many colleagues became great friends, and some even like family. I am also very grateful for the great support of my managers and directors, including Marlies Burkhard, Pat Heslin, Graham Kemp, Cathy Eberts, and John Ogg.

What will you remember most about U of T?
Working here at U of T has been a varied, challenging and gratifying career. I am quite proud of the work that I have done, particularly the many departmental and university-wide (and even a few multi-institutional) changes that I have contributed to over the years. As well, I am also very appreciative of the faith shown in me by the various reporting levels that I have had the honour to work for during my career here. In addition to those already mentioned above, these would include: A. (Tom) Stilo (who first hired me, and who himself worked at  U of T for over 44 years), Tom Nippak, Neil Bishop, Mike Ferraro, Bob White, Tony Pieterse, Jim Laughlin, Pierre Piche, and Sheila Brown.

What do you plan to do in retirement?
A few years ago, I finally returned to writing and concentrating now solely on poetry, I hope to continue to challenge myself with its many types and inspirations. As well, and if all goes well, my wife and I hope to do more traveling, with one trip already booked and the next one in the planning stage. Taking courses such as art appreciation, and having time to do more timely/relaxing gardening are also in the plans.

What words of wisdom would you pass along to others?
Looking back over all these many years, I can truly say that if one tries to find at least some measure of enjoyment and learning in each job, whether it be in the tasks themselves or in the interactions with the people involved, then the work and the time will go by so much more quickly than one would imagine.

 

Change
The window open
Neither screen nor bars
And a light within

(2019)     George Mammoliti

U of T administrative management systems hit 90 per cent uptime

They’re responsible for running integral processes at the University – from payroll to vacation and sick leave requests to job applications. Now, after a thorough audit and the resulting improved processes, the Administrative Management Systems have increased system availability to 90 per cent uptime.

To bring this project to life, the team at Enterprise Applications and Solutions Integration (EASI) formed a working group in late January 2019 to see how to improve system availability. This included looking at scheduled outages due to bi-weekly and monthly payroll, fiscal month-end and year end and system restart and backups.

“We decided to look objectively at these outages and ask if they were needed,” says Gary Raposo, manager of Enterprise Shared Services at EASI. “We focused on web-based applications, which are more commonly used during off-business hours, and we were able to make significant improvements to maximize uptime.”

One of the main drivers for improved processes was new developments for Employee Self-Service (ESS) and Manager Self-Service (MSS).

“We’re asking users to report vacation and sick days through ESS, but in the past this service was only available between 7 a.m. and 1 a.m. the following day,” says Raposo. “Now someone who needs to take a sick day can submit their ESS request right away rather than having to wait until after 7 a.m. It’s much more convenient.”

After cataloging the systems for a month and examining processes, the team implemented changes gradually over the next few months to ensure a smooth transition.

“We’re trying to move more towards a 24/7 user experience,” says Paul Littlefield, security and solution developer/analyst with EASI and technical project lead. “Another noticeable improvement is that staff can have access to their T4 slips during the last week of April. In the past, they didn’t have this because we would shut down many systems for fiscal year end. Now ESS stays open and staff can easily get what they need.”

In the future, the team will continue to improve processes. This work will continue with the U of T Enterprise Modernization Program – a three-to five-year project that will transform the entire HR Talent Management Suite and the core HR, Research and Finance systems.

“We look forward to making future improvements to our systems, especially through the U of T Enterprise Modernization Program,” says Raposo. “Our ultimate goal is to provide more streamlined and convenient services for an overall better user experience.”

New U of T service desk to streamline over 78,000 annual help requests

U of T recently kicked off the start of the Enterprise Service Centre – a new service desk solution projected to streamline over 40,000 annual Human Resources & Equity (HR & Equity) requests and 38,000 Information Technology Services (ITS) inquiries. The application will consolidate a previous ticketing system, emails, phone calls and in-person questions, providing a seamless user experience.

The goal of the project is to create a single platform that will provide employees with immediate answers. It will also offer self service for commonly asked questions and provide updates to help employees learn about the latest news at U of T.

“I can’t tell you how many years I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to create a unified employee portal,” says Erin Jackson, chief human resources officer with HR & Equity. “We have difficulty tracking over 40,000 HR service requests through over 20 different emails and directing them to the right person in a timely way. This is going to be one of our largest projects over the next two years.”

The Enterprise Service Centre is part of U of T’s HR Technology Roadmap, a program projected to save $1.5 million annually and to lay the foundation for an enterprise-level service desk for U of T.

The ServiceNow-based platform also provides in-depth analytics to improve U of T processes.

“I’m really excited about this project and partnering with HR & Equity. It will bring consolidation on the ITS side, and there’s no doubt this will improve the end user experience,” says Cathy Eberts, executive director of EASI. “It will give us insight into issues and will allow us to become more proactive.”

The University of Toronto Mississauga has used ServiceNow for over three years with great success.

“Initially conceived as a project to replace our aging IT ticketing system, ServiceNow has become the service management platform of choice for the campus,” says Luke Barber, director of Information and Instruction Technology Services. “The platform has allowed us to onboard service request management for multiple campus partners, and our service desk now handles over 15,000 requests annually.  We are very excited to see ServiceNow coming online for central HR and IT workflows!”


What is the Enterprise Service Centre?

  • An integrated cross-departmental platform for HR & Equity and IT service requests.
  • A ticketing system to track and organize incidents and inquiries.
  • A place to easily access process and knowledge documentation.
  • A centralized information hub to generate performance analytics reports.
  • A single platform to facilitate everyday business processes.

The Enterprise Service Centre will launch in September 2019, with a preliminary rollout of HR & Equity and IT services. The HR Service Centre will include a general ticketing system for HR inquiries, a service catalogue with online forms for pension, benefits and payroll, and a self-service knowledge base where users can find information about policies and employee benefits. Much of the information currently found on the HR & Equity website will be migrated to the HR Service Centre knowledge base.

The IT Service Centre will eventually include a ticketing system, self-service knowledge base, service catalogue, and dashboards and analytics for central ITS.

“We’ll be rolling this project out to our teams, and creating a platform that all divisions could use in the future,” says Eberts. “This really will transform the way U of T employees will work. We’ll be able to prioritize their diverse needs and help to streamline a growing workload.”