UBC investing over $60 million to overhaul core software systems by 2021

UBC is making a major investment to overhaul its core software systems.

In April 2018, the Board of Governors (BoG) approved an initial $60 million for the Integrated Renewal Program (IRP) to revamp the university’s aging digital infrastructure by summer 2021.

For students, the IRP will replace the Student Information System (SIS) which handles student records, including transcripts, graduation and transfer credits.

For faculty and staff, the new software will replace the Human Resources Information System which is used to store employee records and the Financial Management System used to track transactions and generate financial reports.

Screenshot UBC

This effort is being done with administrative platform Workday, which UBC hopes will reduce current systems’ redundancy by storing information in a single place.

“It will be used by students, faculty and staff, as an enterprise system that allows integration and streamlining of complex processes, while remaining easy to use across platforms and devices,” said UBC VP Finance and Operations Peter Smailes in a statement to The Ubyssey.

“With Workday as the new enterprise system, UBC can deliver additional functionality faster, with greater flexibility and a significantly improved user experience.”

Workday did not respond to requests for comment.

As UBC’s digital infrastructure is over 20 years old, the IRP has been one of the BoG’s top priorities this year. In this year’s consultation, the university featured funding for the IRP as one major justification for tuition and fee increases.

So far the approved $60 million has supported “the planning and architect stages” of the program.

More specifically, $25.6 million is going to “external prime consultants,” $15.3 million to “UBC resource cost,” $2.2 million for “business advisory for transformation,” $4.8 million to contingency and $12.1 to other costs like premise lease, legal training and travel.

But the IRP’s total cost is likely to be higher, as the final budget estimate won’t be presented to the BoG until April.

According to Smailes, the IRP will not cut into “current spending on student funding, grants and bursaries or teaching and research,” as it will be supported by the university’s general operating funds.

At the same time, the Board also approved an internal loan of $38 million in September to support the IRP’s pre-development costs, which are outside of the IRP Planning Estimates.

Currently, UBC plans on rolling out the new software through five releases between April 2020 and June 2021. Until the first release, the university is finalizing its strategy with Workday and focusing on “data conversion and integration strategies,” according to a BoG document.

“As the program moves closer to implementation, there will be opportunities for UBC students to get involved and help the program test and validate some of the upcoming changes before the anticipated full rollout in 2021,” Smailes wrote.