Discovery Update: IT & HR Streams

18 February 2021

The SET team is in full swing carrying out the functional reviews and redesigns for the six administrative workstreams. A functional review is a methodology on how we can shift from our current state into our new administrative operating model, and consists of three phases as demonstrated in the diagram below.

Discover (gather information): understand key processes and staff activities of each stream. Identify opporunities to consolidate and automate processes. Prepare (redesign processes): form working groups and design future state processes. Transition (plan the transition): develop and implement transition plans considering people, processes, technology and timing. As we continue further down the path of transitioning into the new administrative operating model, we want to outline the processes and milestones for the first phase of the functional review: the discovery phase.

Stream progress update

It’s important to recognize that each functional workstream is moving at its own pace through its own discoveries and processes, and therefore, each will reach milestones at different times. 

Currently, both the IT and HR streams have completed the discovery phase, identifying priorities to determine which processes will be redesigned first. These two streams have issued a call for working group members and are now gathering feedback from operational staff as they begin to redesign processes. Student services and finance are still working through their discovery phase, while research administration has just begun. Lastly, the external engagement stream is set to begin discovery this summer. 

What is discovery?

The discovery process is the first phase of the workstream functional reviews. Its purpose is to understand key process and staff activities within each of the six functional workstreams, as well as identify opportunities to consolidate and automate processes. This process consists of two steps, the first being information gathering, where key contacts are identified and service catalogues are reviewed. During this phase, the project team connects with functional experts in the respective functional area to learn more about the current state of processes at the university, which informs what kind of work is being done, where it's done, and by whom. It is also an opportunity to discover good practices, systems, and processes within the faculties and units that can be applied more broadly to the institution through the redesign process. 

The second step is the process impact assessment which will assess similarities and exceptions in processes, among other analysis functions. During this phase, the discovery data will ultimately inform a prioritized list of processes to be redesigned first. The prioritization list is based on a variety of criteria including a risk profile, change effort required, dependencies, and more. Thereafter, the processes and activities will undergo a detailed process analysis which includes further consultation with working groups composed of operational staff and service end-users. Lastly, the discovery findings will also help us ensure that proper supports are in place for transitioning to the new model. 

Engagement and consultation

Throughout the discovery phase, our streams ensured that they abided by our principles of encouraging a transparent consultation process, as well as encouraging open and inclusive university engagement. Through pre-discovery and discovery, the stream’s engaged staff from across the university in a variety of activities including workbook development and completion, validation of discovery data, review of findings and more. The following is a break down of the approximate number of staff that each stream engaged during their discovery activities:

  • IT Stream: ~ 250
  • HR Stream: ~ 100
  • Finance Stream: ~ 220
  • Student Services Stream: ~ 80 
  • Research Admin Stream: ~ 70

For more information, view our summary of staff engagement.

IT stream update

Since the last update, IT stream activities have focused on analyzing the information received through the IT discovery consultation sessions as well as reviewing submissions in the IT discovery and activity workbooks. The preliminary findings from this review are presented in the following video.

HR stream update

The HR stream has completed their discovery phase, analyzing the information received through consultation sessions and responses gathered through their discovery and activity workbooks. The preliminary findings from this review are presented in the following video.

What’s next?

IT stream

As highlighted in the discovery process, the next focus for the IT workstream will be to determine the sequence in which IT services will move into the new administrative operating model. The team will begin by developing an IT transition roadmap, which outlines how and when both services and people will transition.

For more information and recent updates, visit the IT stream web page.

HR stream

Now that the priorities have been identified, the HR stream will move forward with the first two priorities: appointment/reappointment and job evaluation. A call for working group and feedback group members was issued in early February, which will help to guide next steps. These groups will help inform the redesign of each process within HR, establishing where work will be done in the new model, opportunities for improvement, and considerations for implementation. 

For more information and recent updates, visit the HR stream web page.


Frequently asked questions

How long will the discovery process take?

The duration of the discovery process will differ for each functional workstream, but on average, this first phase takes approximately two to three months to complete. Depending on the time it takes to identify key contacts, review current processes, complete process workbooks, and other factors, each workstream is working at its own pace through the discovery phase.

Some workstreams have completed their discovery phase, identified the priorities, and are now creating working groups to gather feedback from operational staff as redesigns begin.

Who selects the members of the working groups?

As the process design phase of the functional review gets underway, each stream will be issuing a call for working group members. These workgroups will help define future state processes, consult with other colleagues for feedback, identify opportunities to leverage technology to streamline and automate processes, and provide support with implementation activities. The open call is issued to leaders in each functional area to identify and nominate staff that have knowledge of the processes as well as the time to dedicate to the redesign. Once the pool of nominees is received, members will be drawn over the next two to three months to support process redesign, testing, training, implementation, and go-live activities for the prioritized activities. 

How can I get involved if I'm not on a working group, but want to provide feedback?

The SET team is always looking to hear your feedback and suggestions as we move forward in transitioning to the new administrative operating model. There are many ways to share your thoughts including:

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