As part of several initiatives, UQ has a number of workflow automation activities.

These initiatives include:

  • Candidature Management System
  • Unitask
  • Casual Academic Hire and Payment System
  • Establishment of the Enterprise School and Course Management System.

These initiatives have already significantly reduced administrative overhead associated with paper-based and manual-process workflows. A large number of student processes – and some staff-related processes – were digitised in 2017 with a vast improvement in the average turn-around times.

While additional research is required, initial outcomes indicate that further investments of this kind would ultimately reduce administrative overhead associated with both academic and operational functions.

The Business Process Digitisation capital-funded project will continue to apply a systems approach across all identified student and staff-related processes. Business Process Digitisation achievements to date across several initiatives using this approach have included;

  • The digitisation of 32 online processes. These processes encompass work across student administration, human resources, finance, and the Graduate School. Over 14,000 cases have been completed in 13 months, with over 3200 cases processed in a single month (March 2018).  Users were able to initiate, updated and review requests in the my.UQ staff and student dashboard and provides a significant improvement in UQ's customer service capabilities and experience. 
  • The establishment of the Casual Academic Hire and Payment System. The system has been designed to further simplify the process of hiring and paying casual academics.
  • A significant reduction in turn-around times for a number of student-related processes. Staff processes are expected to see equal improvement when they are rolled out in 2018.

unitask graph

Automation in 2018

Automation activity in 2018 will deliver on the following significant objectives:

UQ-wide deployment of the Casual Academic Hire and Payment System across all schools.

The system will provide the following significant benefits:

  • Streamlined process/workflow – measured by reduction in process variability
  • Removal of manual timesheet entry for tutors and sessionals with a prescribed work pattern
  • Removal of the need for supervisory staff to approve timesheets with prescribed work pattern
  • Reduction in payment delays for tutors currently caused by paperwork, non-approval of timesheets or Aurion downtime
  • Reduction of administrative effort required for budget tracking (e.g. checking tutor has used correct pay rates and claimed correct time allocation, and matching against budget)
  • More appropriate management of budgets by setting the payment schedule at the time of hire
  • Academic oversight of hire decision included in the process
  • Standardised recruitment process for casual academic staff across UQ
  • Standardised payment process for casual academic staff across UQ.

Establishment of the School and Course Management System.

This will further enhance capabilities of the Casual Academic Hire and Payment System including:

  • Improved budget forecasting and control (casual claim approval)
  • Improved course management (linking students with the staff who are teaching them)
  • Improved evaluation capacity (linking web SeCats with the School and Course Management System would allow student evaluations to be sent to the correct academic staff member in courses with multiple streams)
  • More equitable and transparent academic workload distribution enabled by more detailed understanding of teaching responsibilities
  • Reduction in erroneous data via improved verification processes
  • Reduction in time spent in answering information requests (professional and academic staff)
  • Reduction in time spent on data entry (professional staff).

UQ-wide deployment of 17 newly digitised and in-development student and staff processes across the student administration and finance domains.

Digitisation of a further 24 student administration processes already identified as part of the current approach. 

The UQ-wide deployment and continuous improvement of HR processes that were identified and developed as part of the ESS 2017 program including:

  • release 2 of the fixed-term appointment expiry
  • change to work hours or days
  • staff onboarding, including offer acceptance and pre-commencement activities.

Establishment of a framework for identifying, rationalising and/or automating all paper-based manual processes with a view to achieving new standards in quality, timeliness, customer experience, cost, and performance management.

Strategic alignment

ITS's work in automation achieves the following from the ITS Strategic Plan 2017–2020 and the UQ Strategic Plan 2018 and Beyond:

Enhancing the student experience by:

  • Investing in IT infrastructure renewal to enhance UQ’s online experience and support the increasing demand of eService requirements across the University.
  • Analysing and synthesising critical data that will lead to insights and informed decision-making for an enhanced student and staff experience both digitally and on campus.
  • Partnering with organisational units to automate student-facing processes, recognising student time is valuable and should be focused on study rather than University administration.

Building an agile, responsive and efficient university operation that reflects a one UQ culture by:

  • Investing in IT systems to reduce manual paper-based processes.
  • Reducing in transactional effort associated with inefficient and manual processes.
  • Improved business process efficiency, quality and consistency
  • Integrated records with digital systems
  • Improved accessibility and better knowledge sharing
  • Improved response time and client service
  • Reduced costs
  • Greater staff flexibility
  • Better plan for business continuity.