Collaborating Through Separate Implementations with the University of Oklahoma

Implementing new software always brings its share of positive change, insights and, of course, a few challenges. Two campuses at the University of Oklahoma implemented Activity Insight separately, but collaborated through the process. In this blog, we’ll discuss how both implementations benefited from the collaboration.

Background

Three campuses make up the University of Oklahoma system, with the primary one in Norman, Oklahoma. The Norman campus serves all academic fields except for health services. The Oklahoma City campus includes Center for Health Sciences and the College of Medicine. The third campus is in Tulsa.

Because the Center for Health Sciences and the College of Medicine are separate from the main university, it made the most sense to have two separate Activity Insight implementations. Karen Horne was the Project Manager for the university-wide implementation, and Leah Haines was the OU College of Medicine Project Coordinator.

The university’s Colleges of Engineering and Education already had implementations of Activity Insight when Horne’s team began OU’s university-wide implementation in 2015.

The project team first focused on implementing other colleges, libraries and units, then migrated Engineering and Education to the university-wide system. In the end, between the Norman and Tulsa campuses, the University of Oklahoma had 2,132 Activity Insight users, 1,764 of whom were faculty.

The OU College of Medicine began its project in 2014, and will implement across 31 science and clinical departments by 2017. When complete, the College of Medicine implementation will have 1,494 total Activity Insight users, including 1,331 faculty.

Benefits of Collaboration

Haines and Horne found many benefits of collaborating and sharing ideas while working on their separate Activity Insight implementations. To start with, since both were from the University of Oklahoma system, they were familiar with the constructs and processes of the university—and could discuss sensitive information as needed. The two decided early on to have an open-book policy when it came to sharing their experiences and advice.

Because the two projects overlapped, they could ask each other for advice when facing a specific issue or making a decision. For instance, the OU College of Medicine needed to include several  proxies in their system to help enter data, and Haines was able to ask Horne’s advice for how to set up user access, credentials and other important details. When Horne’s team began importing CV data into their system, Haines also shared a great tip to help the data entry teams enter data correctly, by color-coding sections of the CV.

The two shared that they loved having someone to bounce ideas off of and ask an opinion before making a big configuration decision. They shared screenshots and ideas throughout their implementation processes.

Advantages in the Differences

One of the first areas where the two implementation teams parted ways was branding. The University of Oklahoma chose to call their system the Faculty Activity System, while the OU College of Medicine decided to stick with Activity Insight. At first, Horne and Haines weren’t sure if the dual names would cause confusion, but the opposite turned out to be true. Because many users were in both systems, it was easy to differentiate between them.

Horne and Haines had another win during their co-existing implementations when Karen experienced an IT problem. While the Tulsa campus was doing faculty reviews, users reported that the system timed out or wasn’t accessible at all. As the university-wide coordinator, Horne jumped on the problem, speaking to IT teams from all three campuses and Digital Measures. They discovered a faulty router at the Tulsa campus. Replacing it resolved the issue.

Horne kept Haines in the loop during this hiccup because there were also College of Medicine users at the Tulsa campus. In fact, Haines was actually planning a rollout at that campus in coming weeks and would not have known about this issue had Horne not shared. Due to the prompt communication, Haines delayed her rollout until the issue was resolved.

Have a success story about cross-campus collaboration and implementation? We’ve love for you to share your approach. Digital Measures loves collaboration and putting administrators in touch with each other. There is no better way to learn new setups, share advice, and build networks and relationships than talking with the individuals who do this everyday. Reach out to your Solution Specialist if there is a college or institution that you would like to be connected to.

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