Directorate for the Student Experience

Project Delivery Director visits SLP Development Centre as new systems enter build

26 April 2018

SLP Delivery Director Steve Dover recently joined colleagues from IT Services on a visit to Accenture’s Philippines Delivery Centre, where a team of experts are working to develop SLP systems including Campus Solutions 9.2 and Microsoft Dynamics 365. Steve reflects on his visit, and the University’s partnership with Accenture, below.

Steve Dover at the Philippines Delivery Centre

The Student Lifecycle Project (SLP) is pushing boundaries in many areas of the University. In the area of IT, as well as providing new and strategic solutions, we have created a partnership between internal IT Services colleagues and Accenture. Accenture are recognised as a world leader in the provision of cutting edge technology to business across many industries. They have over 400,000 employees located in centres across the world and are major contributors to the people and societies within which their various development centres reside.

From the outset of the SLP, we planned to flex and utilise the expert capabilities of Accenture, both in the UK and either in Mumbai or the Philippines. We needed expertise in the Campus Solutions 9.2, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), integration and digital platforms we planned to build. We wanted the value for money the Mumbai or Philippines facilities could offer. And we wanted the best expertise.

Based on the outputs and requirements identified by colleagues from across the University during the SLP’s Design and Discovery phase, we decided to utilise Accenture’s Philippines Delivery Centre in Cebu. This particular centre has some of the most experienced technical resources in Campus Solutions 9.2 and Oracle Peoplesoft, which are at the core of the SLP’s solution. In addition, it has centres of excellence in Sitecore (our digital platform); Webmethods (our integration technology) and Microsoft Dynamics 365 (our CRM platform).

Many organisations fail to realise that the overseas element is in fact part of the whole operation of implementation. It is often viewed as an arm’s length capability to which information is passed at the beginning of the build period, with an expectation that sometime later a perfect build will emerge. It is in fact an important part of the core Project team and it is essential that the geographical location, cultural and time differences become part of the Project as a whole in order to gain the best outcomes from such a widely distributed build model.

Knowing this, it is important that those Philippines-based personnel who are working on the SLP understand what it means for us and that they understand the context of what they are doing and why.

This is why myself and Ian Guy – one of our Solution Architects from IT Services – spent a week in Cebu recently with our Accenture colleagues, to articulate the context of the SLP and to listen to and see the capability of our partner organisation.

We met all of the people in the teams allocated to our SLP delivery. I presented to them the wider vision of the SLP and put it into context with the University’s strategic ambitions and wider higher education trends. The talk underscored the critical importance of the SLP to the University and just how important a role Accenture and their Philippines personnel are playing in that picture in the future.

In turn, the leadership and personnel at the Philippine’s Delivery Centre provided deep insights into their capabilities in the core components being implemented as part of SLP, providing us with a high level of confidence in their abilities, methodology and underlying governance.

Alongside this was the recognition of our different cultures, beliefs and societal drivers which, when understood and respected, result in a greater level of cooperation, collaboration and personal commitment.

I knew that we had chosen the right partner for our IT.

The Delivery Centre pays its people very well and conditions of employment and equality are high and respected. Their work in the wider communities also makes a significant difference. The more clients like us that utilise professional offshore centres like Accenture’s Delivery Centre, the greater the demand for the next generation and the greater the contribution to the whole economy.

The people we met are brilliant. The professionalism and diligence we witnessed is without fault. The dedication to the SLP’s success is clear. Of all the overseas capability assessments and joining ups I have done in the past with other clients – this was the best.

Steve Dover, Student Lifecycle Project Delivery Director

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