3Case StudyKey Drivers■ Software licence costs.■ Potential of collaboration.■ Saving money long term.Intended Beneficiaries■ Staff and students through easier and more effectiveaccess to systems.■ Colleges in terms of greater efficiencies.Impact to date and anticipatedBoth project s are in the development stages so the benefits are anticipated rather than realised. Thesebenefits are largely associated with easier access by staff and student users to Finance and HR systems,together with a better use of staff time.FE Sussex:” We are already experiencing a positive cultural impact with respect to staff. The benefits yetto be realised are that :• Staff time will used more efficiently• The system will be easier to use for students and to support recruitment• There will be less waste in terms an of old paper-based systems which is used by one College.• There will be a Self Service System for HR and no paper-based system”Isle of Wight College: “A Share point site for the Finance system has been created and testing with thebeta version of Symmetry Cloud was successful. But until a final version is issued, we will be unable todeploy this site-wide”.Colleges and ProjectsFE Sussex led project (6 Colleges) Shared Services in Sussex and Surrey Colleges, Cloud computing Isle of White College Finance system in the cloud using Symmetry CloudSummaryThese two projects are focused on providing Cloud based Finance and HR Solutions to colleges. FESussex’s project is a collaborative one involving a Private Cloud supporting 8 Colleges. All Payroll andHR is being put into the Cloud, with a single database supporting 6 colleges. The Isle of Wight’s is asingle college project using Symmetry, as a specialised Cloud based approach.
4Case StudySupplier engagement experiencesFE Sussex has experienced a smooth procurement process for the software and Cloud hosting. The Isleof Wight College has experienced supplier difficulties in delivering a completed product in terms ofCloud hosted software. There have also been challenges with upgrading the band width of the JANETconnection.FE Sussex: “The tender process was through OJEU. We received excellent support from FE Associatesas consultants. The software supplier has been chosen and is being set up and installed. This software isused by the University of Sussex and also Northern Ireland who have used this software for the last 5years. The Cloud Hosting provider has been selected as the University of London Computer Centre, whowe found with assistance from JISC”.FE Sussex: “Software - specification requirements have been complex as it is a group of 6 Colleges,who have to deal with suppliers when choosing the software, which was complex. When choosing thesuppliers the colleges ask them to deal with 5 complex scenarios that may occur and how these would bedealt with”.Isle of Wight College:” We selected Symmetry Cloud. The main risk has been supplier difficulties indelivering a completed product, which would enable us to complete this project on time. The mitigationhas been to continue working with the existing system, until all issues have been resolved. Delays in thisproject may cause issues with site wide deployment via the intranet, depending upon any changes to theoriginal specification of the software. Symmetry are amending certain areas of functionality, to improvethe purchase order and invoice authorisation process. The leased line upgrade was not completed. Theavailability of bandwidth will be monitored and reserved for this project as required. An additional linewill still be required and will be fitted as agreed with JANET”.Technical and Security ChallengesFE Sussex: “The implementation of one data base to replace 6 separate ones is always going to be achallenge. Cohesive and cooperative working is essential. The technical challenge was of connectivity,ensuring all colleges are connected and all data can be transferred satisfactorily. Data processingagreements required extensive legal advice .The on-going need to finalise Data Protection Agreementsneeds to be flagged as a potential interrupt to activity. Data protection is a problematic area and requiresexpert specialised legal advice”.Isle of Wight College: “Due to the unresolved software functionality issues identified with Symmetry,a go-live date with the cloud system has yet to be confirmed. This will be agreed when the issues havebeen resolved, and implemented in the live system”.
5Case StudyChange Management experienceFE Sussex reports that significant attention has been given to change management through regularmeetings between the colleges involved, a large scale training programme and actions to overcomechallenges such as cynicism amongst some staff.FE Sussex: “It has been the biggest challenge of all! A training programme for 77 users is in progress. Thehuman element is more difficult to solve than any technical problem. Cynicism by staff affected by thenew systems introduction. Ensuring watertight agreements and a collaborative atmosphere mitigatedthe barriers. The following gives an indication of the number of collaborative meetings involved:17 x Common Standards Board meetings (HR/Payroll and Finance Directors). The purpose of thesemeetings has been to manage the project, its timeline adherence and performance to plan.3 x SISSC Principals’ meetings. These are meetings of the steering group of the colleges3 x Dedicated HR/Payroll workshops. These meetings have been held to devise and finalise thespecification of the Solution Design Document which standardises all procedures, reports and processesof HR activity across the member colleges of SISSC.1 x Future planning activity which was a strategic look at the long term direction of SISSC and itspotential development in terms of widening the partnership and making it available to non-foundercolleges.The result of the above activity is the production of the binding SDD. This document (there is also onefor Finance) underpins the shift to Cloud based HR solutions”.Indicative Cost SavingsThe cloud application of this FE Sussex collaborative project provides the opportunity to makesignificant cost savings through the reduction in individual college servers, over and above commonsoftware savings.FE Sussex “We will reduce in-college servers by 10 at the end of this project. Each server costsapproximately £13K pa to run and service. Hosting environment fees are less than half this. This willtherefore result in a £75k saving”.Lessons LearnedFE Sussex:” We would have considered additional full time staffing at an earlier stage”.