Partnership between faculties and Information Technology: University-wide benefits

Posted on Friday, February 26, 2021

Shaking hands

Through a series of fortunate events, a researcher approached Patrick Provencher, Manager of IT Support Services at the Faculty of Arts about sharing a programmer. Patrick knew they could leverage a programmer but hadn’t budgeted for the expense. He reached out to Daniel Trottier, Senior Director of IT Solutions, to see if there were opportunities to share a resource. From there, a partnership project was born. 


By pooling resources, faculties and Information Technology now share a part-time resource to work on initiatives that can offer administrative optimizations and productivity improvements. The first initiative was to streamline pay verification. 


Every month, in nearly every faculty and service, an employee devotes hours upon hours performing a manual verification of pay, many times using makeshift solutions like spreadsheets or personal databases. There were ways to streamline and automate this process; Senior Systems Manager (Faculty of Social Sciences), Sylvain Léonard, had already created a tool to bridge the pay verification gap at the Faculty of Social Sciences. Through some coordination and coding, the tool was adapted to work for all the faculties – a new Application Programming Interface (API) could feed information into this tool thereby eliminating the need for manual intervention. 


In 2020, there were 24 pay periods. The manual verification of pay can take between a half- or full day for each pay period, per faculty. The equivalent of at least 120 to 240 days of manual work. Introducing productivity improvements provides operational efficiencies and improves the quality of verifications.  


By working together, the IT community is delivering administrative efficiencies with greater agility. A pilot project has already begun with Telfer School of Management and the Faculty of Health Sciences, after which, the tool will be rolled out to other faculties. As the project progresses, system requirements continue to be identified and added to the requirements for the tool. The opportunities to introduce improvements abound thanks to available resources and collaboration, as Patrick explains it, “It’s an opportunity for change to challenge the status quo.” 

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