Mergers and the way forward
ITS has been involved in eight merge projects that resulted from the transformation and consolidation of the South African higher education sector.
The involvement of ITS started in 2002 with the then Durban Institute of Technology (now Durban University of Technology), which was the first project of this nature. The final phases of the merge process at the Walter Sisulu University for Science and Technology, the last of the newly formed institutions to merge, is currently being conducted. The end result is the merging of 19 independent institutions into eight new institutions.
The technical process of merging two or three databases into one database is a fairly complex process and required input from universities` staff over and above their normal workload. Existing data was hosted in a single database to accommodate all the operational and information needs of the new institution, while other operational issues were being resolved at the same time.
Now that the dust has settled, the new organisational structures are established. The staff at the institutions has gained experience in using the new merged structures as well as extracting operational and management information from the merged database. Further alignment of code structures (eg, the academic structure, student fee structure or conditions of service and associated changes to the payroll) may be required for the optimal functioning (and reporting) of the institution, as the definition of the code structures has a direct impact on functioning of the ITS system at a specific institution. Further work may thus be necessary to tailor the ITS system to meet the continuously changing business and reporting needs of the institution.
ITS has the capacity, expertise and technical tools to assist clients to implement these final changes to utilise the system to its full potential. This assistance can include:
* Adjustments to the code structures
* Performing of further minor manipulation of data to satisfy the operational and information requirements of the institution
* Data assessment and recommendations
* Business process alignment between campuses, and for better utilisation of the system
By Louis Lotter