Answering your feedback

RESPONSE TO ROSE PROJECT FEEDBACK

Since the ROSE website was launched, it has offered ways for users to submit their feedback. Through it we have received a number of questions and comments; listed below are responses to some more recent questions. We encourage you to continue submitting your feedback, either by email at resourceoptimization@umanitoba.ca or through our anonymous feedback link.

Current feedback response topics:


September 29, 2011

RE: Job loss and recent hires

Response from Debbie McCallum, Vice-President (Administration); Joanne Keselman, Vice-President (Academic); and John Kearsey, Vice-President (External):

We recently received feedback from a staff member asking for answers to some significant questions in relation to the ROSE project. We felt it was important to address these questions publicly.

The first and most important question is in relation to job loss. To be clear, the ROSE project does not have a mandate to reduce jobs. It does, however, have a mandate to provide service enhancements and improve efficiencies. This has meant examining processes and practices that were deemed outdated or redundant. As a result, more than two dozen initiatives were put into place. These initiatives have led, and will lead, to some reorganizing and restructuring. Some people may be asked to do new tasks or to conduct their work in a different way. Certainly there have been some position reductions over the past two years and there may be some in the future. This has, however, primarily been achieved through attrition and retirements, as well as proper vacancy management. 

The next question concerns recent ROSE-related hires made through Learning and Development Services (LDS) and the Office of Continuous Improvement (OCI). To date, the university has been working with an outside agency, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, to manage the ROSE project, which, while valuable, has come at a premium. With PwC’s involvement coming to an end, project support and guidance will now be provided by the OCI, which will have the capacity to deliver project management assistance for a wide variety of internal projects. The organizational change support positions added through LDS will support impacted stakeholders through both process and organizational changes.


QUESTION: As an advocate of open solutions, I am vastly disappointed to see the U of M switching email to a closed proprietary mail system like Exchange. This is a BIG mistake that will come back to haunt the university, because of the many vendor lock-in issues associated with anything from Microsoft. [It would be] far better to have an open server that any mail client can connect with. From where I sit, it looks like we're having a Windows solution shoved down our throats, when we should be getting less dependent on Microsoft. Nonetheless, if we are stuck with Exchange, then two important questions should be addressed:

1) While most of us use some sort of desktop client to read email, one assumes that there will also be access to email via the web. Has anyone looked into how well browsers other than Internet Explorer (eg. Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera) work with Exchange?

2) Considering that Exchange is a Windows-specific product, has any thought been given to how Linux or Unix users interact with the Exchange server? (One assumes that an Exchange client exists for MacOSX). For example, will the Thunderbird client from Mozilla, perhaps the most popular open source mail program, work with Exchange?

Response: A two-part response comes from Marvin Kocay, associate CIO, IST  and Harold Laube, project manager, IST

From Marvin Kocay:

We did research on the needs of the university community in regards to not only an email system, but email, calendar, file and print sharing, and communications. This included focus groups and surveys. We also had Gartner Group – a leading IT think tank – provide a market review based on our requirements with recommendations on how best to achieve the needs of the university. Through this, the MicroSoft Exchange product suite was identified as the most suitable. This not only provides a rich email solution, but it also includes an integrated calendar, and the foundation for a host of integrated communication tools such as messaging, share point, presence and video conferencing. It was also an effective solution from a total cost of ownership perspective, including support and maintenance.

From Harold Laube: 

Exchange’s rich feature set is best accessed by using a MAPI client. We will not be enabling the IMAP protocol on Exchange as it introduces complexity and stability issues. As for clients, there are several to choose from. One of the opportunities we saw with this project was the chance to standardize on a smaller number of email/calendar clients. The supported list is as follows:

  • Thick clients PC - Outlook 2003, 2007 and 2010 MAC
  • Native MAC mail client from 10.6 forward,
  • Entourage 2008 (Web Services Edition) or Outlook 2011 Outlook Web Access Internet Explorer 6 and later versions.
  • Firefox 3.0.1 and later versions.
  • Chrome 3.0.195.27 and later versions.
  • On a computer running Mac OS X 10.5 and later versions, you can use:
  • Safari 3.1 and later versions.
  • Firefox 3.0.1 and later versions.
  • On a computer running Linux, you can use:
  • Firefox 3.0.1 and later versions.

If you use a Web browser that doesn't support the full feature set, Outlook Web App will open in the light version.



QUESTION: One thing that has puzzled me is the discontinuation of the printed version of the university phone book.  I don't believe that anyone has taken into consideration the amount of time it saves me (and other people in similar positions) to hand someone the book so they can look up whatever they need to look up. I agree that every employee does not need a printed version, but also feel that one print version should be supplied to each department. 

Response: Leah Janzen, Associate Director, Client Relations, Marketing Communications Office

The move from a printed directory to an electronic one has resulted in significant cost savings for the university, in addition to a reduction in environmental waste. The electronic directory is easily accessible to all employees, is updated daily and provides telephone numbers, office locations and email addresses.



QUESTION: It is my observation that the printed version of The Bulletin is not needed. I strongly suggest that in keeping with the ROSE philosophy, The Bulletin be distributed electronically or that you at least eliminate a majority of the distribution by sending only two or three copies to each department.

Response: Leah Janzen, Associate Director, Client Relations, Marketing Communications Office

We are exploring options for creating a more vibrant news source as our web capabilities expand. PDF versions of each issue are currently posted on the University of Manitoba website.  


QUESTION: Is there a way to see where my requisition for new work (Req .7) is? We are sometimes told that it has to go to Architectural & Engineering Services for an estimate and construction. Is there going to be a way to view where it is at online?

Response: Barb Blackner, manager, administrative services, physical plant

There is no provision for online Requisition 7 status reporting at this time. However, each department has identified a Single Point of Contact (SPC) for physical plant who should be aware of all ongoing requests and projects. Each SPC has been sent information on who to contact for status information. You are encouraged to speak directly with your department’sSPC, however you can always contact physical plant directly.

The SPC for projects at the Fort Garry campus is Marcy Fritz (mfritz@ms.umanitoba.ca or phone 6473). The SPC for projects at the Bannatyne campus is the work order desk (bc_work_orders@umanitoba.ca or phone 3636), the first point of contact being Sherrin Smart. If you know that your project has been forwarded to Architectural & Engineering Services, you may contact Renate Scanlon (scanlonr@ms.umanitoba.ca or phone 9296).


QUESTION: Parking Services could use email rather than letters to tell staff what the rates are and that no action is required to maintain current parking arrangements.

Response: Norma Carswell, manager, parking services

We would love to use email but as there are many staff who do not have computers or email accounts, we use paper mailings in an effort not to miss anyone. We do not use the weekly all-staff ememo to distribute this information as we need to ensure that the correct rate information and renewal process is provided to each individual permit holder.


QUESTION: Does the university give its employees the opportunity to take unpaid days off? It would both boost morale and also save the university some money.

Response: Jan Spak, director, HR services

The option of taking unpaid days off is available to employees of the University of Manitoba depending upon individual circumstances and business needs of the respective department/faculty.  Prior to making such a request, employees should contact their respective HR consultant for more information.


QUESTION: Wouldn't the university save money and time if it reconsidered having contracts with travel agencies in lieu of allowing employees to search around for the best deal for air fares, hotel rates, etc?

Response: Finance Travel and Expense Team - Kristy Jamieson, Dianne Dugal and Kim Zamkotowich

Thank you for your email regarding the university’s travel policy and procedures. We appreciate that you are concerned about spending the university’s money wisely and fully understand your comments and suggestions surrounding the entire travel process. 

The university recently purchased an integrated online booking tool (OBT) and expense management tool (EMT) from Concur Technologies that we trust will  address your concerns. The new OBT will provide travelers with the ability to shop for flights and choose the lowest fares, including web fares, with minimal booking fees, depending on your need for agency assistance (international travel).  Although the service fee charged by Carlson Wagonlit will not be eliminated, a 70 per cent rate reduction was negotiated for fares booked within the OBT.  In fact, all online travel bookings (including Expedia & Travelocity) require a travel agency to 'fulfill' the ticket purchased.  The traveler just doesn’t see a separate charge for this service as it is built into the fare.

The new OBT also provides the functionality to book hotels and car rentals, similar to other travel sites. The difference is that any negotiated rates affecting U of M travelers will only be reflected in the Concur OBT.  For example, the university recently negotiated a contract with WestJet for a 10 per cent discount on flights. The discount will only be visible to university travelers booking through the OBT. It will not be visible on WestJet's website. Another example is the discounted  hotel rates negotiated by CAUBO. 

By capturing the majority of its travel expenses in the OBT and EMT, the university will have the ability to analyze the spend data and use the results to negotiate other preferred agreements with frequently used vendors. The savings from these agreements will be passed on directly to the individual travelers and ultimately to the university. 

Airfares change frequently throughout the day, and what’s available at this moment may not be available the next so getting quotes from different sources can be tricky. The booking date (two weeks prior or more), the number and type of seats available on the plane (different classes-different fares), and whether another flight is added for the same destination are all determining factors into why one fare may be more than another.

 The travel and expense team sincerely appreciates your feedback and is excited about bringing the new Oonline booking and expense management tools to the university community in October 2011. 

 If you have any further travel related questions, please feel free to contact Kristy, Dianne or Kim at any time to discuss. We welcome the opportunity to share our excitement!


QUESTION: I was really hoping we would move to Google enterprise for our email, calendars, word processor, spreadsheet and presentation software. It could have saved us a lot of money because all the hardware and licensing costs would have been outsourced.

Response: From Marvin Kocay, director, computer and network services

The university decided to go with MicroSoft Exchange for faculty and staff email. We are looking at going to a cloud-based solution (as yet not selected) for student email. We felt it was important to host staff and faculty email from a functional and support perspective. In making this decision, we utilized the services of Gartner Group – a world leading IT research organization – to evaluate and recommend the best solution for email. This evaluation included cloud-based options such as Google. Their recommendations were to follow the strategic directions we have set.


QUESTION:  Why not have light sensors in rooms that are used infrequently?

Response: Barb Blackner, manager, administrative services, physical plant

There are locations where these devices make tremendous sense, with other locations the implementation is less practicable.  Business cases for electrical consumption are considered and physical plant does monitor opportunities. The sustainability committee also has a working group looking into longer term initiatives and these ideas will be forwarded for their inclusion.


QUESTION:  If you plant perennials in more gardens and flower boxes you’d save on landscaping costs over time. You could even divide perennials when the time comes and have a fundraising sale with proceeds going to next year’s flower budget.

Response: Barb Blackner, manager, administrative services, physical plant

Perennials are an option that is employed in landscaping in a number of areas.  Annual plants are generally used where their season long bloom contributes more to the campus beautification in contrast to typically short bloom duration of most perennials.Physical plant groundskeeping staff will be provided with this input for their review and potential improvement.


QUESTION:  Every year, physical plant pays for a building to be re-keyed. There is a considerable cost in human resources as this project takes up a lot of staff time for both the physical plant and the staff liaisons in the selected buildings, not to mention being a considerable financial outlay for physical plant. Re-keying should be done on an as needed basis at the expense of the relevant department/faculty/unit.

Response: Barb Blackner, manager, administrative services, physical plant

The cost sharing of certain activities is always a careful and sensitive balancing act. Better ways of doing business and apportionment of investments and the return on those investment  are always being reviewed.  Keying of facilities is a current discussion point between physical plant, Security and program departments. As many of our key systems are antiquated and key inventories are unaccounted for, rekeying is done to improve security and upgrade the buildings.



QUESTION:  Waterless urinals might be something worth looking into especially for large traffic areas.

Response: Barb Blackner, manager, administrative services, physical plant

There is a project to implement these on a limited basis on campus. The impact of these particular items on existing pipes as well as the increased servicing costs is a significant consideration that limits their application. 


QUESTION:  I feel there is a lot of misuse with resources in physical plant and that the cost of miscellaneous services is astronomical. It costs more to hang a picture than the picture itself costs. This is part of the reason that the university is crumbling – departments and faculties don’t want to use up their budget on physical plant so they forego getting a project done.

Response: Barb Blackner, manager, administrative services, physical plant

Potential for improvement, particularly offering cost savings or cost avoidance, are always being considered and reviewed within physical plant and indeed across campus. The relative impact on client service as well as the state of the infrastructure we depend upon is always considered during the review process to avoid long term detriment for a short term benefit. Physical plant participates in a competitive process for service delivery and often takes on projects in house due to competitive costs and potential cost avoidance realized by the university.


About the ROSE project