London School of Economics chooses Product Suite from Scientia to Optimise Timetabling and Enhance Functionality
June 2015 – The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is working with Scientia to optimise the functionality of its timetables and room booking for both academic and conference bookings.
LSE is one of the foremost social science universities in the world with an international intake and global reach. Its research and teaching span the full range of social sciences including economics, politics and anthropology and the university is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year.
The institution was looking for a solution that could replicate the various streams of their existing timetabling function, while introducing features that would allow for greater automation of timetable production. They chose Scientia because of its strong user community and plans for future product development.
The contract has been broken down into a number of phases and began in September 2014 with the deployment of Scientia’s core Enterprise Foundation Suite, which replaces LSE’s existing timetabling system.
Lee Dumbleton, Senior Consultant at Scientia, said: “Prior to embarking on the project we did an extensive proof of concept with LSE, taking their existing timetable data and putting it into our system to show them how it could work, and what it was capable of achieving; we demonstrated the functionality of the suite and what we could do for the institution.
“As well as replicating the timetabling functionality in order to build the academic timetables, we are also replicating all of the room-booking functions that LSE previously used, and providing new features that add greater value for stakeholders. That includes replicating and extending the online room booking functionality, the confirmation of bookings via email, and all of the associated reporting functionality.”
As part of the first phase, Scientia has rolled out Enterprise Foundation, which helps LSE with its academic timetabling and any ad hoc room bookings that need to be made through the main system. The contract also includes Web Data Collector, which went live in February to collect all the academic teaching requirements which are fed directly into the main timetabling system, replacing the paper forms previously used within the institution.
Dumbleton added: “Due to LSE’s specific requirements we decided to deploy the new Resource Booker system, a cloud-based application that allows LSE to deliver the enhanced functionality that they need, such as allowing users to login in under multiple roles. For example, a user can represent a department and make bookings on their behalf, but may also represent a society. There’s a need to differentiate between what role the user is logging in as, in order to determine what rights they have within the system; which rooms they can book, how many bookings they can make, and so on.
LSE have been instrumental in advising on development in order for us to provide a system that fits their specific needs, and also guide product development for future installations. Other software being deployed includes the Syllabus Plus Data Adaptor (SPDA) which will transfer student information into the timetable to help produce personalised student timetables, and Publish - a new cloud based product that will be used to deliver live, personalised timetable information to students and staff, direct to their mobile devices and Outlook calendars.
Zoë Saunders-White, Senior Project Manager at LSE said “The implementation of the new room booking and timetabling system has been difficult on both sides at times, but the dedicated work and support from the Scientia product managers, technical consultants, and in particular their Senior Consultant Lee Dumbleton has demonstrated their commitment to delivering a system that meets the needs of the School. I am confident that the strong collaborative working between LSE and Scientia will result in a product that not only meets our current needs but also provides a platform for continual improvements in the way that we deliver services to our users in the future. We look forward to launching the full system at the LSE in September and seeing the benefits it will bring to the School and its community.”
Dumbleton concluded: “We are tailoring our products to meet LSE’s requirements, and as part of that we are delivering over and above what they had with their previous system which had been in use for many years. While at times the implementation has been challenging, due to the complexity of their specific needs, they recognise that there was a need to change product within management, and they are starting to realise the value of what they are now able to achieve using Scientia products.”