Community Update - October 22, 2020

October 22, 2020

As of this CIO update, we are less than two weeks away from launching Workday for UBC faculty, staff, and student employees. This project has been a multi-year journey to transform human resources, finance business processes, and student administration at UBC, replacing and updating system environments in support of the university's mission and strategic plan.

Across the institution, there are many teams, working groups, cross-functional teams, and contractors all working together to make sure we are ready for the go-live date in early November. Our IT leaders, managers and staff can be found embedded in many of these critical teams, providing institutional knowledge and expertise in addition to their day to day work in ensuring our academic and administrative departments continue receiving IT support.

In a year where we have also had to respond to COVID-19, I am exceptionally proud of our staff balancing multiple priorities with resilience and tenacity.

Countdown to Workday Go-Live
The Integrated Renewal Program (IRP) website provides the most updated information related to activities, deadlines, and instructions in preparing for Workday go-live. As there may be imminent updates leading up to go-live, I encourage you to bookmark the IRP website to stay informed. You will need your UBC Campus-Wide Login to access the detailed information and any potential changes.

This month, we’ve spent some time communicating with internal stakeholders on the importance of data privacy concerns ahead of Workday go-live. In the lead‐up to such a significant system, it is more important than ever that the UBC community is prepared and diligent when it comes to potential phishing attacks. We know that cyber criminals will see this as an opportunity to launch new campaigns, relying on the disruption that surrounds an implementation of this size.

To prepare and mitigate this risk, UBC’s Cybersecurity Team has implemented precautionary phishing measures (as noted in the Sept. 30 Broadcast Email) including:

Self-phishing campaigns
Implementing mandatory multi-factor authentication (MFA)
External email tag notification
Providing training and phishing information sessions during Cybersecurity Month
And, incorporating information security messaging in Workday training.

Even with all of these activities, phishing emails are still very likely to occur. Last month, we intercepted more than 1.7M malicious emails and in one 24-hour period, we recorded close to 54,000. Phishing remains a critical concern and for this reason, we have three dedicated self-phishing training sessions for UBC IT staff to be taken over the next two months. I encourage everyone to review the phishing resources on the Privacy Matters website and to follow the instructions on how to report suspicious emails.

In addition to cybersecurity, you may have been informed that IT has imposed a maintenance freeze from Oct. 19 to Dec. 14. Any non-critical maintenance work or upgrades of production systems have been deferred to avoid any disruption for critical activities leading into the go-live period and beyond.  Our regular schedule of maintenance – posted on the IT Bulletins site – will resume in December.

Beyond Go-Live: Support for Workday
In previous Updates, I mentioned the creation of the Integrated Service Centre (ISC), which will be the main point of contact for Workday related questions, issues, and requests. The ISC brings together an integrated support service team comprised of HR, Finance, IT and Enrolment Services to sustain Workday.

The ISC team will focus on providing day-to-day support, helping to answer questions about Workday, assisting with issues such as access, errors and functionality, and where needed, redirect inquiries to other HelpDesks or support services. For more information on the ISC, you can visit their newly launched website and bookmark for reference.

As with any major undertaking, we fully expect that there will be a period of adjustment beyond go-live. Our HR and Finance communities will need the time to adjust to new ways of doing their work and adjusting any internal processes. Faculty, staff, and student employees will need to apply their Workday training to navigate the new system whether it be from their desktop or on mobile. Hypercare plans are in place and should reassure the community that we have enough resources to support immediate concerns and to lead into gradual stabilization.

Workday is a huge endeavor for the university, and the HR and Finance modules are foundational to leading us to Workday Student. Thank you to everyone across UBC who has contributed to the Workday journey.

Jennifer Burns
Associate Vice-President, Information Technology & CIO