Being a higher education institution with tremendous focus and resources in research and development of new technologies, HKUST also formulates its own IT roadmap in utilization and adoption of the latest technologies.
This aims at enhancing our campus user experience, the efficiency and productivity of university administrative services.
Mobile Apps have evolved rapidly in the past few years and becomes imperative for educational institutions. HKUST has launched different mobile apps, such as Student App, Staff App, Alumni App, and Research App, for different group of users over the past few years. In which all mobile app users can benefit from an access of anywhere anytime to our backend ERP as well as auxiliary solutions and make not only their working life more productive in completing day to day tasks but daily life more lively in for example booking sports facilities, locating catering facilities, etc.
It is important to have clear and proper governance (with policy and guidelines), enterprise data management and systematic ways to manage the apps. It will benefit the university in the following ways:
- Increase the efficiency and productivity of back office staff
- Increase efficiency and engagement of students
- Empower field workers (e.g. FMO)
- Direct marketing and brand building
Moving towards the Paperless Campus is the future direction.
HKUST is in the process of implementing document management system (ECM) as well as many e-forms to work towards paperless campus. It is the University target to decommission all of our paper forms in 2022. This will bring the following benefits:
- Protect environment with less paper
- Increase efficiency with automation on application or e-forms
- Increase security level with everything on a system with proper security
- Improve accessibility so users can access anywhere anytime for submitting any form
Click here to download the roadmap.
Many departments are providing different services to “customers” in various ways. A good service desk management system will lead to satisfied customers and improve the quality of service.
Each department/service unit has its own requirements but yet the same goal to deliver optimum service. A good service desk system can provide the benefits through the following principles:
- Think customer first: Service Desk teams can often be driven by supply rather than demand. Learn from the history figures and create something based on demand not supply
- Focus on popular requests – It is common practice to start with a subset of popular services or offerings and to ramp up from there based on usage and feedback.
- Integrate knowledge – Students/Staffs/Faculty are looking for answers to provide them with easy access to knowledge base.
- Centralize self-service portal – A single place to go for help. A goal of centralization to increase the customers' satisfaction when accessing the service catalog
- Leverage automation – Deploying a highly-functional, knowledge centric Service Management system is a great first step. Incorporate automation into self-service will reduce the overall workload by removing common repetitive tasks.
HKUST is undergoing a university-wide website revamp exercise to adopt latest market leading platforms.
By replacing the portals and websites which were developed by old programming tools many years ago, we aim at enhancing better image and user experience through the following:
- Modern and dynamic look and feel design
- Better user-friendliness and interactive experience
- Ease of maintenance and update on contents by regular users
- Personalization and role-based dynamic contents
- Integration to backend systems and databases
- Better consolidation and linkage to useful services, dashboard reports and websites
- Mobile responsiveness
Our new administrative intranet has been launched in Sep 2020 and is under on-going enhancement to make it a one-stop entrance to our administrative systems resources.
Enterprise Content Management is crucial in control and access of document information, as well as preservation of the important history documents.
HKUST is in the process of establishing the document management policies and guidelines, and implementing the latest market leading platform solutions for Enterprise Content Management (ECM). Over the years, we have already converted thousands of papers and hundreds of policies into our ECM solution and most of the policies are now accessible online via our Policy Management System. This is expected to bring HKUST great benefits through the following:
- Standardization of categorizations, processes and structure
- Better control and consistency with centralized document identification and version
- Enablement of sharing and collaboration across teams and departments
- Strong and flexible control on security and accessibility
- Saving in physical storage and paper-form documents
Event Management System allows HKUST to perform a centralized event establish and broadcasting, registration and payment, check-in and attendance management, as well as social collaborative platform for schools, departments and faculties.
By replacing the existing independent event managements system within the HKUST, the new, advance and unique event management system platform will bring benefits to HKUST at
- Provide centralized event organizing environment(s) and more economical way
- Reach out target event audiences in a more efficient way
- Support both online and offline payment methods
- Seamless interaction in between event speaker and audience through the event mobile app
Apart from the traditional Visa, Master and Union Pay, new electronic payment methods i.e. Alipay, Wechat pay, PayPal and Octopus are also introduced over the years to allow our users to have a more convenient, flexible way to handle their payments. Mobile and in-app payment are also enabled for a more convenient access to different payment channels at the finger-tips.
It also bring the following benefits to HKUST:
- Provide comprehensive payments methods to all school payment purposes
- Reduce transaction fees instead of relying on 3rd party payment gateway
- Improve the integration in between payment and back office Financial Management system
Chatbot and conversational AI platforms are increasingly becoming the newly automated support system for the service industries. This is no exception to the higher education sector.
AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP) powered by Neural Networks and Machine Learning, the Specialist Chatbots can detect what our users are trying to achieve (their intent) and respond appropriately with information or results of transactions from API connections to any of our back-end enterprise information systems.
This brings great benefits to the University including:
- Boost of productivity with lesser if not no labor involvement and the AI Chatbot can manage inquiries non-stop at 24x7 and provide speedier feedbacks to inquirers, compared to the traditional email approach. With AI Chatbot, PGSO manages to respond to over 1000 inquiries a month without human interruption and all inquiries can be handled within few minutes.
- Improving user satisfaction level and promoting the image of the organization. With AI Chatbot, 80% of the students who used the service felt satisfied with the brand new experience.
Some of our users such as ARO, MBA, FYTGS and DSTO have already adopted this latest technology in answering queries from our current and prospect students with promising feedbacks.
HKUST is in the process of building a central data repository to provide a single consolidated platform to collect and organize data from a variety of sources.
- Student (Admission, Enrollment, Exchange, Survey, Graduates, Employment etc.)
- Faculty / Research
- Staff (Recruitment, Employment, Resignation/Termination)
Analytic dashboards are now prepared for number of users in different offices and departments to get insights and decision support from our warehouse and data marts built. No longer users rely on cumbersome excel reports, users are equipped with user friendly and dynamic analytics tools to increase efficiency and effectiveness.
Predictive analytics describe what’s likely to happen in the future. It uses techniques like data mining, statistics, modelling, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to exploit patterns found in historical and current data to make predictions about the likelihood of future events, hence identify potential opportunities and risks before they occur.
Common predictive analytics applications include:
- Student learning: predictive analytics can help determine potential factors that lead to academic success or failure, hence identify students at risk and offer assistance at an early stage.
- Fundraising: a model can be built to identify high potential donors through analyzing the client database, past donors’ information etc., hence while reducing the cost of donor acquisition, increasing the chances of getting donations.
Since 2018, HKUST has started experimental projects applying Predictive Analytics. ISO has partnered with various department / office, engaged expert consultants to help us build various Proof of Concept models in predicting student performance (SSCI/MATH, LANG), faculty of a higher chance of securing a grant (RO), potential alumni in donating to the University (DAO).
A predictive model for predicting the likely donors based on different segments has been developed for DAO.
Data blending is the process of combining data from multiple sources into a functioning dataset for further analysis and calculation. It brings in additional information from a secondary data source and displays it with data from primary data source. Unlike joins, data blending keeps the data sources separate and simply displays their information together. This is ideal when the data is at different levels of granularity. While each data source is queried independently, the results are aggregated to the appropriate level and visualized altogether.
Instead of using sophisticated SQL script or Advance Excel Formula/VBA, Data Blending Tools, in particularly for handling large and complex data sets, used to play an important role in helping users blend, including cleansing and mash up, the data from different sources, e.g. spreadsheets, web analytics, application systems, databases, etc.
Benefits of applying data blending tool include:
- Data Blending Tools allow both technical and non-technical users to dynamically combine and visualize data from multiple heterogeneous sources without any upfront integration effort.
- Data Blending Tools provide user-friendly visualization tool (code free) for building an intuitive workflow for data blending rather than complex syntax in SQL/VBA scripts.
- It enables users to automate time-consuming data manipulation tasks and perform repeated blending with different sets of parameters.
RPA is an application of technology, controlled by business logic, rules and structured inputs, with the objective to automate business processes. RPA promises to help organizations eliminate labor intensive tasks, freeing up valuable human resources to focus on activities that add values to the organizations.
RPA technology consists of software robots (bots) that mimic a human worker, and are commonly deployed to achieve low-medium complex automations, such as following simple, repeatable rules to process data, search the internet to gather, store and manipulate user specified information.
Applying RPA will bring great benefits to the University including:
- Removal of routine and repetitive tasks from knowledge worker who can then focus more on work that requires more creativity, induces more joys and hence satisfactions, and work that adds more values to the university, and ultimately the society
- Utilization of user interface to capture data and interact with applications just as humans do, but faster and with fewer errors.
- It can be implemented quickly and efficiently without changing the existing technology stacks – enabling our university to automate tasks and integrate systems which would otherwise be too complex, costly, or time consuming to address.