Our change champions are an integral part of our change programme. In this blog we speak to Letty Gibson, Research School Services Manager, School of Life Sciences, about her role as a change champion.
Please tell us about your role.
I have been employed by the University of Dundee in Life Sciences since 1997 and my role has changed several times during this time as the School has expanded. I am now the Research Technical Lead in Life Sciences within the senior management team. I’m also a member of various management committees across the university. Part of my role includes responsibility for the delivery of the Laboratory Management Support Service which includes a team of lab managers and junior lab technicians. Our work includes dealing with procurement, budget management, health and safety and compliance with legal requirements and adherence to UoD policy in all aspects. We focus on these areas so researchers can focus on their research activities.
What made you want to be a change champion?
It’s very important to me, in fact, I’ve been involved in initial design workshops, user acceptance testing and training since before I became a change champion. From day one I’ve contributed to shaping and influencing the way Business Transformation will work. Procurement in Life Sciences is highly complex due to volume, range of funding bodies and types of spend. I’ve been fully involved to make sure the system can meet the procurement needs of Life Sciences regarding what we buy and where we buy it. But I carry out this work as part of a team, with lab managers and other key Life Science staff, who join me in workshops so we can get the best of their knowledge and expertise.
From the beginning it was critical to me that our School should have a strong voice in the development stages of the Business Management System in order to influence. I’ve been involved in the introduction of new business systems in the School of Life Sciences before, namely in the development and launch of PECOS. Seeing the challenges that change brought, that’s where I learnt where potential obstacles can arise, what critical issues need to be addressed and what can be put in place to make change as seamless as possible.
The key to success is preparation, planning and strong communication. That’s my role as liaison between the BT programme team and the staff within Life Sciences who will be affected by the change. Understanding and pre-empting what we will and won’t have is critical. I highlight our needs and identify if system solutions are in place and what will be available at go live. The smooth running of our labs during the cutover period is paramount and we do all we can not to compromise service delivery to staff.
What benefits do you see OneUniversity bringing?
I’m very excited about the undertaking to improve business management processes. Currently we spend time looking for information and aren’t always able to access the data required, often duplicating our efforts and not being 100% sure that the information we have is current and accurate. I have been at many sessions where the data provided in the new system is described as a ‘single source of truth’. I’m really looking forward to this and it’ll be fantastic when managers can go and access the data they want instantly.
I know that the grant holders are very excited when given an insight into the type of budget reporting that will be available and accessible using any device, anywhere. When the research model goes live it will have a huge impact on Life Sciences when researchers can trace a single pathway from idea to award. In HR too, to run my team of 25 people, it will be so useful to have a single source of information that’s easy, quick and efficient to access. Having simple access to complex data is going to help me do my job.
Fun fact about Letty
I love driving but have never mastered reverse parking!