Universities Canada is the voice of Canada's universities. They advocate for higher education, research, and innovation. Universities Canada provides a forum for university leaders to share ideas and address challenges. They foster collaboration between members, governments, the private sector, international partners, and communities. Overall, they promote access to education by administering approximately 130 scholarship programs per year.
The system Universities Canada had in place dated from 1999 and was configured in Oracle. “Our system was outdated and there was no room to expand or modernize our processes,” says Justin Perrier, Scholarship Systems Analyst. “As automation standards evolved, our users needed the latest features and functionality that our existing system just couldn’t provide.”
When it came time to look at upgrading to a new grants management system, the team built a spreadsheet to outline the functionality required in a new platform. “The list included the ability to support highly detailed workflows, meticulous tracking capabilities, powerful flexibility, the ability to manage multiple languages, upload documents, function in real-time, be self-sustaining, and seamlessly integrate with our current accounting software,” says Justin.
“Automated workflows mean Universities Canada staff can review applications quickly, so they’ve been able to increase the volume of programs they support. Everything is tracked differently now,” says Heather. “Instead of giant bins of paper indexed on a spreadsheet, everything is online. Because students can also better track their applications we have seen a reduction in the number of incomplete applications, and an increase in the number of viable ones. We now know the minute anything is completed, from submissions to payments to reviews. That’s greatly improved our tracking. It’s like comparing apples and oranges from our old system to SmartSimple.”
“Thanks to SmartSimple, reviewers no longer have to take shipping time into consideration when planning their schedules. They can access the system through their own secured, personal portals at their convenience, no matter where or when they prefer to work. This new review process has received more praise than any other improvement made by SmartSimple,” says Justin.