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Durham University

Durham University is a world top 100 university with a global reputation for excellence in research and education, comprising 35 departments across four faculties and around 18,000 students, all of whom belong to one of 17 colleges. They are ranked 82nd in the QS World University Rankings (2022) and are established as a respected member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive universities. Demand for places to study at Durham is strong and growing.  The University has a responsibility to manage HR and payroll for a large estate of more than 4,000 employees.

Having previously selected the Oracle Cloud ERP applications, Durham University initially chose a third-party systems integrator to implement their core HR/Payroll modules but they found that they were struggling to achieve the anticipated outcomes. Following the implementation, there was a lack of transparency between the HR and payroll business units which led in turn to a lack of alignment between the technology and processes, operating within the two areas.

Durham University decided to look into alternative options and selected Symatrix as their Oracle Cloud Managed Service partner. This decision was based on Symatrix’ experience in Oracle HCM and the payroll knowledge it has gained in the process of delivering its BPO outsourced payroll service, coupled with its expertise and specialism in Managed Services (including information security accreditations and Oracle certifications), and its ability to support the ongoing evolution of the Oracle Cloud solution.

Durham University liked the commitment Symatrix showed to delivering high service levels, which was backed by Service Level Agreements (SLAs) around systems administration, support, security and project management. They were also impressed with Symatrix’ professionalism and determination to work in close partnership to provide consultancy, while helping optimise the recently implemented application.

Working as a team Durham University and Symatrix re-worked a number of HR and payroll processes and configurations, including new starters; multiple assignments; absences; and payroll support.

“We have been working with the Symatrix team for several months now and we are already seeing real benefits from the relationship. Working with them first enabled Durham University to restabilise the Oracle payroll application from an HR payroll perspective and subsequently allowed them to take advantage of the expanding capabilities and functionalities within Oracle ERP and HCM Cloud. This includes the ability to seamlessly manage solution optimisation, which will help to adopt more functionality and automation. In turn this will drive down cost, while improving the overall employee experience and engagement levels.

Symatrix has worked with our team to create a long-term strategic systems roadmap which helps us to realise continual value from the Oracle Cloud solution. This approach also highlights Symatrix’ dedication to building a long-term trust-based partnership with us. They believe that it is critically important to ensure that strong lines of communication are always in place between the two teams.

By working in partnership, the teams have identified several opportunities for improving Oracle HCM, including an expansion of Oracle Learn, for a new application that is now used for student training, particularly around ’Consent Matters’.

There is a strong personable relationship in place between the two teams; a great understanding of what we are looking to achieve and a real emphasis on practical delivery. Whenever we have a challenge, they see it as their obligation to do as much as they possibly can to help. Symatrix is a true extension of our own organisation,” commented Lauren Edwards, Assistant HR Director (People Services), Durham University.

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