At institutions, management and oversight functions of CFI-funded projects may be held by several individuals across various units. For example, project leaders and their scientific teams, and the administrative staff from the office of research services, financial services, the procurement department and the facilities management department may all have some level of responsibility over the proper management of CFI awards. In addition, in some institutions the administrative staff in the faculties or academic departments, and in the research institutes or centres, may also be involved in the management of these awards. Access to key project information by all relevant stakeholders is therefore critical in ensuring the success of the projects.
In order to be effective and efficient, many institutions have implemented a Document Management System (DMS) as a central repository for all important project documents that can be accessed, viewed, changed and shared with and by all relevant stakeholders.
There are numerous benefits of implementing a DMS, including:
- Ability for authorized users to easily access electronic files and documents in a timely manner — information can be accessed anytime and from anywhere, which is particularly handy when collaborating on projects with team members who work in different units or are geographically distant;
- Improvement of timelines for the authoring, review and approval process for key documents is significantly facilitated;
- Availability of key documents (e.g. project proposals, budgets and implementation timelines, amendment information, project risk assessments) during the key stages of an award ensures that all stakeholders have a more fulsome view of the project and important information has been considered in the decision-making process; and,
- Cost savings through lower archiving and document storage fees, for institutions where an imaging program is in place.
Here’s an example of how one institution has provided access to key project information.
University of Ottawa
The university currently uses SharePoint, and is in the process of migrating to Docushare as its DMS. These Web-based systems help to share files without complicated software, cloud storage or an internal website. Docushare lets the university share information directly from its hard drive and access it at any time online. Importantly, these systems enable all stakeholders involved in the CFI portfolio to access the latest documents, ensuring accuracy of the information used by key services such as Financial Resources, Facilities, Procurement, the Office of the Vice-President Research, and faculties. The secure environment is designed to promote collaboration within an institution.
Director, Office of Strategic Development Initiatives
Phone: 613.562.5800 ext. 3405
Email: cbeaule [at] uottawa.ca
Clear definition of roles and responsibilities, and collaboration from key stakeholders at all stages of a CFI project