Information Systems student teams continue partnering with industry during the pandemic

Information Systems student teams continue partnering with industry during the pandemic

9 Dec 2021 - 18:15

The course Business Process Management and Enterprise Systems give IT students real-world experience in analysing the business processes of organisations, preparing them for the role of business analysts following graduation.

The INF3012S project, which runs for the second semester, makes up 20% of the students’ year mark. Students self-select their teams and receive bonus marks for diversity in race, faculty, gender and nationality. Global professional services firm EY sponsors the prizes for the top three teams.

The collaboration is an excellent example of mutually beneficial reciprocal partnerships between the university and external stakeholders as knowledge partners. The project itself was co-created with EY in 2009. Over the years, the project has evolved and adapted to align with industry needs and maintain relevance to participating organisations. 

Students met face-to-face at the organisations and analysed the business processes in the past.  In 2019, Furnmart in Gauteng piloted doing the analysis remotely. So, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the lecturing team took the plunge and decided to continue the group projects, albeit remotely. While students found the remote project challenging, they commented that connecting and engaging with their peers helped them immensely when studying online.  

Initially, it was challenging to convince organisations, who were also experiencing operational difficulties during COVID to continue these partnerships. With increasing class sizes, 25 teams needed partners in 2021. The teaching team would like to express their gratitude to all partners who supported them during 2020 and 2021, especially SAPPI (6 teams), Capitec Bank (5 teams) and Artibeus IT (5 teams). In 2021, the university also stepped in, and the students analysed 14 UCT processes.

This year’s winning team (Team 23) analysed how UCT processes refunds from student fee accounts. The UCT sponsor commented that the team was professional and offered good suggestions. The 51-page report with multiple appendices includes mock visualisations for two evaluated redesign options and the proposed solution.

The second team analysed the onboarding of internal data consumers in Capitec. Comments from sponsor evaluation included: “The team did a great job. What is outstanding is the list of potential solutions, which are relevant and long-lasting.”

The team in third place analysed the Tax Pack Process at SAPPI. Comments from the SAPPI sponsor included: “I value that they submerged themselves to this process and took a holistic view. Well done on an excellent project report.”

The winning team received their certificates on campus, from left to right: Gwamaka Mwalemba (lecturer), Matthew Diedericks (team mentor), Pfano Matsheketsheke (team leader), Theresa Banda, Professor Lisa Seymour (course convenor), Tadiwa Madzore, Bongiwe Bhebhe-Mkandla. Raven Govender was absent.