Sam Pat, Rosanna Chiu, Sean Lee, SHCS IT
Jumping on a Zoom call with Rosanna Chiu, Sean Lee and Sam Pat from SHCS Information Technology (IT), I’m reminded of how just four years ago, Zoom was barely on my radar.
Some video and teleconference options existed, but they were generally limited to the boardroom, and in-person meetings were the standard protocol.

Yet, here we are, just a few years later, and Zoom is prolific—across UBC and around the world. How Zoom integrated into and changed our lives is a strong example of what is known as digital transformation.

In SHCS, innovation and digital transformation is one of the priority areas in our 5-year Plan, and numerous digital transformation projects are underway—many led by our support departments.

“Digital transformation of our systems across SHCS is vitally important. In some cases, it’s part of wider system changes at the university and in others it allows us to provide more enhanced and innovative services and support for the UBC community.” — Rosanna Chiu, Associate Director, SHCS IT

Digital transformation projects

Back to that Zoom call with SHCS IT, Rosanna, Sean and Sam tell me about a range of digital transformation projects they’re involved in.

Workday Student Launch 2

Rosanna, Associate Director, IT, notes that their team is “heavily involved with UBC’s Integrated Renewal Program (IRP) and the upcoming Workday Student Launch 2.”

She adds that this project also necessitated the switch to a new payment processing system, and the university selected TouchNet as the new digital payment solution. IT and SHCS Finance have been working closely to support the transition to TouchNet, which will integrate closely with Workday and continue to provide a strong experience for students and other end users.

In addition to Finance, IT is working with several of our other departments on the Workday Student Launch 2 rollout. “We are also collaborating closely with Residence Administration, Facilities and Building Services, Finance, and Marketing and Communications,” Rosanna says, “and we very much appreciate the ongoing support we have for each other.”

Student Housing Management System (aka Thor)

Related to Workday Student, IT has also been hard at work transitioning the Student Housing Application from a local Java version to a web-based version (affectionately known as “Thor”—yes, after the Marvel superhero / Norse god of thunder and lightning).

This project was a critical update for integrating with Workday Student and a much-needed modernization of the system, which now offers increased usability.

But the project to modernize how we administrate our Student Housing Management System doesn’t stop there. In collaboration with central IT, Student Residence and SHCS IT are actively engaged in a project to select and implement a new comprehensive system by summer 2025 to better manage our existing and ever-expanding student housing footprint. That project is scheduled to move to the crucial request for proposal (RFP) stage by the end of this academic year.

Rosanna Chiu, SHCS IT

Rosanna Chiu, SHCS IT

Point of Sale systems

Sean Lee, Manager, IT, who looks after the many Point of Sale (POS) devices used across SHCS—primarily in Food Services—is working on two major POS replacement projects.

For a new Harvest Market location, opening this summer in Brock Commons South, Sean is bringing in AM/PM Service, a leading POS provider that will be critical for the rollout of self-checkout services at the new location.

Access cards

In addition to working on important network hardware upgrades, Sam Pat, Manager, IT, notes that he is also supporting the integration of new chip-based, tappable access cards in our residence buildings, which were initially piloted at tə šxʷhəleləm̓s tə k̓ʷaƛ̓kʷəʔaʔɬ.

These cards are now also in use at Brock Commons North and will be at Brock Commons South as well. To expand their use beyond our newest buildings, Sam, in coordination with SHCS Facilities and Building Services, is also retrofitting some areas in older buildings, such as the Thunderbird Parkade and the commonsblocks at Place Vanier and Totem Park.

Child Care management platform

This past year, Rosanna’s team also supported the launch of Fastoche, a child care management platform, at our new child care operation in the Okanagan, and her team is currently onboarding each of our Vancouver child care settings, with a full roll-out anticipated later this spring.

This all-in-one platform allowed them to digitize the application and enrolment processes, modernize drop off / pick up and attendance (in conjunction with the wider rollout of tablets), and enhance communications between educators and families.

“It’s exciting to work with SHCS leaders, learn about their communications needs and help them find a way to share information and resources, with the goal of stronger collaboration and easier knowledge sharing throughout SHCS.​” — Sylvia Tuason, Manager, Digital Communications, SHCS Marketing and Communications

Additional projects

Here are just a few of the many innovative digital transformation projects currently underway.


Several years ago, Gontran Paget, Senior Manager, Safety Management Systems, launched SafetyCulture (formerly known as iAuditor), a digital inspection, issue capture and corrective action platform—launched separately by UBC Parking around the same time.

In 2023, the OHS team celebrated that all SHCS operational units are now using the platform, which means that everyone from cooks and early childhood educators to drivers and housekeepers can perform regular digital safety inspections of their equipment, vehicles and environments.

By moving to a digital platform with automated schedules and notifications, the system makes SHCS a safer place to work and helps keep everyone informed in real-time.


In 2023, as we were rebounding from the pandemic and keen to quickly recruit for a wide range of positions in Food Services, Krista Power, Manager, Recruitment and Attendance in HR, piloted the use of HigherMe, a unique hiring software used by many major franchise restaurant companies.

Instead of posting directly to external job sites, such as Indeed, the HR team can post to HigherMe, which automatically publishes across more than ten different job sites, including Indeed, Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter, Monster and more.

The pilot year with HigherMe was a big success, bringing in nearly 4,000 applications for 350 positions between July and October 2023 and significantly reducing our job vacancy rate.

C&A Resources and Training SharePoint

The draft C&A Resources and Training SharePoint

SHCS Occupational Health and Safety Sharepoint

The draft Occupational Health and Safety Sharepoint


One of the primary digital transformation projects Marketing and Communications is spearheading is the development of a modern, cloud-based, SHCS-wide intranet on Microsoft SharePoint.

This project includes a suite of internal, CWL-protected sites that we can use to help increase access to information, resources, procedures, and news and updates—both within and between departments.

Sylvia Tuason, Manager, Digital Communications, is currently guiding several initial departments through the development process. Over the next few years, we anticipate significant developments on this project, especially as central IT releases the most current cloud-based version of SharePoint for our use across the university.

Digital transformation in SHCS is an ongoing process—one that is sometimes a response to change and sometimes an opportunity for innovation. Regardless, it is always in service of our mission to enhance the UBC experience for our students, staff and faculty in the Okanagan and Vancouver.