The University of Cambridge is one of the world’s oldest universities, and a self-governed community of scholars. Its reputation is known worldwide and reflects the intellectual achievements of its students, as well as the world-class original research carried out by the staff of the University and the Colleges. It has a distinctive, federated structure with 6 schools, 31 colleges and 150+ faculties, departments, institutes and centres, and with a campus dispersed across the historic city of Cambridge.
The university operated 30+ different room booking systems across the different departments, which made visibility and the sharing of rooms very difficult. The incumbent room booking systems ranged from a piece of paper on the back of a door, to industry standard booking software. Each system had its own requesting process which generally was difficult to access from outside the department where it operated.
The university required room booking software that was both simple and easy to use, and which could be universally adopted across the complex and diverse nature of the University’s organisation and campus.
Anecdotally, the university was aware that existing commercial software products would not provide the expected user experience for their users, meaning the adoption of a standard solution wouldn’t be an option. Another approach was needed, and a development relationship with EventMAP was instigated. This project focused on redesigning commonly used functions and aimed to overcome some of the most frustrating pain-points of their old systems. Prevention of double bookings, better feedback and visibility at all points of the booking process, enhanced cancellation processes and simple and straightforward booking processes were introduced as part of the user-centric design initiative.
Because of their established expertise in the area, Cambridge selected EventMAP as their design and development partner. The solution is a cloud-based campuswide room booking tool now commercially known as Booker.
The system helps users find rooms which best suit their events needs by displaying the room facilities through the means of pictures, maps, room specifications and room availability for rooms both inside and outside their department.
The user experience is constantly measured through feedback capabilities built into the system. Periodically throughout the year user group sessions are held to capture improvement ideas and feedback on new features.
Feedback and monitoring are ongoing between EventMAP and the University of Cambridge.
Approximately 75 departments have adopted the solution with many more familiarising themselves in the test environment.
“The transition from our old room booking system to Booker was seamless and painless.”
Whilst the number of departments has been increasing over the last 18 months, a commendable average user satisfaction rating of 4 out of 5 has been maintained.
The typical reaction of users is that they describe the system as “simple to use”.
“Booker is quick and easy to use.”
Having a simple request process has reduced the frustration of staff having to discover the local knowledge of each department.
Higher visibility of rooms has meant that staff can now book rooms that they never knew existed before, especially when unfamiliar with a site or building.
“Booker has reduced the time taken to manage room booking requests.”