- User driven reporting from all modules
- Comprehensive security control
- Document management
- Step by step tracking of processes with progress steps
- User configured workflow with automated generation of email and alerts
- Full diary management
- Links to external digital repository software
- User configured forms
- User configured on-line help
- User configured picklists
- Soft coding of field names to allow rapid customisation
IRMA includes a powerful report-writing tool. The tool is available for all modules. This report writer enables a user to apply full Boolean, range or text searching conditions for any field within a module.
The user may have as many conditions as it needs in a report. So, for example, in the Contracts/Grants module it would be possible to easily produce a report for all projects which were successful, had the text string "HIV" in the title and which will end during the year 2010. Similarly, in the Research Outputs module, it is easy to produce a report of HERDC eligible journal articles for 2008 in the Department of Chemistry, which have been entered but not yet checked.
The report writer then allows the user to output any field in the module and select the order in which they appear. The report writer allows ascending or descending sorting on any selected field. The resulting output may be sent to Microsoft Excel or Word for subsequent processing.
IRMA works by establishing permissions that allow a user to perform specific functions associated with viewing, creating, editing and deleting data. The permissions are then assigned to a profile; for example, a person working exclusively with the Research Outputs modules would be assigned a profile which includes viewing, creating, editing and deleting data associated with Research Outputs but without access to the ethics modules.
In addition, the permissions may be used to make specific parts of the system visible to a user. For example, most institutions would not want general users to be able to see the Adverse Event data in Human/Animal Ethics. Using the permissions, access to this tab could be restricted to a small number of users.
It is possible to have as many individual profiles as you need. While the permissions are created by University Office staff, profiles are created and assigned by staff at the user's institution using the Web tools functions. The permission architecture allows any model of administration. Current IRMA customers have used the same modules to allow completely different (centralised and devolved) models of administration.
All modules of IRMA include the capacity to store files of various types (e.g. .doc .xls .pdf .jpg) and any other extension can be allowed as required.
This capacity to store all relevant files may be used to minimise the creation and movement of physical documents and files. It also enables the sharing of information within multi-site institutions.
Step by step tracking of processes with progress steps
All modules include the capacity to create and monitor progress steps which are created by the user to suit your institution's workflow. IRMA allows for individual kinds of progress steps within a module, based on the specific nature of the work. For example, it is possible to have quite different progress steps for a paper based research output than for an output which is digital in nature. Similarly you may have different progress steps for a low risk human ethics protocol than for a high-risk protocol.
This capacity for tailoring within the user's institution gives it the capacity to introduce standard work practices and workflows.
The date tracking within progress steps enables you to see bottlenecks and potential problem areas within the user's administrative processes and consequently streamline them.
User configured workflow
IRMA uses status values and progress step completion values to allow the user to generate emails to relevant parties at specified points in the administrative processes. Users are provided with a toolset, which allows the insertion of variables within a standard form email. Each module has different variables so, for example, in the Human Ethics module, the workflow allows the insertion of the data from the field recording changes required for the approval of the protocol.
Virtually any email may be generated to as few or as many people as you choose.
Full diary management
The system includes tasking subsystem and both tasks and progress steps may be monitored and managed using a calendar based workflow system. This enables the user to see all due and overdue work at any given time.
Links to external digital repository software
IRMA may be linked to your corporate digital repository. This means that data which has to be recorded in IRMA is naturally passed through to the permanent store. This very powerful workflow ensures high levels of compliance with the user's corporate data sharing and archiving policies.
User configured forms
IRMA includes a facility to generate output from the system in formats determined by users. The system takes blocks of data and converts this to Rich Text Format so that the data is presented and printable from Microsoft Word. The facility includes the capacity to add text other than that generated from database fields so that output may be any mixture of structured data and general narrative at the user's discretion.
User configured on-line help
IRMA allows users to enter field specific help into the system. This help is activated by hovering over an icon.
In the Human Ethics module there is also a facility to access specific URLs that relate to specific fields in the system. This allows users to give researchers access to the full policies and procedures, which form the basis for the NHMRC national statement.
User configured picklists
Picklists in IRMA are user generated and configured. This means that the system can immediately reflect values associated with changed processes or procedures.
Soft coding of field names
Any field in IRMA may be soft coded so that the wording of a field name is at users' discretion. So a UK user would see the field County where an Australian user would see State. This means that you can configure the look and feel of the system to reflect specific names for data elements and work practices.
Migration of Legacy Data
University Office has constructed tools to upload data from spreadsheets for the Contracts/Grants and Research Outputs modules. These spreadsheets include the capacity to migrate the staff and student master files as well as the journal and book master files. For the Contracts/Grants module the upload capacity includes the provider and scheme master files as well as the data associated with the individual projects.
One of the most troublesome areas in any system is managing the process of changing the management structure. IRMA includes a tool that manages this process for users. Virtually any restructure may be handled and reflected in all modules through a single process. This not only allows for the merging or movement of structural units, but also allows for the insertion or deletion of a whole layer of structure.