ITS receives NACCU 2022 Innovative Technology Award

In recognition of its transformation of the UT EID upgrade process, Information Technology Services (ITS) received this year’s National Association of Campus Card’s (NACCU) Innovative Technology Award on May 6. NACCU is a national organization specializing in the campus identification and transaction industry. Director of ITS Customer Support Services Susan Roy and ITSM Process Manager Michelle McKenzie nominated UT Austin for the NACCU award.

“We were honored to receive this recognition for our efforts to support remote teaching and learning, a remote workforce, and essential onsite personnel while keeping employee safety paramount,” Roy said.

Prior to the new EID process implementation in fall 2020 and spring 2021, most EID upgrades were completed during in-person employee and new student orientations. The EID holder would present an ID Center employee with a valid government-issued ID (to verify their identity) and physically sign a form giving their UT EID legal signature authority. An EID upgrade allows eligible students, staff, faculty, and official visitors to conduct university business online.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift to online learning, in-person employee and new student orientations were canceled. The ID Center responded by focusing its efforts on evaluating, selecting, and implementing a fully online EID upgrade service.

“Initially, the EID upgrade process was modified to use Zoom appointments to verify an individual’s identity remotely with a DocuSign form to obtain the signature,” Roy said. “However, it became apparent that the ID Center staff could not successfully sustain a remote campus through these manual processes, and, as a result, we had to pivot to a complete self-service process quickly. We wanted to engage a cloud service for the identity verification step, which, if successful, could be expanded to other business processes that require proof of identity. Our goal was to provide the campus community with a modern self-service experience to improve service delivery, quality, and accuracy.”

Roy said she and her team collaborated with the Information Security Office to identify options for assisting the ID Center in the upgrade process and the validation of someone's identity. After reviewing several vendors, the team settled on a tool called Jumio Go, a cloud-based service that is used heavily by financial institutions for identity verification.

“Everyone on the project team agreed that Jumio Go was the best solution,” Roy said. “There were other vendors that were out there, but their solutions were more difficult to integrate, and Jumio Go had a more modern platform. We ended up being kind of trendsetters because I think we were one of the first higher-ed users of the product.”

According to Roy, using Jumio Go to automate the EID upgrade process has delivered the following benefits:

  • Streamlined processing—self-serve online upgrades with no waiting in line
  • Improved accuracy and reliability for ID proofing
  • Increased verification resources with access to more than 200 countries’ ID cards, passports, and driver's licenses in the Jumio Go database, with new ones being added frequently
  • Reduced fraud risk for the university using the latest biometric and AI technologies

“Another benefit is we don’t need to rely on ID Center individuals determining if the document is an acceptable form of identification for a particular country because Jumio Go has thousands of acceptable documents from all over the world in its database,” Roy said.  

According to Roy, Jumio Go’s success ratio—the percentage of people who are able to use the online process successfully—is around 88%. Some of the reasons why staff may need to become involved in evaluating the upgrade are things like flipped months for the date or date of birth (common in European countries) or users not following the instructions.

Roy credits the team for the success of the project and the NACCU award:

Development and Integrations

  • Rachel Graham, senior information technology manager
  • Sean Fagan, senior software developer/analyst
  • Jenna Webb, senior software developer/analyst

Technical Project Manager

  • Michelle McKenzie, ITSM process manager

ID Center Requirements and Testing

  • Kayle Daley, IT service development manager
  • Melanie Enriquez, in-person services operations supervisor
  • Julianne Hare, in-person services lead

Jumio Go

  • Cam Beasley, chief information security officer

Down the road, Roy expects to see more and more opportunities on campus to leverage automated identity verification to streamline other manual processes.

“Within our department, our next initiative is to use it to enable self-service EID password resets,” Roy said. “And beyond our service area, we are considering connecting with other process areas at the university, such as admissions and student financial aid.”

Other Related Articles

ID Center meets the challenge of providing 6,000 ID cards in-person on a shorter timeline

ID Center provides online services in wake of COVID-19 pandemic