Wednesday, 29 October 2014 11:45

SAP deployment at the core of La Trobe Uni digital transformation Featured

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Victoria’s La Trobe University has deployed Simple Finance and Student Lifecycle Management solutions from SAP as it expands technology support for its five-year business plan and digital strategy.

As the first SAP Simple Finance customer globally, La Trobe will deploy the solution, powered by the SAP HANA platform and delivered in the cloud, to provide its finance department and colleges with instant insights.

The SAP Student Lifecycle Management implementation, which SAP says is the first of its kind in Australia, is designed to enable La Trobe to better support students and staff by providing an end-to-end view of the student experience – from enquiry, application and registration, through to learning, graduation and alumni services.

La Trobe Vice Chancellor and President John Dewar said the deployment would help the university transform its business. “To a great extent, our ability to achieve our Future Ready goals is underpinned by technology. It permeates nearly every facet of what we do and how we do it, both at work and at home.”

“Our students live in a technological era, and we must provide a consistent environment so that their learning life and their social life can seamlessly blend.

“Our teaching staff and researchers must also have administrative overhead lifted from them so they can concentrate on their core activities. As an example, with SAP Simple Finance, our finance organisation will be able to focus on the most essential tasks and get the job done in real-time.”

Dewar said the “intensified relationship” with SAP was in direct support of the university’s five-year plan objectives, including “attracting creative and independent thinkers, supporting a highly skilled and motivated workforce, developing a lively, connected campus, boosting its national and international ranking, and improving sustainability through enhanced intellectual, physical and financial resources”.

Andrew Barkla, President and Managing Director of SAP Australia and New Zealand said the SAP product suite is at the heart of La Trobe’s operations and is designed to enable staff to efficiently manage subjects, courses, student records, and a multitude of other tasks. The solution also lays the foundation for the University’s mobile strategy, which aims to provide students with direct access – anytime and anywhere – to all their information, such as timetables, meetings, e-mail, financial commitment, test scores and a host of services specific to their academic experience.

Ged Doyle, Executive Director and Chief Information Officer at La Trobe said that while the university’s technology and applications had served their purpose, “it required highly manually intensive processes and significant intervention by our staff to support them, and it was not going to move us forward in catering for our digital requirements and future-ready plan.”

“Three years ago we embarked on a rationalisation, consolidation and risk mitigation program in parallel with a ‘whole-of-business’ application portfolio and infrastructure modernisation program. We have removed significant complexity by shutting down 150 legacy systems via this process while at the same time increasing functionality and services for our staff and students.

“This has been a complex but necessary journey, and it will be a continuous and iterative one. With the SAP solution, we are achieving these goals and more. We are eliminating waste in our existing processes with value-adding capabilities and services to both staff and students.

“In a competitive global environment it is critically important that we create an application portfolio that is seamlessly integrated, supports learning and teaching, research and administration, and that provides a very positive student experience. We can now integrate these critical processes with our existing SAP and non-SAP environments. SAP have helped us innovate, and they have become a very strong business partner.”

La Trobe is scheduled to go live this month with SuccessFactors Employee Central, a single system of record for workforce data. Part of the SAP Cloud for HR portfolio, the solution complements La Trobe’s existing SuccessFactors Performance Management solution, which it rolled out in 2013 to support 3,400 employees.  

According to Andrew Barkla, La Trobe is “significantly simplifying its business through true digital transformation – for the ultimate benefit of its students.”

“Through cloud deployment and in-memory technology in SAP HANA, the university is ahead of the game in Australia and globally in innovating the student experience.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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