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SAP and Apple Enable the Digital Campus

Feature Article | February 27, 2017 by Uta Spinger

KAUST is transforming campus life with SAP Cloud Platform and Apple iOS services ranging from courses to events to IT requests. Everything will be available anytime, anywhere via mobile apps.

Worldwide, universities have to compete for the best and the brightest. Sophisticated research facilities are crucial to attracting students and faculty, and increasingly, an optimal campus and community user experience (UX) has also become important for attracting top talent.

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia aspires to be a destination for scientific and technological education and research. By inspiring discoveries to address global challenges, KAUST strives to serve as a beacon of knowledge that bridges people and cultures for the betterment of humanity.

“Our mission is to make KAUST a destination for brilliant minds. Part of that is making life as easy as possible so that researchers can focus on creating future technologies that will help people all over the world,” says Abdulmajeed Serajuddin, Manager, IT Enterprise Applications, at KAUST.

App-Connected Campus

To achieve this goal, KAUST aims to provide students and faculty with excellent services for campus life. While most of the services are available on the desktop, many students have expressed a desire to have mobile services available in one central place, anytime and anywhere.

The university’s IT strategy is focused on providing everything via the cloud, so its IT team looked at SAP Cloud Platform and SDK for iOS to build apps that students and faculty members could use on their mobile devices.

KAUST is extremely happy about SAP’s partnership with Apple and the option to build native apps on SAPs Cloud Platform SDK for iOS.

“We are expecting benefits from using SDK for iOS,” says Rajneesh Pandey, Manager of New Solutions and Enterprise Applications at KAUST. “The integration with SAP will accelerate the development time for us. We will use SAP Fiori for iOS design to create the most friendly user experience and then implement everything into SDK for iOS with the help of our partner Innovapptive.”

CampusLife Apps: Easy Access to All Services

A first iOS app called MyCalendar is planned to go live in May 2017, and will allow students to search for courses, register for classes, and manage the numerous events that the university offers. Once an event is added to the calendar, the app provides additional information for the event and provides the student with a map and directions using iOS native features such as Apple Maps, Geolocation and iBeacon.

Another service that will be provided via app is the submission and tracking of IT requests. Everybody knows how cumbersome it can be to wait for IT to react when your computer doesn’t work, or a projector doesn’t function properly in a lecture. With the app, users will be able to immediately report incidents tagged with their location and monitor the status of the request as they receive active push messages until a solution is provided.

Everyone living on campus—faculty staff, students and their families—have access to these services, as well as business and community services. For example, the university helps with visa applications with a service that is now available via app. This represents an easy way for students and government authorities to interact online. KAUST aims to make campus life for faculty and residents as enjoyable as possible, integrating information about recreational facilities, such as tennis courts and a fitness center into its online services and mobile apps.

Workshop Taps Student Ideas

The ideas for scenarios that can be supported via app came from a design thinking workshop that SAP organized jointly with KAUST.

“It helped us identify ideas and drivers for the project, and how we can provide services in a simple way,” says Pandey. For the workshop, KAUST invited students and asked them for their requirements. The time to get IT and business requests approved seemed to be a common pain point, and will be addressed with the service app.

Jointly with Innovapptive, KAUST has entered the core design phase of the project. In close collaboration with Apple and SAP designers, KAUST creates the best usability for higher education campus life.  The SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS and the new Fiori for iOS design language unify SAP´s deep understanding of business user needs and the rigorous requirements of the modern enterprise with the principles of good iOS design from Apple.

“KAUST is leading in technology and research, and using the latest IT technology from SAP and Apple for our campus is a logical step for us,” says Serajuddin. “The IT and business services that we provide with our native Apple apps will give us a leading role among universities worldwide.”

Watch the video from Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where Rajneesh Pandey reports about KAUST’s experience from working with Apple and SAP, designing best-in-class enterprise user experience.

Top image via KAUST

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