ORLANDO — SAP SE today announced at EDUCAUSE 2014 that it plans to cooperate with the University of Kentucky, Northern Kentucky University and other higher education customers to reinvent the proven student information system (SIS) design as a simple, easy-to-use platform for student interaction, engagement and collaboration. The transformation is planned to lead to an SIS that allows students to track their classes and degree requirements on the mobile device of their choice, alongside fellow students in a social environment on SAP HANA Cloud Platform.
The envisioned cooperation builds on initial work with the SAP University Alliances program, whose member institutions and students have participated in several design thinking sessions. The envisioned development process will be focused on preserving existing infrastructure and investments while laying a flexible technical and operational foundation for the next decade and beyond; SAP’s approach also intends to address the powerful economic and social forces now sweeping across higher education.
“Today young people face significant challenges and opportunities in every region of the world,” said Bill McDermott, CEO and member of the Executive Board of SAP SE. “Simply put, we need a world-class education within everyone’s reach. We’re committed to partnerships with leading universities to change the game by getting cutting-edge technology on campus. With our SAP University Alliances program and the SAP HANA platform, we’re showing the commitment and the imagination to completely reinvent education and further student success.”
“We have derived consistent long-term value from SAP solutions across operations,” said Tim Ferguson, chief information officer, Northern Kentucky University. “We think its approach to the design and delivery of the envisioned SIS is the right one, and we look forward to cooperating with SAP and its higher education advisory council to promote a next-generation cloud SIS design with mobility and analytics in its DNA. We know that industry cloud solutions are a top priority for SAP right now, and with higher education as the first setting for an envisioned industry-specific offering, their commitment to this market is evident.”
SAP intends to offer higher education institutions the features of a mature SIS, currently implemented in more than 30 countries worldwide as the SAP Student Lifecycle Management application, augmented with integrated mobile, social networking, learning management and embedded analytics — all available in the cloud and powered by SAP HANA. Institutions running next-generation SIS from SAP will be able to maximize their existing investment and leverage the ability of the SAP HANA platform to combine real-time transactions and advanced analytics, whether in the cloud or on premise.
For example, SAP, the University of Kentucky and Internet2, among others, are working on leveraging the power of the SAP HANA platform to facilitate advanced research projects via the cloud. The objective is to deliver a community-designed, community-driven service to help drive faster and more efficient results for advanced research projects.
“For Kentucky citizens, retention and graduation rates are important indicators of student success. As such, the University of Kentucky is striving to improve student outcomes by analyzing and predicting retention and graduation rates using high-speed analytics,” said Vince Kellen, CIO, University of Kentucky. “Through the combined efforts of our student support staff and SAP HANA, the University is seeking to increase student retention and graduation rates. This is important to UK because not only does it help our students, it enhances our reputation and leads to increases in revenue. This SAP HANA deployment is also expected to reduce IT infrastructure costs and allow the university to retire several systems helping to improve the cost-effectiveness of our IT infrastructure.”
Continuity and Innovation
With recent customer additions, 97 of the world’s Top 100 Universities, as ranked by the Times Higher Education annual survey, now run SAP. These solutions are helping institutions tackle the challenges of increasingly value-minded stakeholders, the correspondingly urgent pressure for administrators to contain costs and the growing challenge of arming students, many of them non-traditional, with the right skills to succeed in life.
The envisioned cloud SIS will mesh easily with the infrastructures of global higher education customers who have continued to expand their SAP footprints. For example, in Australia, La Trobe University has selected SAP for a new student lifecycle management project currently being implemented and has just commenced running SAP HANA within its research programs. These new technology solutions will work synergistically with its comprehensive SAP-based implementations. La Trobe successfully went live last year on SuccessFactors Performance Management for 3,400 employees and is implementing SuccessFactors Employee Central this year to drive effective HR operations throughout its business and reduce costs associated with redundant manual processes.
SAP’s continuous commitment to higher education is proven by expansions of the SAP-based footprint among existing customers. The Fachhochschule Frankfurt am Main University of Applied Sciences, an existing Student Lifecycle Management customer, is using SAP Mobile platform to integrate mobile apps into its Digital Campus strategy. Over time, SAP Mobile Platform will be integrated with information in the University’s SAP ERP and student lifecycle management systems, enabling continuously richer and more dynamic apps.
Additionally, SAP is committed to nurturing the talents of millennials. In Germany, SAP has recently opened the SAP Innovation Center in Potsdam, near Berlin, to collaborate with the dynamic 150,000-strong student population of the region. The center will co-innovate with the multiple SAP customer universities in the Berlin/Brandenburg area.
Fighting Tuition Hikes in the US
Earlier this year, Gartner’s Terri-Lynn Thayer noted*: “an August 2013 White House Fact Sheet on the President’s plan to make colleges more affordable notes that according to College Board and U.S. Census Bureau data, the average tuition at a [US] public four-year college has increased by more than 250 percent during the past three decades, while incomes for typical [US] families grew by only 16 percent,” and found that “to further complicate matters, the disruptive changes in higher education are occurring against a backdrop of an increasingly customer-centric world.” SAP customers such as the University of Kentucky are using the SAP HANA platform to help them understand and fight the sources of rising costs, and thus to mitigate rising tuitions.
“We are taking cooperation with universities to an entirely new level, combining the power of our many touch points as a solution provider, academic partner, co-innovator, research collaborator and prospective employer,” said Malcolm Woodfield, global vice president, Higher Education and Research, SAP. “This next-generation SIS is planned to be completely different from anything currently offered or envisioned: a federated, loosely coupled design built around a core system of (student) record, with cloud point solutions that replace, or complement or supplement the core ‘legacy’ SIS in critical process areas or areas of strategic importance.”
*“The Coming of Age for CRM in Higher Education,” by Teri-Lynn Thayer, Gartner, October 1, 2013