SAP Cloud Platform and Apple iOS services are transforming campus life at KAUST, from courses to events to IT requests.

Worldwide, universities have to compete for the best and the brightest. Everything has to be available anytime, anywhere via mobile apps. Sophisticated research facilities are crucial to attracting students and faculty, and increasingly, an optimal campus and community user experience (UX) has also become paramount 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, faculty and students can focus on creating future innovations that will help people all over the world,” says Abdulmajeed Serajuddin, Director, IT Operations, 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 related Mobile Services to build apps that students and faculty members could use on their smart devices.

KAUST is extremely happy about SAP’s partnership with Apple and to build compelling, native apps taking advantage of the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS.

Student App Success

An essential cornerstone realizing KAUST’s App-connected campus has been the roll-out of the “My Academia” app. The app helps to enable and mobilize areas of students’ daily academic life at the KAUST campus ranging from checking offered courses, building their schedule for the semester, checking transcripts, receiving alerts and push notifications and much more. Student self-services which are based on ABAP Webdynpro and Excel-based procedures have been replaced by a compelling, user-friendly native mobile app. Core SAP SLCM processes are kept intact and innovation has been driven via the SAP Cloud Platform.

Mobile campus app for students at KAUST university in Saudia Arabia
With the new campus app students can check offered courses, build their schedule for the semester, check transcripts, receive alerts and push notifications.

This strategic project in the context of the SAP and Apple partnership followed the design-led development paradigm.

After defining the scope and screen design with experts from Apple and SAP Design at the Apple Enterprise Design Lab in Cupertino, California, related implementation and realization has been driven via KAUST’s participation in the Customer Care program for the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS.

Based on the fruitful 3-days “project acceleration workshop” onsite at KAUST with a clear definition of screen flow, data modeling, architecture and project set up the actual implementation project has been kicked off in October 2018 and has started the productive roll out in April 2019.

“It’s been an amazing experience realizing the digitalization of the students’ academic life based on a trusted collaboration between students, IT experts from KAUST and SAP coaches leveraging the power of the SAP Cloud Platform, its mobile services and the SAP and Apple partnership,” emphasizes Jo Weilbach, VP & Head of the SAP Cloud Platform Customer Office.

Digital Experience: More to Come

Ideas for scenarios contributing to the ambitious goals of KAUST often come from design thinking workshops.

‘Solutions are better when they are user-driven, to deliver superior solutions, less cost of change and overall acceptance,” says Rajneesh Pandey, Manager ADM Service Automation & Collaboration. For this kind of workshops, KAUST invites members of the community and discusses pain points, requirements, ideas and possible solutions.

As part of enhancing digital experience, KAUST IT will continue enhancements to add more services on ‘My Academia’ app and co-develop apps based on the SAP CP SDK for Android. More initiatives on digital experiences are being worked out for realizing the digital campus

“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 Abdulmajeed Serajuddin. “The IT and business services that we will provide with our native Apple apps will give us a leading role among universities worldwide.”

Top image via KAUST