La Trobe University Embraces Simplicity of SAP Cloud and SAP HANA to Better Support Students and Staff

October 20, 2014 by SAP News 0

University first organisation globally to adopt SAP Simple Finance in the cloud, first in Australia to deploy SAP Student Life Cycle Management – with aim to deliver on “Future-Ready Strategic Plan.”

MelbourneSAP Australia today announced that La Trobe University has chosen SAP Simple Finance and SAP Student Lifecycle Management to support its “Future-Ready Strategic Plan.”

The intensified relationship with SAP is in direct support of La Trobe’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.

Vice Chancellor and President of La Trobe University, John Dewar said, “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,” said John Dewar, president and vice chancellor, La Trobe University. “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 organization will be able to focus on the most essential tasks and get the job done in real-time.

We must create nimbleness in our organization through the application of lean principles and delivery of instant insight across all our information. SAP has helped deliver in all these dimensions so far and we are very much looking forward to our continued strong partnership.”

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 and help the university transform its business.

The SAP Student Lifecycle Management implementation, 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.

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.

“While La Trobe’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,” said Ged Doyle, Executive Director and Chief Information Officer at La Trobe.

“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.”

Through integration with its existing SAP Human Capital Management and SAP ERP applications, La Trobe’s staff now have a single source of the truth and no longer need to recreate data in disparate systems or dump validated data into spreadsheets for reporting. They are also able to monitor the progression of processes through automated workflows and save significant time by no longer reconciling data manually.

“In partnership with SAP, we are delivering on a digital strategy that has allowed us to eliminate in-house legacy systems and countless hours of support effort. More importantly La Trobe is simplifying work for our staff so they can focus on supporting students and alumni while at the same time creating a technology environment to support the ever increasing digital needs of our students, wherever and whenever they want it,” Doyle said.

SAP Cloud powered by SAP HANA to further support La Trobe’s digital transformation

Mirroring the social and economic environment in which all postsecondary institutions now operate, information technology is woven throughout La Trobe’s roadmap.

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.

“Our move to the cloud removes considerable on-premise complexity from our environment. But what is really exciting is our ability to have visibility and insight into data that was previously not possible,” Doyle added.

Additionally, La Trobe undertook a pilot project to understand the viability and performance of SAP HANA when applied to the large data sets vital to research programs within its “Future-Ready Strategic Plan.” Through the application of SAP HANA, the initial pilot, which processed massive amounts of data related to vehicle collision detection, reduced report processing time from four weeks to just 3.5 seconds. La Trobe is now exploring extending this platform to five data-intensive Research Focus Areas (RFAs).

“La Trobe is significantly simplifying its business through true digital transformation – for the ultimate benefit of its students,” said Andrew Barkla, President and Managing Director of SAP Australia and New Zealand. “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.”

“Through the vision, insight and drive of Ged Doyle, La Trobe provides a trailblazing example of a recurring theme we see with our most advanced university customers: They want to lay a flexible, open-ended operational foundation for the future while protecting the value in their existing IT investments,” said Malcolm Woodfield, global vice president, Industry Business Solutions, Higher Education and Research, SAP. “Beyond operations, La Trobe is alongside some of the world’s leading research institutions in deploying the SAP HANA platform to speed data analysis in advanced research.”

“La Trobe is realising continuous business benefit through SAP,” Doyle said. “The opportunities are overwhelming and exciting, helping us to foster innovation but also keeping us grounded and connected with our communities across all our regions. We will continue to maintain focus on students, research and creating nimbleness and flexibility in order to deal with the changing higher education landscape.”

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