Established in 1964, La Trobe University accommodates more than 36,000 students at its campuses across Victoria, including Australia’s largest metropolitan campus in Melbourne.
The top-ranking university has a strong teaching and research profile, and is focused on providing an outstanding learning experience for students. One way it achieves this is through application of the latest enterprise technology available to the higher education sector.
Throughout its long-term partnership with TechnologyOne, La Trobe University has streamlined its disparate systems onto one platform, eliminated paperbased processes, and mobilised student learning. Recently, the university moved from on-premise to Software as a Service (SaaS), claiming to be the first university in the southern hemisphere to go live with a student management solution on the cloud.
As a 50-year-old organisation, La Trobe University found some of its long established systems were outdated and therefore incapable of providing the mobility and flexibility required by students and staff in a modern, digital world.
La Trobe University’s Executive Director and Chief Information Officer, Peter Nikoletatos, said: “We were falling behind our competitors in the marketplace in that we hadn’t accelerated our programs’ abilities to serve more broadly across our student experience”.
“Before, students would see several different systems throughout their experience, and we wanted to consolidate that data down to one platform and make it available from mobile devices. We also had a lot of paper-based, complex administrative procedures that we wanted to simplify.
“Implementing TechnologyOne’s Student Management solution and taking it to the cloud provided a unique opportunity for us to leapfrog the industry and end up with a sophisticated solution - one that had all the modules - rather than play a slow catch up.”
In partnership with TechnologyOne, La Trobe University rolled out ‘Program Phoenix’: a program to remove outdated systems, add new modules, consolidate all operations on TechnologyOne’s Student Management solution, and move from onpremise to SaaS.
The university went live with TechnologyOne’s Student Management solution on the cloud in December 2016, providing users with a secure, integrated experience and data that is accessible anywhere, any time and on any device.
The solution has enabled La Trobe University to save on hardware and utility costs, freed up staff time by reducing manual processes, and provided students with an improved learning experience.
“TechnologyOne’s solution has simplified operations and introduced an enhanced digital experience, one that takes a product that’s been developed with universities in mind and fine-tuned to enhance the student experience,” said Mr Nikoletatos.
“We’ve bought into a robust, mobile solution that has made things very convenient for students and reduced paper-based processes for administrative staff, enabling them to focus on value-adding activities."
We needed to improve productivity and efficiency - and the best way to do that was to deliver better, more timely information.
La Trobe University hadn’t invested in its core systems for 10 years, and was looking to radically transform its business to be not only current, but ‘top of the class’ in the higher education sector.
“We embarked on an overarching journey right across the board to move to a different operating model, one where the supplier provided SaaS, where you don’t have to worry about software updates,” said Mr Nikoletatos.
“The reality was we would actually have a product within 18 months that would normally have taken us years to deploy in the way that we were previously maintaining the product.
“We wanted to eliminate paper-based processes and replace them with a digital experience via our enterprise solutions. We wanted the application process to be very easy, so students could enter information really simply into our system. For example, if a student had previously done a course, we wanted to easily pull that and attach it to their application, making that application very streamlined.
“Students now have access to a one stop learning spot for all things student administrative, from any mobile device. For staff, we were seeking to simplify our administrative procedures. The administration process is now much more intuitive.”
La Trobe University’s motto is ‘Whoever seeks shall find’, a maxim it has lived by throughout its history, from being a leader in arts and humanities to being a pioneer in the realm of technology, claiming to be the first Australian university to take its student management system to the cloud.
“La Trobe University has deliberately been proactive as the pioneering organisation to partner with TechnologyOne. We are leading the higher education sector in being the first to put its student system in the cloud in its entirety,” said Mr Nikoletatos.
“We have done something bold, and imagine other universities will be following suit very quickly.”
La Trobe University moved to SaaS to reduce its IT footprint, enable scalability, receive automatic software updates, and provide students and staff with a flexible, highly available platform.
“Moving TechnologyOne’s solution to the cloud has given us a more robust platform; it has minimised outages or maintenance that come with an on-premise solution. We now deliver an off-premise solution, a cloud first, mobile first experience.
“Since going live, we’ve experienced immediate improvements in managing scholarships, going from paper-based to a single electronic source with workflow process, which makes it very simple to manage research graduates. We’ve converted paperbased processes to digital, and we no longer have to worry about software updates - with SaaS, they just happen seamlessly.
“From our staff to our students, the shift to TechnologyOne’s SaaS has given everyone at La Trobe University a richer experience.”
Beyond Program Phoenix, La Trobe University has plans to continue leading the way in the higher education sector, as it explores technologies such as blockchain and predictive analytics to continue enhancing the student experience.
“Blockchain is a secure way of transacting records, quite prevalent now in the finance industry, but it’s not quite there in higher education yet,” said Mr Nikoletatos.
"We’re interested in blockchain and predictive analytics, so that we can make better decisions about our programs and our students’ engagement, which will in turn help us continue to improve the student experience. "
About La Trobe University
Established in 1964, La Trobe University accommodates more than 36,000 students at its campuses across Victoria, including Australia’s largest metropolitan campus in Melbourne. The university is known for its strength in the area of arts and humanities: it was ranked in the top 200 international universities for arts and humanities in the 2014 QS World University Rankings.
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