Established in 1964, La Trobe University accommodates more than 32,000 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.
As a 54-year-old organisation, La Trobe University found some of its long-established systems were outdated and incapable of providing the mobility and flexibility required by students and staff in a modern, digital world.
“We were falling behind our competitors in that we hadn’t accelerated the digital outcome hindering the ability to serve more broadly across our student experience,” said Stuart Hildyard, Chief Information Officer at La Trobe University.
“Students were interacting with 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.
La Trobe University implemented TechnologyOne’s OneEducation SaaS solution to support its operational, strategic and educational requirements via a single, integrated platform.
“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,” Hildyard said.
“TechnologyOne’s OneEducation 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.”
The university went live with TechnologyOne’s Student Management SaaS solution 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.
“From our staff to our students, the shift to TechnologyOne SaaS has given everyone at La Trobe University a richer experience and we now have the opportunity to innovate” Hildyard said.
“Students now have access to a one-stop learning spot for all things student administrative, from any mobile device. It means they’re now enjoying the digital experience they expect from one of Australia’s leading universities, and can focus their time on the parts of university life they enjoy most, and not the admin.”
Hildyard added: “We moved to SaaS to gain access to a more robust and secure platform, minimise outages and maintenance that come with an on-premise solution, and deliver a cloud-first, mobile-first experience to our students.”
“By partnering with TechnologyOne, we were able to leapfrog the industry and become the first university in Australia to move our student management software to the cloud. We did something bold, and we’ve since seen other universities follow suit very quickly.”
We needed to improve productivity and efficiency - and the best way to do that was to deliver better, more timely information.
La Trobe University’s perspective
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.
In partnership with TechnologyOne, La Trobe University rolled out a Program to remove outdated systems, consolidate student management operations, and move from an on-premise environment to SaaS.
“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,” Hildyard said.
“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. We wanted the application-to-enrolment 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 assessment very streamlined.”
Spotlight on SaaS
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 and secure 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,” Hildyard said.
“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 paper-based 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 SaaS has given everyone at La Trobe University a richer experience.”
“By partnering with AWS, we are able to deliver La Trobe the ability to rapidly scale, and a superior student and staff experience to an on-premise environment," said Daniel Sultana, Director of TechnologyOne’s SaaS Platform.
Since 2016, La Trobe University has plans to continue to lead the way in the higher education sector, as it explores technologies such as blockchain and Artificial Intelligence 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,” Hildyard said.
"We’re interested in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence and the use of predictive analytics, so that we can make better decisions about our programs and enrich our students’ engagement through personalisation, 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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