Queen Mary Uni ditches Excel, makes student plans with IBM

Spreadsheet system put out to grass

Spreadsheet system put out to grass

Queen Mary University of London has bought a resource planning tool from IBM Cognos to help it predict the effect of student numbers on teaching requirements.

silicon.com Public Sector

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The software replaces a system based on a set of 64 Excel spreadsheets and will have a significant effect on financial planning for the university, according to its head of business systems, Ken Burt.

Burt said: "With the rapid expansion on students, the old system had become too slow and unwieldy to use. With the variations in numbers and space, planning would be a nightmare without a powerful resource management tool."

The university holds courses for 15,000 students every year with a total budget of £220m. Burt told silicon.com the system will significantly reduce the time taken to analyse data around the allocation of classes, allowing the institution to more effectively predict students' teaching requirements and plan for building new classrooms.

The implementation has completed its design phase and Burt expects the software to be tested and live by April 2009, so the university can use it to plan for the next influx of students the following autumn.