Sydney college revamps student system

The International College of Management Sydney has taken the first steps towards swapping out its ageing student management system in order to automate manual processes and allow students to deal with the college online.

The International College of Management Sydney has taken the first steps towards swapping out its ageing student management system in order to automate manual processes and allow students to deal with the college online.

Two weeks ago the college began to implement Oracle's PeopleSoft student management system, according to managing director Frank Prestipino, with the help of implementation partner Tripoint.

The college is replacing a home-grown system that had been heavily modified over the years, but like all home-grown IT and because the number of people who know about the system was small the risks were high when things went wrong, according to Prestipino.

"There are few people we could rely on for support," he said.

Prestipino didn't believe that the college would be losing out on any functionality, but it would be gaining the ability to do many things automatically that were previously done by hand, with the system integrating with the college's financial systems and allowing the college to enrol students online.

To conduct reporting currently, college staff manually battle with spreadsheets. "It's a huge burden on us now," Prestipino said.

The Oracle implementation will give the college the ability to issue reports from options on a menu. This means that staff who had previously been tasked to data entry and back office work will be able now to handle support and inquiries, giving a better service to students, according to Prestipino.

"We think we can deploy staff in a far more value adding way," he said.

Students will also be able to look at lesson transcripts online.

The college will use both the old and new system in its September term, with the view of only using the new system in the new year, Prestipino said.

Oracle had been chosen not only because the product was based on previous experience and best practice in universities — meaning that the college only had to tweak it for things peculiar to its organisation — but also because of the range of Oracle's products, which would allow the college to adopt new solutions in the future, such as CRM or business intelligence.

"Other vendors didn't have the range," Prestipino said.

Another reason for the choice was trust, he said. He trusted in Oracle and Tripoint's relationship, which he didn't think would descend into finger pointing.

"They both had skin in the game," he said.