Driving Processes with ERP | digitalLEARNING Magazine
August 2013

Driving Processes with ERP

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Ecole Solutions offers a wide range of Technology Solutions that influence Teaching and Learning Delivery processes and therefore, result in improved learning outcomes. Venkatesh LS, Co-Founder and Director, Ecole Solutions Pvt Ltd, shares his views on ERP for campus management, challenges, new solutions, and much more… Excerpts:

Give us an overview of learning infrastructure solution with a special focus on Campus ERP.
The learning infrastructure in campuses today needs to cater to multiple needs of institutions. Besides the hard infrastructure of servers, PCs, interactive whiteboards and networks, the soft infrastructure is critical. On the one hand you have the Student Information System as a part of the student life cycle, which will give students, admitted into various programmes, access to their entire academic records including course registrations, timetable, attendance, exams, placements and finally stay in touch with the institution as an alumnus/a upon graduation. Then of course you have administrative processes that need to be streamlined so that process efficiencies can be achieved and decision making is made easier as real-time data will be available. This will also help with regulatory compliance. All this is achieved with an ERP designed using open-source components,tailor-made to suit the needs and pockets of Indian academic institutions. On the other hand, you need technologies to support and manage physical and digital libraries, eLearning course delivery, Tests and Exams and Language Labs. We, as a solution provider, implement all these different technologies to create a robust and sustainable learning infrastructure on Indian Campuses.

According to you what is the rate of acceptance of ERP in the Indian education system?
There is increasing awareness of the advantages of ERP in educational institutions. However, it requires a lot of commitment from the top management to make them successful. In the 80s and 90s institutions used to get applications developed through their Computer Science departments or as student projects. These experiments were short-lived as they created several disparate systems that would not talk to each other. Many new institutions that are coming up are showing interest in implementing ERP systems at an early stage to drive their processes, which is very encouraging.

What are the challenges and policy hiccups in the adoption of educational ERPs?
Because of several failed ERP implementations, institutions tend to be low on confidence. There is a need for evangelization as well as education to make ERP implementations successful. Since ERP implementations span across all departments, it is very important to take everybody on board and this can be achieved only by strong leadership at various levels.


“Because of several failed ERP implementations,institutions tend to be low on confidence. There is a need for evangelisation as well as education to make ERP implementations successful


What are the policy modulations and regulations needed for enabling further adoption of ERPs?
I Am not sure that policies can do much to change things but certainly organisations like UGC, AICTE, NAAC and other central and state government agencies involved in higher education can incentivise ERP implementation in Campuses with a view to bring in transparency and efficiency to the system.

Key features of Ecole Campus ERP Software

. A stable system that integrates all functions and activities of an institute on a single platform, helps reduce overall costs, and more effectively manage resources – financial, physical, and human capital.. A highly parameterised, scalable application that can adapt to changes even in basic institutional statutes, revisions in the curriculum and syllabus as well as fee structure.

. An integrated communication platform for internal and external stakeholders; viz: students, faculty, college administration, alumni and the corporate world.

Which are the leading educational institutes which have adopted your ERP solutions?
CampusLabs, the ERP that Ecole implements, has had many takers. Amongst them are institutions like IIIT (Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology)-Delhi; Kaziranga University, Jorhat; IFIM Business School, Bangalore; K J Somaiya Institute of Management Studies and Research, Mumbai; Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research, Mohali.

Which are the new solutions and services that you are planning to introduce in the learning space?
At Ecole Solutions, our focus will remain on providing quality solutions in the Education and Learning domain, both to academic institutions and businesses. Besides the Learning Infrastructure Solutions that I have talked about earlier, we have partnered with Bibliotheca Library RFID Systems AG, Switzerland to provide State-of-the-art RFID systems for automating Libraries. Besides this we have just announced a slew of services under the PrepMill brand that will focus on providing Prep Tests for students to prepare for campus placements and also offer courses and certification exams in the areas of Cloud Computing, Six Sigma, Business Analysis etc., in partnership with leading global organizations. These certifications will help students in enhancing their job prospects.

Give us an overview of the professional services introduced by ECOLE
Our Professional Services essentially supplement our solutions to make the implementations successful. They include Requirements Study and Gap Analysis, Pre-Implementation Consulting, Customization, Data Migration, Content Development for Learning and Assessments, Training and Managed Services including hosting.

Designed to be a completely modular suite of applications for customers to choose from, based on their needs, priorities and budgets, our Campus ERP automates all core administrative functions and increases student services.

The modules include:

Registration
Fees
Administration
Staff Appraisal
Examinations
Web Portal
Transportation
Placements
Admission
Financial Management
Hr And Payroll
Scheduler
Asset Inventory
Hostel
Alumni

What are your future plans of expansion?
The goal is to scale the operations in terms of acquiring more customers and replicating the success we have achieved with our current customers. Although we are based in Bangalore, we have customers in as many as 15 states across the country. We intend to expand geographically with offices in other parts of the country to support our customers and build partnerships in other countries, especially the Middle East and other Asian countries. Currently, we provide services in the Assessments space to companies in the US and UK and intend to expand that as well.

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