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Next ERP for Institutions

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Beas Dev Ralhan, CEO, Next Education talks about the critical role of ERP in Campus management. In  conversation with Pragya Gupta

How does Education ERP revolutionise campus management?
The advent of Education ERP will usher in efficiency, transparency and quick scalability in campus management. It will redefine the way the schools are managed by making it easier for them to perform their day-to-day school management activities. However, its most revolutionary impact lies in the fact that it will unshackle the school management and the teachers from the day-today administrative tasks so that they have more time in hand to focus on their core objective of imparting knowledge to the students.

How is the market for Education ERP in India?
There is a growing need across all institutes to use technology not just in delivering education through digitised content but also in implementing an ERP solution that helps them manage the campuses in a cost-effective and efficient way. With the increasing number of big corporate houses entering in the education sector, the school management process itself has undergone a paradigm shift in the last few years. Most importantly, a lot of the best practices are being implemented to optimise the resources available at the school and implementing an ERP solution is one of these best practices. Further, we observe that there is in increasing pressure that the schools face these days from the new generation of parents and students who are themselves technology savvy and expect the schools to have systems and process that makes it easier for them to communicate, access information or track the performance of their wards without having to make a physical visit to the school to meet the teachers.
According to the latest report by Gartner, SaaS based ERP solution is expected to grow at 28 percent CAGR in India and with NextERP solution we will be providing a comprehensive yet customizable solution that meets the expectations of the education sector in India.

What are your USPs over others existing players in this domain
• NextERP is a Cloud-based ERP solution that provides anytime, anywhere access and also unmatched data privacy and security features unlike the other offline ERP solutions present in the market.
• Highly customisable and flexible solution to meet the exact requirements of the school.
• Well researched implementation process and a dedicated support system.
• A product that is supported by the strong fundamentals of the Next Education group, which is solely focused on the school education sector and drawing from its experience of having its various products installed in 5000+ schools and used by over 10 million students in India.

Using ERP has been a great difficulty for education sector and this is the reason many have discontinued the use. How do you address this challenge?
We agree that despite the strong aspiration of the schools and colleges to implement an ERP system a lot of them have failed to do so. Our experience has also taught us that implementing an ERP solution in a school is very different than implementing it at enterprises in any other sector. The crux of the problem lies in the fact that the transition is tough for members of the school staff who have been following a particular system for years (even decades in some cases) and have got used to a particular way of functioning. Further, some schools have the aspiration but not necessarily the infrastructure to implement ERP effectively in their day-to-day operations.
We recognise these challenges and have also successfully overcome in a number of schools across India.Some steps that we have taken to overcome this challenge are:
Feasibility Study: Just 50 percent of all schools that come to us with their inquiry about an ERP solution pass our NextERP Feasibility Test that we conduct before we begin any implementation project. For schools those are not able to meet our strict parameters that define the school’s readiness for a SaaS-based ERP solution we provide the feedback and request them to get back to us once they fulfil the requirements. This honest approach ensures that our conversion ratio and longevity of the relationships is far better than our peers and also the schools receive a clear feedback on the pre-implementation requirements of an ERP solution.
Sound Implementation Process: The first three months are critical and we take every care to ensure that we make the transition as smooth as possible for the schools. Our ERP consultants are dedicated to the schools during this phase and they are well trained not just on the product and technical skills but also on soft skills to be able to manage and overcome conflicts, resistance and fear that sometimes besot the end users when migrating to a new system. Even after the implementation there is a weekly followup by ERP consultants for two months.

Return on investment it offers to institutions
We are now in an age of tight budgets and reducing overheads. Gone are the days when one could run large labour intensive systems and hope to deliver substantial results. NEXTERP is an ERP solution, which helps you get the best results from existing processes. As it is a webbased application, it can be accessed from anywhere and you can effectively manage your workforce to increase productivity.
>>Little or no capital investment to get started
>>Very high return on investment, increases year-on-year
>>Eliminates 80 percent of the paperwork
>>No extra administrative overhead for maintenance of NEXTERP
>>Cut downs unnecessary and extra manpower resources
>>Saves a lot of time for each and every stakeholder (administration, staff, students, parents) (Effective utilization of time = More productivity)
>>Streamlines the entire operations and functions thus increasing the overall productivity and efficiency (More productivity=More value to your money)
>>Enhances the brand value of your institution thus resulting in higher enrolment of students

What are the type of the ERP solutions available for schools and Higher Education. How do you customise them?
We currently provide ERP solutions just for the K-12 sector. Our functional team interacts with the key stakeholders and users in the school to understand the requirements and create a project plan which gives detailed scope, estimation on manpower, commercials and delivery timelines. Once the project plan is approved by the customer, we start the customisation process. The complete process will be managed with a detailed project tracker, escalation matrix, defect reporting process, QC reports and User Acceptance process.

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