Jim Milton, CEO, Campus Management, was in India last month to assess the potential of the Indian market. Excerpts from an interview with ENN
You were appointed as CEO of Campus Management two months back in August this year. Is this your first visit to India?
I have been to India with previous companies and it’s been years. I think India has made a lot of progress. I have been to Delhi, Pune, Mumbai and Bangalore in the past. This is the first country I visited after United States. In my first 30 days, I have learnt a lot about the product and the organisation. We have half of our employees in India. A large number of them are based in Bangalore. Other half is in United States. So India is a very important place as a lot of software work gets done here. India is the first international trip from Campus Management.
How is the campus management solution different from enterprise resource solution?
One part we offer in higher education is called students information system. We only do it for higher education. We are vertically-oriented and focussed on higher education. We have also constituted resource management system. It is fully integrated with SIS. The life cycle of a student in a traditional university is from the point where an institution reaches out to a prospective student, enrolment and ultimately the student becomes an alumni engaged in fund-raising. So we help facilitate that student life cycle offering. We can only do that if we have an equivalent of ERP plus CRM all-purpose built for a higher education market.
How does Campus Management see opportunities in ambitious ‘Digital India’ programme?
Any investment scenario here by the government would only enable and facilitate our mission in providing educational institutions different models of delivery; whether it is on campus or online or a hybrid of the two. We are good at enabling them. Overall opportunities in higher education in India are enormous. There is so much demand in India. By the way, it is a little different in United States. There is actually more supply in US than there is demand.
Will that invite more investment from global firms like Campus Management?
Yes. We have already made significant investment. We are working with a lot of higher educational institutions, done pilot programmes, engaged with the government, National Skill Development Corporation as well.
What is the business sense you get as you wind up your visit?
I am more bullish.
Is there a challenge in mindset of educators who administer institutions of higher learning in India to adopt technology to deliver education?
Yes. It is an issue everywhere in the world. I think it is a bigger issue in places like United States. If you had institutions which had done things the same way for a very long time as US, UK, it is hard for people to change. Opportunities here are not only in existing institutions but also in new institutions and new models of delivery being formed. We have customers who are developing online methods of learning and the new skilling initiative of the Indian government is another area of opportunity. There may be resistance but by and large institutions are moving forward.
What is your presence in higher education in India?
We are working with 30 universities in India.
Are you looking to expand to state universities?
State universities are authorising bodies. If we have to do automation, we need to do it at the college level and then at state level.