Low-cost, ongoing ‘do-it-yourself‘ change capabilities
Agile, flexible reporting capabilities
$1 million in Accumulated savings so far
A system that supports users, with differing roles and frequently changing needs
Like all under-graduate and post-graduate universities worldwide, Cranfield is experiencing massive change from multiple directions: rising student tuition fees, escalating external funding requirements, new hardware and software-related technology needs, management/process re-organizations and increasing budget/economic pressures. Also, like most academic institutions, the technology requirements range from staff-facing to student facing, spanning the spectrum of financials, HR, payroll, facilities management and student records. This means that Cranfield University requires an enterprise software backbone that can support a number of different users, with differing roles and frequently changing needs.
Ian Sibbald, Director of Finance for Cranfield University and a management staff member for 18 years, tells a tale of his experiences with IT software vendors: “In the first IT scenario that I experienced for almost a decade here, we had adopted a best of breed approach for Finance, Human Resources, Student Records and Estate (also called Facility) requirements. Our Finance system alone required 10-20 days per year of quite costly IT consultants to implement the various technology, management or operational changes we needed.”
Unit4 Business World does not require software recoding for the majority of University changes required, and Cranfield University‘s IT and business staff can bypass the need for expensive external IT consultants.
“It‘s impossible to understate the massive changes we‘ve been through in the past five or six years alone,“ Mr. Sibbald says. “Yet, even beyond the scope of mandatory financial, regulatory or economic change components supported by Unit4 Business World, the solution helps us to support our own internal process reviews. For example, if the head of a department leaves, we can take the opportunity to review the entire set of operational processes that we’ve created in that department, and support those changes easily with Business World. In other words, we can go far beyond the typical dynamics of a headcount replacement, and we can support ongoing improvement opportunities.“ Supported by Business World, Cranfield University was also able to evaluate and undertake a major campus consolidation initiative six years ago. At the time, Cranfield had three campuses and decided to close one and move all the academic activities back to the Cranfield Campus. All of this was easily done using the Business World ERP solution, leaving just the physical building work and moves to be completed.
Unit4 Business World’s front-end reporting is used by a wide variety of Cranfield staff without assistance; via easily-labelled data entry selections and delivery options.
“What may sound fundamental isn‘t necessarily so,“ says Mr. Sibbald. “But since I‘ve used a variety of systems I can safely say that end user reporting typically requires escalation to financial or IT people. With A Unit4 Business World, a cost center is called a cost center, a project is called a project, etc. The ways that you can access the required information and deliver the reports is fantastic: using any device, from any location and at any time.