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Universities Turn to Oracle for Web-based Services

DePaul University, George Fox University, and Australia's University of Ballarat, along with a dozen other colleges and universities, have gone public with recent implementations or upgrades of Oracle software. Providing off-campus access for students and staff appears to be a major factor in the adoption of Oracle's Web-based applications. The company was recently named to Gartner's Leaders Quadrant for higher education administrative suites, along with Datatel and Sungard Higher Education (Banner).

DePaul University in Chicago has upgraded to version 9.0 for Oracle's PeopleSoft Enterprise Campus Solutions, Enterprise Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Enterprise Human Capital Management. With the upgrade, DePaul has allowed its faculty and 23,000 students to access online self-service tools via the application's Faculty Center and Student Center to track grades, view course schedules, add and drop courses, and pay tuition. DePaul has also developed a CRM program, including a case management system that has helped reduce student wait times for various tasks such as registering and resolving financial aid questions. Due to integration between the CRM and student systems, DePaul faculty and staff can select contact lists and distribute messages, such as class cancellation notices. With the upgraded human resources application, DePaul staff can process position and budget changes online.

"With the new software, our students, faculty and staff have easy-to-use, Web-based applications that help them quickly and easily access information," said Robert McCormick, director of information services. "Our upgrade to 9.0 has not only provided new features, but also helped ensure we stay current with technology to continue to operate efficiently in the future."

George Fox University, in Newberg, OR, worked with systems integration firm MIS to deploy PeopleSoft Enterprise Financial Management, Enterprise Human Capital Management, Enterprise Recruiting and Admissions, and Enterprise Campus Community. The deployment, which took about seven months, will replace an unsupported SunGard Higher Education application. The new applications have allowed the school to gain more granular reporting and expanded its data sharing capabilities. Because the programs are Web-based, regional campuses are able to participate in usage of the systems.

In the future, the university plans to leverage PeopleSoft Enterprise Portal to deliver its administrative applications via the Apple iPhone. George Fox U is an all-Apple campus. It provides Apple laptops to undergraduate students and recently created the Center for Mobile Computing to promote iPhone and other smartphone application development by students and faculty.

"As we continue to roll out PeopleSoft Enterprise applications, we are receiving tremendous feedback on their flexibility," said Greg Smith, CTO at George Fox U. "We look forward to maximizing our investment in Oracle software as well as working with Oracle on our iPhone application development projects."

The University of Ballarat, a regional Australian university with 24,000 students, implemented PeopleSoft Enterprise Campus Solutions 9.0 to support its expansion in international markets. The school, which installed the Web-based application with the help of Oracle Consulting in 18 months, provides self-service tools that often eliminate the need for students to be on campus to complete administrative tasks. The university, which also uses Oracle Database, Identity Management and Fusion Middleware, plans to implement PeopleSoft Enterprise Contributor Relations to support alumni outreach.

"Around 50 percent of our higher education students now come from outside Australia, making our business processes more complex," said Darren Holland, VP, student and learning support. "To support our students, we need an application that helps us positively impact the student lifecycle, with very little customization."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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