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Enterprise Resource Planning

2 Colleges to Pilot Collective ERP Program

A HESS Consortium project to build a shared ERP services model for private colleges and universities is now entering the pilot phase, led by two institutions: Saint Mary's College and Wheaton College. Through the HESS Collective ERP Program, the two colleges are kicking off planning and implementation for an Oracle Cloud rollout.

Last year, 29 HESS member colleges and universities formed the HESS Collective to find a cloud-native enterprise system solution that could be implemented by multiple institutions through a cooperative contract and single implementation partner. By March of this year, the collective had grown to 33 members and completed a 14-month evaluation process, selecting Oracle Cloud for Higher Education via the E&I Cooperative Services contract with Oracle partner Mythics. Drivestream, another Oracle partner, was chosen as the implementation partner. Now, 61 institutions are participating in the collective, and will have access to a full enterprise system including student information, recruitment, financial aid, student billing, finance, payroll, human capital management modules and more.

Saint Mary's College and Wheaton College took early leading roles in developing the goals of the program, according to a news announcement, and now will forge an implementation path for other HESS member institutions to follow. "I cannot stress enough the importance of the work Saint Mary's and Wheaton are doing in this next critical phase," said Keith Fowlkes, HESS Executive Director, in a statement. "Their founding work as pilot institutions in this ground-breaking program is paving the way for modern, affordable and effective enterprise system operations for private colleges and universities for the coming decades. Many other institutions will benefit from their foresight and innovation, as additional cohorts of HESS member institutions join these pioneers over the months and years ahead."

To provide implementation support across the collective, Drivestream is "helping to develop a best-practice framework, creating a common methodology, and compiling resources such as integration modules, reports, and training materials, that will help lower the cost of implementation for member institutions," the announcement said. In addition, a support network of institutions within the collective will "support and collaborate with each other in members' daily enterprise system operations, finding more cost-effective approaches by using the common platform and core framework, as well as by sharing implementation and operational resources (potentially including shared staff resources)."

"While the idea of sharing enterprise system resources across a multitude of independent institutions is not new, the advent of today's multi-tenant cloud-based systems coupled with the HESS Consortium's ingenuity in developing partner relationships and its vision of a grassroots efforts is a powerful combination," commented Gene Spencer, CIO of Ursinus College and HESS Collective Steering Committee member. "CFOs and CIOs alike will be naturally attracted to significant benefits that have been historically out of reach for colleges and universities of our size and character."

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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