Education Technology

9 Ways Higher Education is Changing How it Does Business

Posted by  Jami Morshed

Research recently commissioned by Unit4 among more than 2,000 full- and part-time students showed that 73 percent of students recommend their university reviews and changes its digital strategy for student administration. Around one-third of students feel student administration systems don’t meet their expectations, making them less likely to recommend the institution. This research confirms our commitment to deliver the most innovative, outstanding student management solutions we are able to.

Here are 9 ways our customers are using Unit4 solutions to support their own innovation and evolve their business processes.

1. Campus modernization Reykjavik University is Iceland’s largest private institution for higher education, a dynamic international university with around 4,000 students. They recently upgraded their internal network to prepare for Internet of Everything and BYOD for students. Now staff is reviewing and redesigning all workflow and processes related to student lifecycle management and teaching.

“We want to ensure our IT infrastructure delivers a great user experience by leveraging new digital technology advances,” said Heidar Jon Hannesson, the University’s Executive Director of IT. “We have very strong technical skills within the University and are excited to be working with Unit4 as one of the early adopters of the new system to achieve these changes instead of investing more in our present bespoke solution. We will be implementing Unit4 Student Management together with a new Learning Management System. We already use Unit4’s Business World ERP system and look forward to building a holistic solution upon the Unit4 platform for Education. We have found Unit4 to be very responsive and a good partner to work with.”

2. Consumer grade UX

Citing increased productivity and consumer-grade user experience, Louisburg College looks forward to strengthening its overall operations and student success with Unit4 Student Management.

“Unit4 Education Solutions has been our trusted software vendor for 15 years. We have been anxiously awaiting this next-generation student information system,” says Mark Joyner, CIO of Louisburg College. “We are looking at this strategic project as a way to strengthen our academic curriculum, improve student support services and upgrade our technology (with the help of a Title III Grant).”

3. Continuous innovation

Ontario’s University of Waterloo is globally recognized as a top research university, ranked in the top 25 in the world for mathematics and computer science (Quacquarelli Symonds). With more than 35,000 students and around 1,500 faculty members, there will be approximately 2,300 users of its ERP system. Waterloo joins other prestigious universities to adopt Unit4 Business World On! ERP, including Royal Roads, Robert Morris, Sodertorn and Oxford-Cambridge Universities.

“As one of the world’s top innovation universities we expect innovative enterprise systems,” says Bruce Campbell, Chief Information Officer at the University of Waterloo. “By moving to Business World On! in the cloud, we are looking forward to improving the user experience, transitioning from paper-based to electronic processes, and improving reporting and analytics.”

4. Maximized student success

Located in rural Texas, Vernon College serves 3,000 students through its diverse campuses. “Unit4 Student Management will give our students, faculty and staff the ability to interact with the college in all aspects of the student lifecycle to maximize student success,” said Dr. Dusty R. Johnston, President of Vernon College. “It will bring together registration from our five campuses and centers, enable students to see what courses they need to complete their credits, automate routine tasks for staff, and enable faculty to evaluate students’ needs.”

5. Consolidated, modern technology

Relay Graduate School of Education, headquartered in New York City, will replace several legacy systems with Unit4 solutions. They will consolidate all data and create a single, cloud-based modern interface for students, faculty and staff.

“By combining Unit4’s Business World On! and Student Management, Relay GSE will provide our users – from applicant to alumnus, from staff to faculty – a modern and integrated system that brings all functions of the student lifecycle together into one mobile-first solution,” says Edmund O'Neill, Relay GSE’s Director of Products.

6. Leadership

Paris-based NEOMA Business School’s philosophy is to embrace opportunities afforded by digital transformation. The School chose to implement a next-generation digital Student Management solution in order to secure its position as a leader in its field. It was also important to cater to the needs of an increasingly demanding student population that is used to a personal high-tech environment, by offering the same technical standards and user experience they have at home.

NEOMA is delivering on its reputation in the market as an innovator. This strategic choice will allow NEOMA to offer its various stakeholders (students, teachers, partners, employees) a unique user experience and increase the quality of service on a daily basis. “Running a digital leading-edge ERP solution while offering unparalleled quality of service in record time is our way of encouraging our staff to spend more time on projects that generate more added value for our students,” said Managing Director Frank Bostyn.

7. Strengthened communications

The Royal College of Music in the UK trains and nurtures gifted musicians from all over the world for international careers as performers, conductors and composers. As well as 850 students, the solution will be used by more than 50 staff including academics and professors. Its web interface and flexibility allow Student Management to be used seamlessly with the College’s virtual learning environment. Academics will be able to view and mark coursework in the virtual learning solution and automatically populate students’ records with the results, and students will be able to view progress online.

“We selected Unit4 Student Management because we want to communicate with our prospective and existing students on their terms, using digital technology,” said Elly Taylor, Academic Registrar at the Royal College of Music. “Managing campus life shouldn’t be an inconvenience. Student Management will provide a better student experience all-round through much easier two-way interaction.”

8. Strong partnerships

Swiss Education Group is an alliance of Switzerland’s leading hotel management institutions, with five schools spread over seven campuses, attended annually by over 6,500 students. SEG’s digital strategy aims to transform the educational experience for students, bringing the latest technological advances to the classroom and aligning education with the realities of the industry today.

“It was important to us that Unit4 was committed to supporting us through all stages of the implementation and beyond. We were not just looking for a vendor, but a business partner,” says SEG’s COO Ronan Fitzgerald. “We needed a system that can continually adapt to our strong student growth and support our expansion of programs, including shorter, non-traditional courses.”

9. Visible, accessible data

Kingston University in London, England was looking for a solution to improve financial insight, deliver timely and accurate data for students, enable employee development, and provide superb services to support research and enterprise funding. Their search ended at Unit4 Business World On!

Business World On! ERP will provide high visibility of core HR, Finance and Student Information Technology Systems (SITs) processes across all university business functions. It will also provide the organization with accurate, real-time data to improve day-to-day business management, manage staff effectively, and make informed budget and investment decisions.

“The education sector is going through enormous change and we are committed to improving our vital support services to enable our future success,” said Irene Bews, Director of Finance at Kingston University. “We were attracted to Unit4’s heritage in higher education but more importantly the joined up capability of its modern technology to support our employees. Business World On! will ensure that support service administration is minimized so our highly skilled professional staff are free to provide advice and support to the business, and that academic staff can dedicate more time to deliver a world class student experience.”


Transformation. Innovation. Visibility. Ability to change. These are the goals – or moreso the demands – of today’s higher education institutions. What do you see that higher education must aspire to?

Jami Morshed

Jami is vice president of global higher education at Unit4. My mission is to help colleges and universities improve student success and institutional effectiveness. I’m responsible for everything we do at the Unit4 Global Center of Excellence to help institutions prepare for the future through scalable and comprehensive software solutions that streamline and modernize core business processes while eliminating the burden of managing ever-changing technology.

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