Cloudy With a Chance of ERP –Ellucian, Oracle, Workday + Customer Panels

by Tom Chambers

The Higher Education User Group welcomed back attendees in-person to its annual flagship conference, Alliance, last month in Seattle, WA. After taking a two-year hiatus due to the global situation, the event felt different, but in a good way.

My inaugural year as the exhibits and sponsorship manager for the Alliance Conference was in Seattle back in 2016. That year, we were an independent user group focused on PeopleSoft and Oracle. The center of our exhibitor area included a 30’x30’ Oracle booth. This year, many things were different, but some remained the same. The HEUG booth now center stage, and the exhibitor area showcased solutions from ALL walks of ERP to include Oracle, Ellucian and Workday.

The HEUG’s mission is to be the one organization your team can rely on for help to run all of your campus’ administrative and IT systems. To uphold our objective, we went straight to the source to solve today’s pressing issues our membership faces. We asked Oracle, Ellucian and Workday to share their vision for the future of their ERP environment, what it looks like moving into the future and to share how change is possible in the cloud. Each company presented for two hours, followed by a one hour customer panel. The event, aimed at organizational leaders, drew 60 members in attendance.

After the two day event, I noticed several similarities between the three presentations. One, the cloud transformation regardless of technology will require your organization to completely rethink your current business process. Two, these companies are investing in making the experience as “Amazon” like as possible, meaning that all three are heavily focused on the ease of use for the functional user. Three, these backend systems typically don’t provide substantial ROI, but are a necessity to run your campus.

I asked some other folks that attended for their “hot take” below:

“This two-day session provided essential information to any executive looking to compare ERP platforms. The sessions examined the competing design and approach to addressing the needs of an integrated Student Information System, HCM, and financial systems. Follow-up discussions with current customers about their experience with the products and vendors provided a wealth of information on structuring contracts and getting the best services available. The time was well spent.”

Michael Russel, CIO
Virginia Community College System
HEUG President

“This event was a perfect example of the power of the HEUG. In addition to deep diving with each of the vendors and their approach to supporting higher education, the dedicated vendor-free time allowed for frank and honest conversations about the TRUE costs/pain points/value-add and lessons learned from our colleagues who have already ventured down the ERP-cloud route we will all eventually be moving down. I especially found the resourcing and staffing implications to be very thought provoking and helped me in thinking of what the future will look like and what changes we need to start making sooner than later.”

Jason Wenrick, Executive Director
California State University Chancellor’s Office
Past HEUG President

“ERP systems in higher education continually change due to enhancements, optional products, and potential opportunities to jump to new platforms. Each of these options brings a myriad of opportunities and challenges, and HEUG provided the perfect opportunity to learn from the leading ERP vendors about their platforms. In addition, the informal discussions without the vendors present provided a chance to understand the true costs and potential issues. As an Ellucian Banner customer, it was great to hear about other vendors, but it was a rare opportunity to hear about my ERP. I saw things in the presentation not in use at my institution, learned about their roadmap, and began to understand new releases to come. Thanks to HEUG, I walked away with a vision of what could be!”

Joy Hatch, Vice President for IT/CIO
Fairmont State University
HEUG Board Member

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