Uni gets $21m system to manage students

The University of Otago is part-way through a $21 million project to replace its "ageing" student management system, with a new streamlined system allowing students to fill out more forms online.

The university's student management system is the main information technology (IT) system it uses to manage administrative processes throughout "the student life cycle" - from enrolments through to examinations and graduation.

Otago University director of academic services John Price said the $21 million project would replace its "ageing" and largely in-house-developed system with a more streamlined "off-the-shelf" system.

International information technology company Tribal, which was used by many of the world's most prestigious universities, had been chosen as the supplier of the new system, Mr Price said.

Asked why the cost of the cost of the project was so high, he said: "The level of investment is in line with national and international experience for this type of project.

"The student management system project involves a significant investment in software, hardware and resources to scope, configure and implement significant IT and business changes across the university, over a number of years."

The new system would be able to meet the growing expectation from students that services should be available online.

"Looking to the future, it will also provide us with the platform to allow services to be delivered using other communication methods, such as mobile devices," he said.

There would also be "significant" benefits for university staff.

"It will provide staff with the tools and information they need to do their jobs more effectively, with less duplication of effort and data. It will also give them a 360-degree view of their students and their progress," he said.

Stage one, which involved the installation of new software and hardware to replace existing paper and online application forms with a single online application process, was completed in August.

It was hoped the entire project, to be completed over four main stages, would be finished within the next year and a-half.

- vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz