Is it possible that in this day and age, at an Ivy League University, an internal process can consist of a combination of Excel spreadsheets, paper forms, emails, and bits of SQL script? The short answer is yes. And, this kind of situation is more widespread than you may think. I’ll be at Alliance 2018 on March 26th, presenting the benefits of Reporting as a Service (RaaS). It’s the type of solution that can help Higher Ed institutions turn these kinds of disjointed operations into simple, stress-free procedures.
Reporting is a good example of the type of process that can become unmanageable. It’s an issue for many institutions because user needs have outpaced system capabilities. As a result, administrators, faculty and support staff find shortcuts outside unwieldy system-wide applications. Notably by downloading data directly into Excel and manipulating it. This is how inefficiencies begin to accumulate. Users looking to create reports, dashboards, or schedules need a quick solution. However, quick fixes don’t address system-wide inefficiency and even end up contributing to it.
A built-in Application Development Tool
If the institution uses an Oracle Database, it has a built-in solution to these issues. Oracle Application Express (APEX) comes with the Oracle database and is covered by the database license, so essentially, it’s free. If the development team has some knowledge of it and PL/SQL programming language, it becomes a formidable tool against Institutional inefficiency. We came across a similar situation with one of our recent customers, the above mentioned Ivy-League University. One of my co-presenter at Alliance 2018, Christian Laroque, Director of Business Development at Insum had the privilege of helping them improve their salary increase administration process.
To describe it briefly to you, this University’s IT department had to improve the process that leads to inputting approved staff salary increases into their PeopleSoft system. Consequently, they had to backtrack through a meandering collection of steps and approvals and turn them into a streamlined, trackable and reportable procedure. Its parameters had to be easily configurable by the finance staff. It also had to be user-friendly enough for the 100 or so department administrators. This was particularly important given that it is a cyclical process that only comes around once a year. The ultimate goal was to shorten the salary-increase cycle and make it less painful for all involved.
An elegant solution
Using Oracle APEX, Insum helped the University create an elegant, graphical management tool that could accept review input from the PeopleSoft system and display it back to the Admins who could then use it to establish salary increases. The new system also allows them to accommodate changes to staff, the addition of new staff, and staff leaving. These kinds of dynamic changes could never have been possible in the past.
Learn more through our case study
We captured this real-world example in our latest case-study, which I’ll have on hand with at Alliance 2018. Be sure to come and pick up a copy. It’s a textbook example of what a Rapid Application Development tool like APEX and some expert advice can do.
And, for a higher education institution striving to bring its students to the cutting edge of their fields, I’d say it’s quite an appropriate solution.
See us at Alliance 2018!
I’d love to talk to you about what APEX and Insum can do for your institution. So, come and see us March 26th, at session number 5327.