Education ERP for Higher Education Institutes: Saudi Arabia Edition
Enterprise Resource Planning or ERP software is an industry term for an app suite, a multi-module software that is designed to serve and support multiple business functions. An ERP solution can mean many different things based on its application in various industries. And hence, it becomes very important to map your expectations from the software with its core functionalities, and features. Today, we will discuss what ERP means for a higher education institute.
The history of ERP solutions in Saudi Arabia
ERP solutions are very dynamic. Not just in the features and functionality, but it has a very interesting story of its inception. It is an app suite, which constantly evolved with the changing needs of the world. It is one of the oldest solutions which is still blooming and metamorphosing as the world demands.
It all started in the 1960s, the economy was great, and most industry sectors were expanding. This is when the manufacturing industry realized they are lacking a solution that provides inventory control. This gave birth to Material Requirement Planning-I, the first-of-its-kind software and a forefather of enterprise resource planning. With time, the software evolved and by the 1990s, it was extending its services to the areas such as Finance, Human Resources, Project Management, Engineering, and more.
The solution was efficient in addressing the needs of various industries and streamlining their operations to offer cost-effective solutions. Although it was a risky implementation, industries continued to rely on this amazing solution.
Looking at the product’s success in the west, many industries in Saudi Arabia too implemented the technology to achieve global expansion. The technology even disrupted the education sector and by 2007, the Saudi Arabian government started implementing ERP solutions in public and private education organizations.
ERP in higher education
ERP in higher education institutes is widely used by corporations. It has played a significant role in implementing a digital ecosystem that gives better scope for monitoring and administrating the institutes. It allows tracking of various operations such as human resource management, resource planning and implementation, student information management, and financial management.
Despite the challenges of implementing ERP systems, organizations in the corporate sector have highly benefitted from the financial competitiveness they get on implementing the solution. Although, it is only a recent phenomenon to see ERP making its way to the nonprofit sector as well. The trend picked up when higher education institutes realized the benefits of using an ERP system — it made management, financial and administrative tasks very easy.
Implementing an ERP solution in a higher education institute becomes rather difficult than its implementation in a corporate because of the unique organizational model and core processes. A higher education system supports academic growth and has a set of activities that did not initially lie in the core capabilities of an ERP solution. It is more about scheduling the learning process and advising students on their performance and engagement. Furthermore, admissions, examinations, and resource planning & implementation are very unique aspects in and of an education institute.
Even though the implications of using an ERP system in a higher education institute and in any other organization have shown a positive effect, it is still important to address the unique aspects of an educational system to not make any mistakes in the implementation process. Also, it helps us understand how beneficial are ERP software over legacy systems and what value they bring in.
Modules for ERP in Higher Education
Quoting from Kassel 2009 Report:
“As scientific and teaching enterprises become ‘big business and universities’ throughout the world struggle to revamp or reorganize their identity within an era focused on “commercializing higher education”
“Software vendors are increasingly viewing the education market as a lucrative “industry” potentially worth several hundred billion dollars in revenue .”
Education ERP is a very popular technology that is here to revolutionize the internal and external operations of an education organization. It transforms the way an institute — manages, administers, and monitors. However, it is important to note that education systems around the world differ, and meanwhile, most education technologies are a good fit for institutes in Europe, and America, but they fail to successfully implement their product in the Arab world.
It is very important that an education institute partners with a vendor that has an in-depth understanding of the higher education system. A vendor that has a very futuristic vision about the software and meets your expectations in the short and long term. It is also important that they provide constant updates to the software and roll out features that are more efficient and effective in the working of an education institute.
In short, it is important that educational institutes are partnering with vendors that do not believe the implementation of the software in the organization was their end goal. Rather they should be innovating constantly and gaining a grip over the market with forwardism. The product should show functional efficiencies that define the processes and operations of an education organization better.
- Functional Requirements of a higher education institute in Saudi Arabia from ERP
|1.||Communication – internal & external||15.||Timetable Management|
|2.||Staff profiling||16.||Course Resource Management|
|3.||Student Information Management||17.||Assignment Management|
|5.||Alumni Management||19.||Ad-hoc Reporting|
|6.||Feedback System||20.||Admission Management|
|7.||Transportation Management||21.||Payroll Management|
|8.||Curriculum & Lesson Planning||22.||Reports & Analytics|
|9.||Staff & Student Attendance Management||23.||Human Resource Management|
|10.||Performance Analysis||24.||Placement Management|
|11.||Academic Calendar Management||25.||Asset Management|
|12.||Examination Management||26.||Online Examinations|
|13.||Library Management||27.||Online Education & Blended Learning|
- Additional Requirements of a higher education institute in Saudi Arabia from an ERP
|S.No.||Add. Functionality||S.No.||Add. Functionality|
|4.||Data Security & Management||8.||Scalability|
Importance of Implementation Strategy
Implementation of the product is key to success. If you fail to follow the project management principles, even a great product may not be meeting your expectations. You need to understand, having a robust and feature-rich product is only a part of the dream, to make it come alive you need an implementation process that provides you more control over the product. Hence strategic software implementation is important.
- Business requirements & software configuration
- Testing & Refinement
- Training & Deployment
- Maintenance and Enhancements
We are not denying the fact that there are a thousand education ERP solutions available on the market and each is unique in its own sense. But, it is not a competition of what is the best education ERP solution. You must stick to the goal, and define your own priorities while hunting for the right education ERP solution.
Education organizations in Saudi Arabia have a very unique education system and they need specific academic functionalities to meet their goal. Also, it is not merely about acquiring an ERP application. It is important that the app provides you with tailored solutions to address your needs.