Northwestern University Upgrades to Oracle's PeopleSoft Enterprise Campus Solutions 9.0
University to Optimize IT Investments with Oracle(R) Fusion Middleware
ORACLE OPENWORLD, SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 14 / / -- Oracle today announced that Northwestern University upgraded to Oracle's PeopleSoft Enterprise Campus Solutions 9.0 to take advantage of new features designed to help enhance student services and provide students, faculty and advisors with advanced self-service functionality. Working closely with Oracle(R) Consulting, Northwestern completed the upgrade in six months and participated in Oracle's PeopleSoft Enterprise Campus Solutions 9.0 Early Success Program (ESP) to help meet the aggressive project timeline. To further extend the value of its Oracle investments, the university plans to build a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), based on Oracle Fusion Middleware, that will expose its PeopleSoft Enterprise Financial Management functions as Web services and streamline business processes.
A private research institution founded in Evanston, Ill. in 1851, Northwestern aims to provide its 17,000 students an innovative and highly collaborative academic experience. To achieve this goal, the university's Information Technology Management Systems team continuously works to improve and upgrade its systems and to leverage scalable, standards-based applications that allow the university to react to the evolving needs and demands of its constituents. Northwestern is a long-time Oracle customer; the PeopleSoft Enterprise Campus Solutions upgrade is the latest in a series of IT and administrative system improvements designed to protect the university's technology investments.
"With PeopleSoft Enterprise Campus Solutions 9.0, we have gained several new features that our students have quickly adopted," said Ann Dronen, director of student enterprise systems, Northwestern University. "In addition, by continuing to stay on top of the latest technology, we open up additional opportunities to capitalize on our IT investment in the future."
Northwestern upgraded its student system to enable new capabilities including:
o Enhanced ability to create and manage ad hoc groups of student or
employee data within the application
o Increased options for automatic communication generation -- from formal
letters to applicants to e-mail notifications for enrollment
o Restructured user navigation and an easier, more intuitive user
o New online features that use commercial Web site-like tools to simplify
academic processes, such as a course scheduling "shopping cart"
o Increased insight for students, faculty and advisors to help them make
more informed, proactive academic decisions
"We worked closely with the Northwestern team to ensure they met their very aggressive goals for the upgrade," said Steve Koporec, vice president, Oracle. "We look forward to continuing to help the university identify new ways to use innovative enabling technologies to deliver a more personalized academic experience."
Online Tools Streamline Enrollment and Registration
Northwestern has received positive feedback from students who used the new PeopleSoft Enterprise Campus Solutions system during the fall registration period. Students appreciated the "shopping cart" experience that allows them to collect and review various courses and save them to a cart, much like online shopping Web sites. Northwestern plans to leverage additional functionality including the application's Enrollment Backpack, which helps students and their advisors build academic roadmaps that will allow them to track their progress toward degree requirements. This feature will also help Northwestern understand future course demand, greatly improving curriculum planning.
User-friendly Application Simplifies Navigation
Students, faculty and staff have benefited from the simplified, user- friendly interface. Campus Solutions 9.0 incorporates a role-based approach that decreases the number of "clicks" it takes to access certain Web pages or data, helping improve employee productivity and student satisfaction. Users also required very little training on the system. The university conducted student usability testing and found that students could easily navigate the system within a short time period. This prompted the university to spend less time training students and more time making sure administrative users, who needed to access more advanced features, were up to speed.
Integrated Applications Increase Operational Efficiency
Northwestern also uses PeopleSoft Enterprise Human Capital Management to manage all human resources processes, including recruiting, hiring, benefits administration and payroll. In spring 2006, the university upgraded to PeopleSoft Enterprise Human Capital Management 8.9 to further automate processing of approximately 60,000 employment applications per year. Following the upgrade, the turnaround time for delivering resumes to hiring managers decreased from four-to-seven days to just 24 hours. In addition, Northwestern implemented PeopleSoft Enterprise Benefits Administration and provided university faculty and staff with self-service access to online benefits and payroll information, achieving nearly 100 percent participation in the first enrollment period.
Extending the Value of Applications Investments with Oracle Fusion Middleware
To streamline business process integration and improve operational efficiency, Northwestern is currently implementing PeopleSoft Enterprise Financial Management and PeopleTools with Oracle Fusion Middleware. Utilizing components of Oracle Fusion Middleware, such as Oracle BPEL Process Manager, Oracle Portal and Oracle Application Development Frameworks, Northwestern plans to create an SOA that will help increase transparency, accuracy and timeliness of processing financial journal entries. For example, Northwestern's current journal entry process is paper-based - a lengthy process that requires many manual, time-intensive, error-prone steps. As part of its move to an SOA, the university plans to replace this process with an automated portal-based application that it can widely distribute among users of all levels of expertise.
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