Running a university of more than 21,000 students and 4,000 staff sounds like a serious undertaking. And when you consider that’s roughly the same population as Taupō, the scale of the task becomes even clearer.
The University of Otago is New Zealand’s oldest tertiary institution, with students from all over the country – and the world – flocking to Dunedin for the Scarfie experience. When borders are open, staff travel the world to conferences, courses and recruitment fairs, students do exchanges and participate in extracurricular activities, alumni and guests visit for events, suppliers and contractors make deliveries and maintain properties and equipment. New and existing relationships are made with hundreds of research funding organisations and industry contacts, and thousands of research applications and contracts are signed. And of course, there’s a never ending round of lectures, labs and tutorials, exams, assignments and graduations.
That’s a lot to keep track of.
The university’s leaders realised that to ensure every person was getting the most out of every interaction, they needed to know exactly what was going on in their bustling academic city. Were students receiving all the support they needed to maintain their studies? Were alumni records completely accurate? Did anything result from that speaking engagement in Milan? How effective was that industry engagement and how up to date were the university’s contacts? A few years ago, they didn’t have a clear answer, using a disparate assortment of technology platforms and services, following different processes, which were blurring the university’s vision and holding it back from delivering a truly A+ experience.