Does the Vendor Notebook Count?
When the Green Mountain Higher Education Consortium’s institutions joined together to revamp their administrative systems, outsiders were watching—and waiting for them to select Workday. After all, Champlain already had Workday HCM, and Middlebury fit the profile of so many other liberal arts institutions that were selecting Workday for HCM, finance, and student. The process appeared more like a negotiation than a selection.
Recently, Corinna Noelke, Executive Director, spoke with me about the Consortium’s journey and their selection of Oracle Cloud in 2017. Three institutions—Champlain College, Middlebury College, and St. Michael’s College—make up the Consortium, and the process to combine their administrative systems and select a common platform began in 2016.
The Consortium worked with a consulting firm to develop an RFP and selection process. More than 300 people representing functional areas from each institution participated in listening sessions, the results of which were used to create an RFP. Four vendors were invited to demo their software, and the selection was narrowed to Oracle and Workday.
According to Noelke, Workday had the strongest marketing approach. Had the marketing materials (aka the notebook) formed the basis of the selection, the Consortium might have gone down the Workday path. Instead, Oracle had the better product for the Consortium, and it was less expensive, making the selection that much easier. Noelke also remarked how easy it was to work with Oracle during the selection and negotiation process. Oracle was willing to provide long-term pricing visibility, which was important to the Consortium.
During the course of our conversation, Noelke mentioned that the Oracle products are “beautiful.” When I asked her to elaborate, she spoke about the architecture and security. She is also impressed with how quickly Oracle is evolving the Higher Education Cloud solutions. When first selected, Oracle was using Taleo for recruiting. The solution has evolved and is now an integrated Oracle product.
Bringing three colleges into one instance of a software is a challenge. Selecting Oracle has given the Consortium tools to make running the system together easy. For example, when looking at positions, HR can search positions within a single college. With Workday, HR had to scroll through all three colleges’ position listings.
The Consortium selected Hitachi Consulting to manage the implementation. Hitachi did not have prior experience in higher education. Even so, the Consortium felt they were the best fit for the project. The team is positive and enthusiastic. The implementation is on track for HCM and finance go-live in spring 2019, which will make Green Mountain the first consortium to go live with Oracle Cloud for HCM and finance.
The Consortium is evaluating Oracle Student Cloud, and its selection is not guaranteed. The Consortium requires functionality that Oracle is planning to deliver in 2019. For now, the institutions are excited to proceed with their HCM and finance implementation.
Want more information on finance and HCM systems? Check out Tambellini’s annual 2018 U.S. Higher Education Financial Management and Human Resource Systems Market Trends Report, available to all Tambellini members. Also, don’t miss Tambellini’s Student, HCM, and Finance Webinar Series occurring every Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. EST through August 14.