Tambellini Supports Trinity College's Data-focused Technology Strategy

Tambellini Group |


Trinity College skyline
Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes
Kristen Eshleman
Vice President for Library and Information Technology

Trinity College

Founded in 1823, Trinity College is a private liberal arts college in Hartford, Connecticut, that serves approximately 2,159 full-time undergraduate students. Trinity students select from over 900 courses and 41 majors and are mentored in an environment with a 9:1 student-faculty ratio. Trinity also offers master’s degree programs and an accelerated dual-degree option for undergraduates to pursue both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Trinity’s mission is to prepare students to be bold, independent thinkers who lead transformative lives.

Trinity Plans Data-First Approach to Modernizing Its ERP System

In 2021, Trinity College Vice President for Library and Information Technology Kristen Eshleman joined the college as it was preparing to modernize its ERP system. Trinity’s administrative departments required a cloud-native system that would enable stakeholders to more easily access and leverage departmental data for decision making.

Business users could not readily access enough data with Trinity’s existing ERP system, and they relied on the IT team to build their data feeds and reports. Eshleman says that Trinity’s IT staff spent so much of their effort on ERP system maintenance and manual data processes that they had little time to help functional units solve challenges and meet new requirements.

By selecting and implementing an ERP system with modern workflow automation capabilities, Trinity aimed to reduce manual, repetitive business and data processes and empower Trinity’s administrative teams and IT department to serve the Trinity community as effectively as possible.

Trinity Finds the Best-Fit Partner to Encourage Broad Stakeholder Engagement

To move forward with selecting the appropriate ERP for Trinity’s needs, Eshleman wanted to better understand the college’s organizational readiness for migrating to and leveraging a modern cloud system. Eshleman decided that the organization would benefit most from partnering with an external firm to provide an unbiased and thorough evaluation of the college’s technology environment. While Eshleman was familiar with the Tambellini Group, which was recommended by colleagues at peer institutions for its expertise in ERP modernization, she also evaluated and interviewed other firms to select the partner with the best cultural fit for Trinity.

Eshleman was committed to working with Trinity’s cross-functional stakeholders so they could build trust in the ERP modernization initiative, fully participate in it, and readily adopt the selected cloud system. Thus, Eshleman’s goal with the cloud readiness assessment was to give stakeholders impacted by the ERP migration opportunities to express their requirements, goals, and concerns to help inform Trinity’s product selection decision. Eshleman says that when she interviewed Tambellini, it was clear the firm valued a comprehensive approach that encouraged broad stakeholder participation. Tambellini’s cloud readiness assessment incorporated collective best practices based on its extensive work with similar institutions while customizing the report and recommendations based on Trinity’s stakeholder feedback.

Cloud Readiness Assessment Lays the Foundation for Trinity’s Modernization Strategy

Trinity selected Tambellini to perform the cloud readiness assessment and began the engagement in January 2022. Tambellini worked with stakeholders across multiple administrative teams, including human resources, finance, the Registrar’s Office, student life, institutional research, and IT, to identify the readiness areas Trinity needed to address before transitioning to a cloud ERP system.

Eshleman says that Tambellini exceeded her expectations in how well the advisors worked with Trinity’s administrative teams to incorporate their perspectives. After the assessment, Eshleman’s team shared Tambellini’s report and technology investment decision summaries with the participating stakeholders. According to Eshleman, Tambellini captured cross-functional pain points and effectively communicated to the community how their input guided the identified technology priorities.

Thorough Assessment Helps Accelerate Strategic Technology Investments

Eshleman also shared Tambellini’s report with Trinity’s Board of Trustees, who were pleased with its level of detail. The report included estimated costs for the ERP migration based on the solutions that would best meet Trinity’s needs. With an understanding of the initiative’s potential scale and costs, Trinity’s leadership and Eshleman decided to move forward with an evaluation strategy of comparing the expected ROI for each ERP solution before comparing product functionality.

Tambellini’s report also helped the board understand Trinity’s technology environment holistically. Eshleman says that the third-party expert analysis showed which systems were critical to modernize and helped bolster her recommendation that the college strategically invest in other functional areas in addition to human resources and finance, including admissions, student retention, and advancement.

After the assessment, Trinity clarified its technology investment priorities, which included selecting and implementing ERP, advancement CRM, integration platform as a service (iPaaS), and identity and access management (IAM) solutions.

Trinity Makes Data Management and Advancement CRM Product Selections

Eshleman meets with Trinity’s Tambellini strategic advisor for monthly check-ins and has leveraged analyst inquiries for support with her team’s technology initiatives, including narrowing down the college’s iPaaS options. Trinity has taken a data-first approach to its ERP transition, and Eshleman says engaging with one of Tambellini’s analysts around iPaaS and IAM has helped encourage productive dialogue among Trinity’s technology stakeholders while incorporating an experienced third-party’s perspective and guidance around data strategy. Trinity’s analyst engagements helped its technology stakeholders reach a consensus on the most optimal iPaaS and IAM solutions to invest in.

Eshleman and the Trinity advancement team also met with a Tambellini analyst to gain an experienced third-party perspective on their advancement CRM platform options. Eshleman says she appreciated that the Tambellini analysts she worked with in the data management and advancement engagements leveraged comprehensive knowledge from their involvement in technology implementations at other institutions and their expertise in vendor products and roadmaps. According to Eshleman, Tambellini’s guidance has been invaluable in assisting Trinity in prioritizing its technology investments and choosing products that align with its institutional technology strategy and long-term vision.

Interested in hearing more about how Tambellini works with colleges and universities? Read more success stories or explore our services for institutions.

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Tambellini Group is the leading independent technology research, analyst, and advisory firm dedicated exclusively to higher education. Tambellini Group members benefit from more than 100 annual and unbiased research reports that provide insight and analysis on the changing technology landscape. With nearly 5 million data points, including over 20,600 global institutions and more than 100,000 technology selections, the Tambellini Group’s proprietary Education Institution Technology Profile Database® is unparalleled in the industry. Founded in 2001, Tambellini Group is a woman-owned business and a certified Great Places to Work® company.

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