Transforming Mount Holyoke College: Creating a Student-Centered ERP Environment
The Institution at a Glance:
- Private research liberal arts college for women that is gender diverse
- Location: South Hadley, MA
- Enrollment: 2100+ undergrads from 48 states and 73 countries
- Global alum network: 39,000+
- The oldest member of the historic Seven Sisters colleges, a group of elite women’s colleges in the Northeastern United States
Mount Holyoke College (MHC) takes pride in its distinctive education, equipping students to address global challenges. To support evolving business needs, MHC maintained two core systems—one for enterprise resource planning (ERP) and another for financial management—along with over 50 administrative applications.
Over time, this unintegrated ecosystem posed challenges for IT support and created a confusing experience for students. Basic tasks, such as bill payment and course selection, lacked clarity and required additional time and effort. Fragmented student data across different systems made it increasingly difficult for staff to provide efficient service.
To establish a high-performing technology environment aligned with their educational goals, MHC’s leadership collaborated with CampusWorks to assess the ERP environment and plan a path forward.
In partnership with CampusWorks, we are engaging the campus in transforming a complex organizational and technology ecosystem into an integrated, seamless, and intuitive student experience.
An Overly Complex ERP Ecosystem Hinders Student Success
CampusWorks initiated the transformation by organizing workshops that engaged key stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff, and administrators, to co-create a student-centered vision. This vision statement guided the ERP Assessment, which aimed to identify gaps between the current systems and desired future objectives.
Through interviews, focus groups, and surveys, CampusWorks gained insights into MHC’s operations. The assessment exposed the unintended silos resulting from the College’s autonomous culture, which empowered departments to independently purchase software solutions to support their needs. Often these purchases impacted the long-term sustainability of the ecosystem through additional maintenance, challenging integrations, and further distributed data. Not only did this lead to a proliferation of technology and the absence of a unified “system of record,” it also hindered the cross-functional collaboration essential for student success.
MHC’s complex technology ecosystem made it challenging for IT to provide support and training, leading to limited data sharing and ineffective system utilization. Data elements were scattered across various databases and supplemental systems, requiring manual intervention for extraction. This dynamic hindered timely and accurate information delivery, affecting account balances, graduation requirements, reporting capabilities, and data-driven decision-making. Employees resorted to manual workarounds, paper processes, and customizations, diverting attention from their primary focus on supporting students.
Charting the Path to a Student-Centered Future
Based on the assessment findings, CampusWorks presented MHC with two options: optimize the current ERP system or modernize by moving to a new platform. They assisted MHC in exploring the benefits, challenges, timing, and costs of each option. This information guided MHC’s decision to modernize the ERP environment by adopting a new platform capable of meeting the needs of the entire campus community.
To support the decision-making process, CampusWorks facilitated a Future State Reimagined initiative. Faculty and staff engaged in redesigning processes aligned with the Student-Centered Vision, optimizing 350 processes across the College and defining the requirements for the new system.
Leveraging the assessment findings and Future State Reimagined requirements, CampusWorks developed a scenario-based request for proposal (RFP). Faculty, staff, and administrators contributed to refining the RFP to address MHC’s unique needs.
Upon receiving proposals, CampusWorks guided MHC through the RFP scoring process, resulting in shortlisting two solutions. Both vendors were invited to showcase their core functionality through “A Day in the Life of…” product demonstrations for students, faculty, and staff. This inclusive approach enabled evaluation aligned with common goals and demonstrated the impact of the proposed changes. It fostered consensus around the selection of Workday, gaining buy-in from critical stakeholders. CampusWorks also supported MHC in contract negotiations to secure competitive pricing and terms.
Laying the Groundwork for Transformation
To ensure a successful implementation, CampusWorks conducted a Data Readiness Assessment, examining legacy data and developing a refinement plan prior to migrating to Workday. The assessment encompassed a comprehensive overview of systems at Mount Holyoke College. Critical data extraction and analysis were performed to identify gaps, mapping challenges, and data-related challenges, facilitating short- and long-term project tasks for a successful data migration.
To optimize the benefits of the new ERP system, CampusWorks presented a data governance framework, establishing policies, processes, and procedures for managing and safeguarding the College’s data assets.
Transition management is a critical preparation of ERP implementation. CampusWorks deployed a Transition Readiness Survey, assessing the preparedness of campus community members for the project. It determined the support required from managers and leadership, anticipated impacts on work, and uncovered enthusiasm for streamlining processes and systems. The survey underscored the need for clear communications, goals, responsibilities, training, and leadership, all incorporated into the Transition Management Plan.
Working Toward Go Live
CampusWorks will serve as the College’s project manager throughout the implementation phase. Pre-implementation activities began three months before the vendor started implementation activities. These activities addressed potential roadblocks, such as data concerns, policy changes, third-party integrations, backfill needs, project team roles, escalation plans, and other critical preparations. This thorough approach ensures a smooth implementation process without overlooking essential details.
Mount Holyoke College, in partnership with CampusWorks, aims to go live with the Workday platform in 2025, revolutionizing its technology landscape and delivering a student-centered educational experience aligned with its vision for the future.