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Manage educational campuses with ERP

Beas Ralhan, CEO, Next Education, suggests how a good ERP solution can help stitch together a digital education system.

Recent surveys indicate   that video for homework is witnessing unparalleled growth and that  there is no looking back  for mobile computing. In addition, students do not use traditional computers to connect to the internet at home and prefer using mobile devices like laptops, tablets etc to plug into the virtual educational space. There has also been a transition in the patterns of internet connectivity. Most students are keen on 3G or 4G enabled devices to connect to the internet or internet-enabled TVs and Wii consoles.

In 2014, video-based learning will continue to transform the primary and secondary education realm. Irrespective of their age, students have the natural ability to understand and, in a very real sense, read visual media. Ground-breaking educators, who have a keen eye on the future, will put in more focus on teaching and encouraging video-based learning. Videos are being used to re-create scenes from important pieces of literature to give students a more engaging view of history and the world. Consequently, they are also getting more creative and thoughtful. Besides, the easy-to-use green screen technology is doing wonders; it allows students to render virtual environments like news rooms or stages for mock presidential debates, molding them into more confident and world-wise adults. These debates or simulated parliament sessions are then webcast so that students from all over the world can interact on the online platform and share views. They learn to cultivate and respond to feedback and this is a very crucial skill in the 21st century. Apart from making abstract concepts easy-to-understand, these solutions help kids through simulations, activities and standardization of assessments. Further the higher education space is  going through  a period of great experimentation, thanks to the field of online learning. Learning through visual aids today has instilled a healthy desire in students to share quality work in a digital environment and innovative teachers are capitalizing on this medium to help students succeed in an ever-widening digital world.  

The education sector in Asian countries has witnessed a massive growth in terms of the number of institutes and students in the past few decades. The associated policies and procedures related to various educational functions like admission, teaching, interaction and examination have also grown manifold and been streamlined. The information technology tools offer promising solutions to enable effective management of various functions. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is an IT solution that incorporates and automates recruitments, financial aid, admissions, and students’ records, academic and administrative services. Administrative functions include: human resources, accounting, payroll, and billing. Academic functions include: recruitment, admissions, registration, time table scheduling, attendance, teaching and lesson planning and all other aspects of students’ records.

This trend has induced a growing need in schools and academic institutions to use technology that delivers education through digitized content. These institutions are implementing an ERP solution that helps them manage the campuses in a cost-effective and efficient way. With the increasing number of big corporate houses entering the educational sector, the school management process itself has undergone a paradigm shift in the last few years. Most importantly, a lot of these practices are being implemented to optimize the resources available at the school. There are a lot of model schools taking a lot of help from these technologies to upgrade their educational system. Some of the schools which use ERP solutions are: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan: Kochi, Himali Boarding School: Kurseong, Navy Children High School: Mumbai, Modern Convent School: New Delhi, GRD Academy: Dehradun.

According to the latest report by Gartner, Software as a Service or SaaS-based ERP solutions are  expected to grow at 28% CAGR in India and with our ERP solution, we will be providing a comprehensive yet customizable solution that meets the expectations of the education sector in India. The public cloud services market in India is growing at 29.8% in 2014 to total $550 million. Spending on SaaS will hit $218 million in 2014, growing 30.3% from 2013 through 2014. Gartner predicts that from 2013 through 2017, $4 billion will be spent on cloud services in India and SaaS is the largest overall cloud market segment.  The integration of the ERP system in the educational institutions is completely justified because of the increasing requirement for centralised access to data. The need to optimize resources leading to better scheduling of staff members also leads to the incorporation of the ERP system. 

Cloud-based ERP systems are now taking over the traditional methods of managing data and processes because of its various advantages. A cloud-based ERP solution is one which provides enhanced data storage capacity, security and control. It also gives a real-time access from anywhere and helps in quick, yet well-informed decision making. With this could-based solution, the institutions do not have to make expensive upfront investments in IT hardware and servers, nor worry about dedicating significant personnel resources to managing it. They are usually fast and easy to install than on-site deployments. Maintenance is much easier since the cloud-based ERP provider is responsible for keeping the technology up-to-date. Most importantly, with cloud technology, product enhancements are painless, customizations and integrations automatically update with system upgrades which assures that the business is running with the most advanced capabilities.

We are now in an age of tight budgets and reducing overheads. Gone are the days when one could run large labour-intensive systems and hope to deliver substantial results. ERP solution helps you get the best results from existing processes. It is a web-based application that can be accessed from anywhere and you can effectively manage your workforce to increase productivity. Some basic and apparent advantages of the ERP solution are the following:

-  Little or no capital investment to get started

-  Very high return on investment which increases year-by year

-  Eliminates 80% of the paper work

-  No extra administrative overhead for maintenance

-  Cut downs unnecessary and extra manpower resources

-  Saves a lot of time for each and every stakeholder (Administration, Staff, Students,  Parents)(Effective utilization of Time = More Productivity)

-  Streamlines the entire operations and functions thereby increasing the overall productivity and efficiency (More Productivity=More value to your Money)

-  Enhances the brand value of your institution thus resulting in higher enrolment of students

The education industry is going through a transformation, yet the changes in the system are really slow as compared to the other industries. There are many complex reasons for this slow pace of change, including lack of resources and resistance to new practices. However, the most important obstacles to realizing the potential of digital technology in education are provisions of copyright law concerning the use of educational content, as well as the business and institutional structures shaped by the law. The solution to these problems is only to understand the importance of digital learning in this era of tech-savvy parents and children. Focus on the infrastructure and resources to make content available to all so that the authorities are inspired to make amendments in the provisions of the copyright law is also important. These changes can be instilled in the law and society only when we understand the significance of e-learning.   

Prior to Next Education, Beas Dev Ralhan has been an entrepreneur,  Investment Manager, Technology Leader, Consultant and Programmer.
Hyderabad -headquartered Next Education which has been ranked among "25 Best E-Learning Companies" at the "Global E-Learning Awards" conducted by World Education Congress is a fast growing, technology driven company revolutionizing the education system in India. Since its inception in 2007, Next Education has created ground-breaking products that are transforming the lives of students studying in their 6000+ partner schools.
March 25 2014