Stellenbosch University installs biggest IT system in 100 year history

The launch of the new Stellenbosch University (SU) student information system, SUNStudent, was celebrated in Stellenbosch this week.  The campus-wide information system forms part of the institution’s System’s Renewal Project (SRP) and is the single biggest IT system implementation in the 100 year history of the institution.

SUNStudent will take student administration and academic curriculum management at SU to the next level.

The project was initiated with SU Council funding to replace the ageing information systems. The new system will replace the current, outdated system and promises to be solid and reliable, yet also flexible, modern and student-centric.  

According to Dr Ronel Retief, Registrar at SU, a rigorous selection and tender process lead Stellenbosch University to decide on Serosoft’s state-of-the-art Academia SIS solution, as it met all the requirements set by the institution for a new approach to managing each phase of the student life-cycle, from recruitment to graduation and beyond.

“ACADEMIA (SUNStudent) offers a student information system that automates academic and administrative processes of the University and will take us on the next steps to digital transformation in education. It will directly or indirectly impact each and every staff member and student in the University in a positive manner,” said Retief.

SU’s Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Wim de Villiers, spoke at the event. “Records have been meticulously kept at this institution since 1918 and we belive this cloud-based, state-of-the-art student information system will be an enabler for our institution’s future,” said de Villiers.

“We understand the value of change management on system implementation and that’s why we have elected for Eiffel Corp, accredited service provider of Academia in Africa, to form part of the three way partnership between Stellenbosch University and Serosoft”, he added.

De Villiers said that changing such an integral system was like changing pilots in the sky, “But he couldn’t feel safer to have Eiffel Corp and Serosoft as co-pilots.”

“Serosoft is rated by Deloitte as the 9th fastest growing technology company in India, and has been working in the educational SIS domain for over 10 years. Their expertise, combined with Eiffel Corp’s 20 years of educational software, consulting, training and e-learning experience, delivers the ideal solutions for our clients,” said Ian Light, MD of Eiffel Corp.

“We believe technology should be an enabler of education, easy to use and efficient in its application.

“Big transformational and system implementations often fail because very little time is spent on the individual’s awareness and desire to change, as well as the application of knowledge. Even less time is taken to reinforce the behaviour of individuals,” said Light.

He added the project and change management expertise will contribute to a successful project delivery by supporting people through the transitioning process. “This will ensure technology adoption, utilisation of the system and high proficiency levels,” added Light.

Arpit Badjatya, CEO of Serosoft, remarked that internally at Serosoft headquarters in India, they refer to SUNStudent as Project Sunshine  “We believe that technology is the most powerful tool to use to change the world of education,” said Arpit Badjatya.

Prof de Williers expanded to say implementation will be a phased process, with the expectation that the final go-live date will be during the course of 2021 – taking into account the normal student lifecycle activities and the availability of SU personnel.

“This process will include consultation sessions, regular communication and training of stakeholders across the University.

“The SU community can look forward to improved services with modern interfaces, the capability to respond to new and rapidly changing requirements, improved reporting and analytics, and a better overall user experience for staff and students,” added Prof de Villiers.


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