Read the third issue of GMHEC’s “The Connection” newsletter here.
Read the second issue of GMHEC’s “The Connection” newsletter here.
GMHEC’s first newsletter “The Connection” released.
The Green Mountain Higher Education Consortium (GMHEC) is pleased to announce the hiring of Rebecca Schubert as the Coordinator of the GMHEC Employee Wellbeing Program. In this newly created position, she will coordinate efforts to establish a culture of health and wellbeing under the GMHEC umbrella at each member school and across the Consortium. This will include identifying promotional needs, recommending, implementing and evaluating wellbeing programs and initiatives, assessing the wellbeing program effectiveness and communicating.
During the last several years, the Human Resources and Benefit teams have made significant progress in cost containment efforts related to health insurance. Due to our vendor relationship with CIGNA which focuses on health initiatives and the commitment each college has demonstrated to Wellbeing, this position has been fully funded by CIGNA.
We are fortunate to have hired Rebecca with deep experience in health management. She is a Registered Dietitian and a Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach with a lifelong passion for wellbeing and a commitment to self-actualization. She holds masters degrees in Nutrition Education and Executive Leadership and has over fifteen years experience working in the health and wellness arena. She is passionate about supporting others to make their vision of health and wellbeing their reality and has spent the last eight years coaching clients in the primary care setting. Prior to that she worked for the VT Department of Health where she gained valuable experience in managing population health programs. Her passion, personal commitment to wellbeing, education and work experience will support the work of the Consortium in its aim to support employee wellbeing and engagement and reduce medical spending. When she’s not working, you will most likely find her spending time with her husband and dog, hiking, snowshoeing, lifting weights or training for an endurance event.
Feel free to reach out to Rebecca at email@example.com to welcome her or share any insights.
What Champlain College, Middlebury College and Saint Michael’s College are doing is rare for private institutions. But as more schools seek ways to control back-office costs, this idea may spread.
The three independent, nonprofit colleges did not have a history of working together. But in 2013, they formed the Green Mountain Higher Education Consortium to examine sharing an ERP system.
“Private liberal arts schools and the education that they offer is becoming more and more unaffordable for many students,” said Corinna Noelke, the consortium’s executive director and a doctorate-holding economist who was director of special projects at Middlebury.
The consortium went through a request-for-proposal process and picked Oracle ERP systems. They will use Oracle’s Human Capital Management Cloud, its ERP Cloud and the Enterprise Performance Management Cloud.
“The schools discovered that they could really work together on one software platform, as long as it allowed them to separate the schools efficiently,” Noelke said.
The implementation begins this year. The three colleges are now using Ellucian systems: One is using Banner, and two are using Colleague. Two of the colleges ran the ERP systems on premises, and the third outsourced.
A goal for the three schools was to implement best practices in a SaaS environment and to take advantage of using shared services.
Using best practices “has nothing to do with your culture and nothing to do with your special niche as a school,” Noelke said.
Public colleges have long shared IT platforms
Public universities have long shared systems across the various campuses, but it’s rare for nonprofit, private colleges to share services, said Kenneth Green, the founding director of The Campus Computing Project, which runs a continuing study of the role of IT in higher education.
The Vermont colleges’ effort “is interesting and it is innovative, and it will be carefully watched,” Green said.
Back-office systems collaboration may be a growing trend in higher education. In a separate effort, over 100 smaller colleges recently banded together to collectively negotiate ERP pricing with major vendors.
“Why can’t we leverage our collective voices with you, the vendors, to get better pricing,” said Carol Smith, CIO of DePauw University and president of the board of directors of the Higher Education Systems & Services Consortium (HESS). This effort to negotiate as a group with ERP systems vendors began in 2016.
Most of the HESS Consortium schools have student full-time-equivalent populations of less than 8,000 and some only a few thousand students. But a goal of HESS is to give its members the contract negotiation clout of a large university system.
Transparency on ERP pricing is one goal
HESS is also working to normalize ERP pricing and services between vendors to make it easier for colleges to conduct apples-to-apples comparisons. The schools, some of which previously have gotten little vendor attention, hope that now changes. They are meeting collectively with their respective vendors to discuss their needs.
The Green Mountain effort takes the idea of ERP collaboration a step further.
The consortium had four ERP candidates: Oracle, Workday, Unit4 and Campus Management.
In its selection, the Oracle ERP system gained the edge with its pricing, functionality and ability to set up a shared environment, Noelke said.
The Oracle ERP system architecture allows you to be in one instance and have three separate and distinct operations for each of the campuses. Employees at their respective schools don’t see information from other colleges unless they want to have a shared service. Each college will have independent user interfaces and data will be separated, but otherwise, they are operating on one platform.
“The architecture is very elegant and is really letting you be separate where you want to be separate, but also to come together where you want to come together,” Noelke said.
Configurations are being discouraged
The introduction of the SaaS platform is requiring the schools to make substantive changes to their business practices. They are holding workshops involving finance and HR and working with implementation firms. The schools may do some processes differently as they shift to a “best practices environment.” They are holding “process reimagine and redesign” workshops facilitated by CampusWorks Inc., and their implementation contractor is Hitachi Consulting for Oracle.
The basic premise is the schools will only customize configurations where needed, and the departments will have to make a business case for it. As soon as you configure differently between the three schools, it makes it harder to update the system, Noelke said.
The implementations will continue through much of the year. They will have to make “a million little decisions every day” with the implementers.
The three colleges expect to pay less with the Oracle ERP system. They have cut licensing costs by about 20% by acting together. The implementation costs are much less, because they are doing it together, Noelke said. This doesn’t account for long-term productivity gains helped by the elimination or reduction of manual, paper-based processes.
Over an eight-year period — fiscal year 2018 through fiscal year 2025 — buying software together and implementing it together at the same time is saving $20 million versus each school buying the software themselves and implementing it themselves, Noelke said.
Education systems require specialized software related to student needs, such as registration, class schedules and financial assistance. Oracle is developing a new student system using the knowledge they have on needs and requirements from the PeopleSoft product. This work is still in development. The consortium is likely to use Oracle’s approach, but will make a final determination once the development work is completed.
The motivation for these joint efforts is clear. At DePauw, Smith said she personally believes these types of collaborations among private schools will expand.
“We’re here to provide an educational experience for our students, so that they can be the best they can be,” Smith said. “I think we have to try to preserve every ounce of resources that we possibly can.”
Redwood Shores, Calif. – December 20, 2017 – The Green Mountain Higher Education Consortium (GMHEC) has selected Oracle Cloud Applications to modernize critical finance and human resources business processes to increase customer service levels while reducing administrative costs. With Oracle Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud, Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Cloud and Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Cloud, GMHEC will be able to empower faculty, staff, and students to embrace modern best practices, drive institutional innovation and optimize the overall learning experience.
GMHEC is a collaborative endeavor of three Vermont colleges: Champlain College, Middlebury College and Saint Michael’s College. In order to continue to deliver the best possible student and staff experiences, GMHEC needed to replace its existing legacy on-premises business systems – which rely on manual processes and operate in a silo – with a unified business platform supporting modern best practices, real-time data insights, and transparent reporting across its campuses. After a careful evaluation of competing solutions, GMHEC selected Oracle ERP Cloud, Oracle EPM Cloud and Oracle HCM Cloud to modernize its finance, reporting, procurement, recruitment and on-boarding processes.
“GMHEC aims to create a collaborative environment where we are sharing best practices across all three colleges to directly address rising educational costs and continue to make higher education accessible and affordable to all students,” said Corinna Noelke, executive director, Green Mountain Higher Education Consortium. “Collectively, we selected Oracle as it has a proven history of success in the higher education market, as well as the resources to continue to drive innovation and to allow implementation of standardized best business practices within a single instance for all member colleges.”
With Oracle ERP Cloud, GMHEC will be able to leverage a complete, modern and secure solution to streamline and optimize financial processes. Oracle EPM Cloud will enable GMHEC to strategically analyze data for accurate forecasting. Oracle HCM Cloud will enable the HR teams of the GMHEC schools to spend less time on manual processes and more time on sourcing, developing and retaining top talent through self-service capabilities that empower employees to engage with each other.
“Higher-education institutions are constantly challenged to reduce their administrative costs and optimize business processes in order to meet rapidly changing student and faculty demands,” said Steve Miranda, executive vice president of applications development, Oracle. “With Oracle Cloud Applications, the GMHEC team will be able to improve operational efficiency and increase productivity in order to spend more time focused on the student and staff experience.”
To get the latest news and insights about Oracle ERP Cloud and Oracle EPM Cloud, follow @OracleERPCloud on Twitter or Facebook, @OracleEPMCloud on Twitter or Facebook, or read the Modern Finance Leader blog.
About Green Mountain Higher Education Consortium
The Green Mountain Higher Education Consortium (GMHEC) is a collaborative endeavor of three Vermont colleges: Champlain College, Middlebury College and Saint Michael’s College. The colleges created the consortium in 2013 to create and foster economic efficiencies and improved business and administrative practices across their campuses.
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GMHEC, along with our consortium partners have been actively reviewing and interviewing implementation partners for our Oracle, ERP and HCM project. We have also been reviewing and interviewing external project manager teams to support our Oracle projects and our Blackbaud project our Advancement group. We are grateful for the over forty leaders and functional area experts for their deep involvement in this important selection process. The next several weeks will include reference checking and deep dive discussions with potential partners.
Blackbaud held its annual users conference, BBCCON 2017 in Baltimore last week. We had 10 people from the GMHEC member schools attend. Great opportunity for the team to engage together and learn from others as we enter into deeper project planning for the January 2018 implementation start.
Member colleges of GMHEC including Champlain College, Middlebury College and St. Michael’s College have selected leading edge cloud technology solutions for the continued success in supporting our students. Our chosen vendors, Blackbaud for advancement and Oracle for HCM, finance and potentially student demonstrated strength in technology solutions and understanding of our specific needs. This selection process included a significant amount of time and input from stakeholders amongst all schools. The first Steering Committee meeting was held recently and the planning phase is well underway for these important implementations.
August 14, 2017
I am happy to announce that Mary M. Lee has accepted the new position of Stakeholder Relations Strategist at the Green Mountain Higher Education Consortium and will start early September.
Mary comes to us from Champlain College where she has been involved with the Consortium and has been an avid supporter from its start as the Lead of the Human Resources group. This group has already accomplished much by saving the Consortium members, Champlain College, Middlebury College and Saint Michael’s College, to date $2.5 million through group purchasing. Mary has also been a member of the Steering Committee for the Consortium Technology project which has just resulted in the purchase of new Advancement as well Human Resources and Finance Software for all three colleges. Since January 2017, she has been on the Board of the Consortium.
In her new position, Mary will support the Consortium and its member colleges in engaging its faculty, staff, and at times, students as we are making changes that touch every one of them such as through the implementation of Oracle Cloud systems for Human Resources and Finance. She will also work with future full and associate members of the Consortium to successfully on-board them.
After a distinguished career in the corporate world such as with IDX Systems, Burton Snowboards and National Life Group, Mary joined Champlain College in 2012 rising to Vice President of People and Technology. She received a master’s of science in administration from St. Michael’s College and holds an undergraduate degree from Trinity College. She holds certifications in Appreciative Inquiry from Case Western University, Compensation from WorldatWork and Human Resources from Society for Human Resources Management.
Mary is actively engaged in a number of community organizations and resides in Burlington with her husband and son.
Please join me in welcoming Mary to her new role. Mary can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.