Oxford University maximises ERP adoption with big data

Oxford University has increased user adoption of its new ERP system by identifying problems using data visualisation tool Tableau.

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Oxford University has increased user adoption of its new ERP system by identifying problems using data visualisation tool Tableau.

The university’s Oracle R11 ERP had to be replaced for the latest version (R12) in November last year, after Oracle ended its support. According to Juliet Frost, business analyst at Oxford University, there was a “huge history in the university of poor implementations” that it wanted to avoid repeating.

Oxford’s business intelligence team worked with IT to spot and resolve problems following implementation of the upgraded system by monitoring users’ purchasing activity.

Information is fed from the university’s near real-time data warehouses overnight and is visualised in Tableau every morning in response to user behaviour from the day before.

“We could affect the user behaviour and that way we got much more out of the system and got the users using the system much quicker than we would have without Tableau,” Frost told the Tableau conference in London yesterday.

The ERP system has 2,000 users using the purchasing aspect, Frost said, adding that correct usage is key to ensure information in the system is kept up-to-date.

Frost deployed Tableau to visualise purchase orders from the first day of the ERP go-live. She used Tableau’s mapping tools to see which departments were struggling to use the new system, mapping user behaviour on the old system against use after the upgrade. As the university only has three employees to deploy on face-to-face visits to help users, and 145 different user locations across the county, the heat maps highlighted problem areas to prioritise.

Oxford University is still monitoring the purchasing activity to ensure that IT can make adjustments or approach users to guide them through processes where necessary. 

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