Oracle Customer Success — Griffith University

Griffith University

Griffith University Manages Enrollment Peaks 4x Faster—Boosts Student Satisfaction and Retention Rate

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With Oracle Fusion Middleware solution, we gained high performance and a scalable online enrollment platform to improve student satisfaction, boost the retention rate, and support future growth. Thanks to Oracle, we now manage our enrollment peaks 4x faster, have improved the ease of enrollment, and provide a consistent and rich user experience.

— Bruce Callow, CIO, Griffith University

Griffith University is one of Australia’s fastest-growing universities, with five campuses in the southeastern corner of Queensland. Ranked among the top 5% of universities worldwide, Griffith University is committed to teaching and research excellence. The university has more than 43,000 students from 131 countries enrolled in 300 undergraduate and postgraduate-degree programs, covering 10 disciplines, including the arts, education, business, and engineering.

With student satisfaction and high retention rates a key strategy, Griffith University looked to improve the performance and scalability of its deployment of Oracle’s PeopleSoft Campus Solutions, including PeopleSoft Recruiting and Admissions, PeopleSoft Community Portal, PeopleSoft Student Records and PeopleSoft Student Financials, to simplify the enrollment process, effectively manage peak enrollment periods, improve ease of access to the system, and enhance student engagement and satisfaction. In addition, the university also wanted to build a single data hub to integrate information from various PeopleSoft applications, to ensure data consistency across all applications and support better decision-making.

Griffith University deployed Oracle Fusion Middleware components, including Oracle SOA Suite, Oracle Service Bus, and Oracle Data Integrator, to provide integration between the front-end enrollment platform and the PeopleSoft student-management system and to develop new web services for the university’s program and course offerings. This simplified the enrollment process and improved ease of access to course information, significantly increasing student satisfaction. It also enabled Griffith University to manage peak enrollment periods 4x faster, supporting over 5,000 concurrent-user sessions and processing 80 enrollment requests a second, even with more than 320,000 transactions occuring in the first five minutes. Students also can plan their timetables for classes and tutorials before enrollment, and this has resulted in an improved student satisfaction rate.
  • Improves Ease of Enrollment and Enhances User Experience
    Before implementing Oracle Fusion Middleware components, Griffith University used disparate systems to support its enrollment process, such as PeopleSoft Campus Solutions, in-house developed timetable management, and program and courses catalogue systems. There were many steps to follow, and students found it difficult to understand the terminology and access the required information for programs and courses. Data was not consistent and the process lacked the visibility to allow students to plan courses and schedule classes before the enrollment period. As such, the university received poor satisfaction ratings for its enrollment process, based on student engagement surveys. Student retention rates also lagged behind other major Australian universities.

    Griffith University implemented Oracle SOA Suite and Oracle Service Bus to extend the capabilities of its PeopleSoft system and integrate it with a new, online enrollment platform to guide and streamline the enrollment process. Students can access information, such as prerequisites, course lists, fees, and they can enroll in courses—for example, by pressing a few buttons instead of navigating through a long web page and multiple systems. The university also developed new web services in a simpler format to ensure that students easily understood the program and course information. In addition, Griffith University implemented Oracle Data Integrator with its data hub to extract, load, and transform data from PeopleSoft Campus Solutions systems to the enrollment platform and web services, ensuring a consistent and richer user experience. This allowed the university to target specific audiences by using the same information presented in different formats.

    Oracle Fusion Middleware greatly enhanced the visibility of the enrollment process and improved the student experience. The number of students who found it easy to enroll was 3x higher—87% in semester two compared to 20% in semester one—and the number of students satisfied with their timetables also increased by 10%—89.48% in semester two versus 79.81% in semester one.
  • Improves Class Timetable-Management Efficiency, Increases Student Satisfaction
    By extending the planning capability of PeopleSoft Campus Solutions, Griffith University also increased class timetable-management efficiency by enabling students to better plan and manage their own class timetable before formally enrolling. For example, students can map out a semester study program by selecting available classes and submitting the planned information with their enrollment. Students can also check enrollment status and view their class timetable in a user-friendly format, such as a calendar grid. 

    “With Oracle Fusion Middleware, students can now plan their study program early and move on with their other life commitments. We’ve reduced the number of incoming calls by 26%. Importantly, the calls were no longer about difficulties with the system. They were about what options were open to students when a class was full. This improvement in student satisfaction is important to us,” said Bruce Callow, CIO, Griffith University.
  • Supports 5,000 Concurrent Users, Manages Peak Enrollment Periods 4x Faster
    With two enrollment periods each year, Griffith University wanted to ensure the online enrollment system could achieve the scalability it required for peak periods. Since each student uses three-to-four devices to log in simultaneously—to maximize their chances of getting to the front of the queue—a single enrollment might require up to 25 transactions, with each student typically enrolling in four to five courses per semester, as well as in classes and tutorials for each program. In addition, the university also needed to meet similar peak demands when posting exam results, with students constantly checking the system over a period of days to see if results are available.

    Oracle Service Bus enabled, mediated, and managed interactions between the new, online enrollment platform and PeopleSoft Campus Solutions applications, and it reduced integration complexity. It also enabled the enrollment platform to easily scale to support more than 5,000 concurrent user sessions and process 80 enrollment requests per second during peak periods. By maximizing throughput to the enrollment system, the university processed more than 320,000 enrollment transactions in less than five minutes, compared with 20 minutes previously. 

    “If students can’t enroll in the courses they want without delay, there is every chance they will go elsewhere. It was critical to ensure the enrollment system could handle the peaks and enable students to submit their preferred courses and classes within seconds of an enrollment’s opening. Thanks to Oracle Service Bus, we’ve gained high performance and a highly scalable enrollment system that could manage our expected 10% yearly growth rate,” Callow said.
  • Improves Student Retention Rate, Supports Future Initiatives
    Previously, students were frustrated with how Griffith University managed full classes, particularly those students who missed fulfilling their preferences. They perceived the enrollment process as a race and inequitable. By implementing Oracle Data Integrator and Oracle Service Bus, the university now processes a high volume of enrollment requests in real time and in the right sequence, eliminating the possibility of queue-jumping, while continuing to allow other students to log on.

    With Oracle Data Integrator and Oracle SOA Suite, Griffith University can integrate data from other sources, such as the library and learning management systems, into the data hub, ensuring data accuracy and consistency across all the applications. It also enabled real-time visibility into the enrollment process and provided better intelligence to support decision-making, such as ensuring additional classes to meet increased student demand. Oracle SOA Suite’s standards-based, layered approach also helped Griffith University to maximize re-use of the existing PeopleSoft Campus Solutions by eliminating the need to make changes to applications and leveraging common web services to support future upgrades or other project initiatives, such as for an identity management system related to applications and cloud services.

    “With SOA Suite’s architecture, we’ve laid a solid foundation for migrating to Oracle RightNow cloud-based services in the next six months, which will enable us to make even more progress in engaging students and improving retention rates,” Callow said.
 
Challenges
  • Improve student access to program and course information and simplify enrollment process to improve student satisfaction and increase the retention rate
  • Boost the performance and scalability of the student management system to meet peak enrollment demands and support future growth
  • Ensure data consistency across all applications to provide better intelligence for decision-making and support a wide range of future initiatives
Results
  • Gained a high performance and scalable online enrollment system that supports 5,000 concurrent user login sessions and processes 80 enrollment requests per second for peak periods
  • Managed enrollment peaks 4x faster by maximizing enrollment throughput and processing 320,000 enrollment transactions in less than five minutes, instead of 20 minutes, to support the expected 10% growth each year
  • Increased the number of students satisfied with ease of enrollment by 3x—from 20% to 86%—improving student experience by enabling students to follow a simple and guided enrollment process instead of spending time to navigate through a long web page
  • Enhanced visibility of program and course offerings and reduced the number of calls about system issues by 26%, enabling staff to focus on providing better service to students and improving the student retention rate 
  • Improved efficiency of class-timetable management and increased student satisfaction by enabling students to plan early and map out their classes for up to 12 months
  • Enabled ease of access to university program and course information by using simple and easy-to-understand web services to present complex data, such as timetables, in grid-calendar format
  • Ensured data accuracy and provided a consistent user experience by integrating data from various sources—such as PeopleSoft Campus applications, as well as learning, library, management, and e-resources systems—into a single data hub using Oracle Data Integrator
  • Minimized student perception of inequity by eliminating the possibility of queue jumping during enrollment
  • Enabled real-time visibility of the enrollment process and provided better intelligence to support decision-making and further improve the retention rate
  • Maximized the investment in existing PeopleSoft Campus Solutions by using Oracle Service Bus and Oracle SOA Suite for integration and leveraging common web services for future projects, supporting seamless application upgrades by removing specific customizations
  • Laid a solid foundation for future integration with Oracle RightNow cloud services through leveraging the existing investment in Oracle SOA Suite for integration while supporting a wide range of project initiatives

Why Oracle

Griffith University considered other open-source solutions but chose Oracle Fusion Middleware because the university had already been using PeopleSoft Campus Solutions for years and wanted to leverage its existing investment and maximize the performance of its Oracle applications.
 

We had great confidence in Oracle’s innovation. The seamless integration capability of Oracle Fusion Middleware with PeopleSoft applications can support the scalability we required for our peak enrollment periods. It made sense to choose an Oracle solution because of the strong support it would lend to our future growth, helping us to sustain a leading position in Australian higher education.

— Bruce Callow, CIO, Griffith University

Execution

Griffith University first implemented Oracle Data Integrator to build the data hub and perform data migration from PeopleSoft Campus Solutions to the new online enrollment platform. The company then implemented Oracle SOA Suite and Oracle Service Bus to simplify the enrollment process and web services design.

About Griffith University

Headquarters

 
Brisbane, Australia

Employees

 
5,500

Annual Revenue

 
$500 Million to $1 Billion

Partners

Integral, an Oracle partner, provided support to Griffith University for architecture design, code development for data integration, and web services development.

“Integral was very helpful and proved to be a valuable partner throughout the project. The team’s expertise and experience with Oracle Fusion Middleware enabled us to maximize our Oracle investment,” Callow said. 
Published:  Aug 11, 2014