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Design Thinking Methodology for ERP Transformation at Leading UK University

Overview
A renowned UK university embarked on a strategic initiative to revamp its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.
Key Services
Digital Consulting
Technologies
Microsoft
The Challenge

An Outdated ERP system

Initially designed to streamline operations and manage core business processes, the ERP system had overtime become outdated, hindering academic and administrative tasks.

Its decentralised nature had also led to reduced process standardisation overtime. Additionally, an unintuitive interface and the limitations of integrating with new technologies also reduced the university’s capacity to evolve and meet the dynamic needs of the modern education landscape.

The institution recognised the urgent need to overhaul its ERP system with a solution more suited to its evolving needs. This required developing a compelling business case to justify the transformation and envisioning a system that would meet future demands. The project also entailed supporting procurement activities associated with this technology shift. The overarching aim was to achieve a seamless transition to a digital-centric operating model, maximising potential benefits and incorporating innovative ERP solutions that would increase both staff and student satisfaction.

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The Solution

Design thinking and user centric design techniques

To help the organisation define their digitally transformed future state, our team employed design thinking and user-centric design techniques such as user journey mapping to gain deep insights into the needs and aspirations of key stakeholders and users, including the student body.

We started by firstly identifying the top critical processes and creating detailed user personas that represented various segments of the university community, to drive focus throughout the project.

We then moved into ideation sessions with core stakeholders. Those sessions consisted of building empathy with the identified personas through a deep understanding of their existing pains and underlying needs, leading to the mapping of ‘As-Is’ vs ‘To-Be’ user journeys. Specifically, the ‘To-Be’ scenarios were created to address the identified pain points

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The Result

Compelling business case and redesign to enhance operational efficiency

The adoption of the design thinking methodology by the UK university profoundly transformed its approach to procuring a new ERP system. 

By centring the process around the real needs and experiences of its users, the university not only built a compelling business case and a strong case for change, but also effectively redesigned high-level processes to enhance operational efficiency.

The empathetic and iterative nature of design thinking facilitated a deep understanding of the users, ensuring that the functional requirements defined for the ERP system were genuinely grounded in real user needs, paving the way for a ERP solution that promises to be intuitive, efficient, and highly aligned with the university’s strategic goals.

You can read more about our Digital Consulting and design thinking services here.

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