2021 Enterprise Automation Award Nomination: The Worcester Polytechnic Institute: Move to the Cloud

What were the underlying reasons or business implications for the need to automate business processes? Describe the business and technical challenges the company had.

In 2016, Worcester Polytechnic Institute started their transition phase of moving their legacy ERP system, Banner to Workday. The need for the transition was primarily to increase efficiency for the departments, students, and faculty.

Business Challenges: Departments like the Registrar, Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Athletics, and the President’s Office were impacted by the slowness of obtaining information they needed for reports, analytics, and real-time covid information from the applications they interacted with, which negatively impacted the business and the student experience. The greatest impact to the University was obtaining student data and historical information for analytical analysis after from day to day operational Business.

Technical Challenges: Because the departments were impacted by the slowness of data updates and integrations, the IT department determined that they needed a better solution to acquire student and HCM data for their systems to operate efficiently. The school needed a more robust solution that would improve business continuity. Legacy system provided limited capabilities and did not see feature updates that would address the Universities concerns. In addition, Banner had limited support to assist in providing a cross-functional exchange of information between Salesforce, Tableau, and Amazon Redshift that further limited them from delivering additional integrations to the departments. This prompted the team to identify Workday as their new student and HCM system, and a need for an integration platform.

When considering an integration platform, the IT department needed a platform that was compatible with Workday; since it was going to be their single-source of truth. They needed an integration tool with capabilities that would help them in the future such as broad connectivity and compatibility with other applications and systems (including data-based connections), the ability to consume data while at REST, and the ease-of-use. At the beginning of the transition, there were hundreds of integrations that needed to be migrated from Banner to Workday, so having a product that was easy to use reduced development wait time and increased efficiency moving integration from build to production.

Describe your automation use case(s) and business process (s).

Since adopting SnapLogic, WPI has achieved many integration use cases:

  1. Move to the cloud: They did a phased approach where they first migrated HCM and Finance from Banner to Workday, and then continued to move Student to Workday.

  2. Analytics and Reporting: Bring data from various data sources (eProjects, Salesforce, Workday, etc.) into Amazon Redshift, their enterprise cloud data warehouse and build analytics and dashboards on Tableau. For example,

  3. They’d bring in data from their WPI eProjects so that the research department could view the trends and information on projects

  4. The Registrar would have access to analytics and reports around student applications, acceptance, and enrollment

  5. Create Covid-19 dashboards for the President, staff, faculty and student to stay up-to-date on Covid-19 cases, vaccination rates, # of people recovered from Covid-19, etc

  6. They’d also bring in data from different sources into Workday Prism, Workday’s analytics application, so that the Registrar can build their reports directly in Workday

  7. SnapLogic is also used to run process workflows for all departments like Finance, HR, University Advancement, Enrollment, Undergrad Enrollment, Library, Athletics, Police, Parking, Benefits, Payroll, Cherwell, and others. All the departments benefit from SnapLogic to have their operational processes run.

Describe how you implemented your automations and processes. Include details such as what SnapLogic features and Snaps were used to build out the automations and processes.

The IT team took a phased approach for their Banner-Workday transition project by first migrating their HCM and Finance over and then migrating Student as a second phase approach.

Snaps used: Workday, Workday Prism Analytics, Tableau, SQLServer, Salesforce along with all other basic snaps like Joiner, Router, mapper etc

What were the business results after executing the strategy? Include any measurable metrics (ie. productivity improvement, speed improvement, % reduced manual inefficiencies, etc.)

The IT team is self-sufficient such that they don’t have to be dependent on 3rd party consultants to build/maintain integrations, or rely on point-to-point, out-of-the-box integrations. Everyone on the IT team can build and deliver integrations using SnapLogic. This provides redundancy and team collaboration, which helps create a simplified data architecture allowing the department to construct a data management strategy rather than focusing on short-term quick fixes (ie. OOTB integrations).

Metrics include:

  • The migration from Banner to Workday – Finance and HCM – took about 2 years and the team migrated over 10 years’ worth of data.

  • The team is currently moving millions of data each day into Amazon Redshift for data analytics. Real-time data is updated into Workday and Tableau for reporting

  • Over 250 integrations have been developed to run the campus’s processes

Who was and how were they involved in building out the solution? (Please include the # of FTEs, any partners or SnapLogic professional services who were involved on the implementation)

5 developers use SnapLogic today to build and deliver integrations for the entire campus.

Anything else you would like to add?

The WPI IT team uses SnapLogic as their enterprise integration platform and will continue to build up the skills for SnapLogic so that integrations are scalable and don’t need to rely on consultants to manage integrations.