TechnologyOne expands presence in UK with Institute of Education win

Technology One Limited (ASX:TNE), a leading Australian provider of enterprise software solutions, has beaten 12 established vendors in the United Kingdom, including higher education market-leader Agresso, to provide its financials solution to The Institute of Education (IOE), a college of the federal University of London. The contract involves the provision of finance, reporting and purchasing solutions to replace the existing financial accounting system across IOE.

The contract was awarded to TechnologyOne after a comprehensive tender process, conducted by a project evaluation team of four heads of department and other key financial staff. This followed a review in 2006 of the incumbent system, wherein an external review recommended replacement of the hybrid finance systems with a modern fully featured alternative which could be fully integrated with existing systems and offer capacity for expansion and flexibility for change.

With over 6,000 post graduate students and 800 staff, IOE is the largest post graduate centre for the study of education in the United Kingdom and one of the leading graduate schools of education in the world. IOE functions from a number of buildings within the Bloomsbury area of central London and has undergone a period of strong growth since 1997.

To manage the increasing complexity and growth of its operations, IOE required a solution which would integrate a number of disparate systems into one key financial package, facilitating unified procedures and allowing executive-level visibility of key performance metrics. The new finance system had to include leading edge web services and XML integration capabilities, meet all statutory and regulatory reporting requirements and enable drill down and online inquiry of the system by all end users, both financial and academic.

Implementation of the system began in earnest in July 2007 and the final phase is due to be finalised in December 2008. Once complete, IOE will realise a number of benefits, including increased efficiency and effective management of finances through clear visibility of current financial status.
Marcus McDonald, Deputy Secretary Corporate Services, IOE, said that when they went to tender, there were a number of key criteria they used to select a solution.

“The TechnologyOne solution met the functional requirements of the Institute, delivering integrated workflow and business intelligence. Its flexibility also meant that it was the best solution for our requirements as it can be tailored for our unique needs.

“The user-friendly interface was also a key factor in our decision, as we felt it would encourage our employees to utilise the system. For example, our reporting processes will be simplified, reports easy to create and the XLOne integration will allow users to access reports on demand, in a file-format they are familiar with.

“We knew we would have a dedicated implementation partner and were confident they were committed to the ongoing support and development of the proposed package and would be able to supply the system at an acceptable cost and within deadlines.”

IOE is TechnologyOne’s first significant customer in the higher education market in the United Kingdom since the office was opened in March 2006. Joseph Slattery, EMEA Regional Director – International, TechnologyOne, says that this contract highlights the inroads TechnologyOne has made against the strong, established incumbents in the market.

“The market conditions and dynamics in the United Kingdom are very different to Australia, so we have spent the last 18 months focusing on building our name and brand recognition. The UK industry is conservative and risk-averse and they want to guarantee that their partner is in for the long haul.

“To overcome these challenges and to illustrate the high quality of our solutions, we had to take some unique steps throughout the tender process to demonstrate to IOE our long term commitment from the board down. We invited the IOE team to visit Australia to meet with Adrian Di Marco and the senior management team along with visiting four reference sites, including Bond and Canberra University. This had a direct impact on their conviction that we could deliver on our promises.”

Adrian Di Marco, Executive Chairman, TechnologyOne says this is a substantial investment which has subsequently begun to pay off.

“We have now secured three more customers in the UK, taking us to four strategically important customers. Our commitment to establishing a direct operation where we develop, market, sell, implement and support our solutions is a unique value proposition that does not currently exist in the UK market and we believe this will continue to be embraced as our reputation grows. We remain confident that we will be able to build a substantial operation over the next few years”.