We have a highly tech-focused education model: Divesh Kamboj, Vice president, IT, Sharda University

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Published: October 23, 2019 1:38:30 AM

Our journey with Oracle started way back in 2009-10 when we started with Oracle technologies.

All our finances, HR systems and our campus solution systems are powered by Oracle.

Sharda University is one of the biggest higher education providers in North India. It has almost 20,000 students from more than 80 countries. Across undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral, it offers more than 216 programmes in 13 schools to its students. Operating on such a scale led this private university in Greater Noida to think how it can provide a different model of education to its students that will be beneficial for the university, country, as well as students. “That is why we added the best of technology in every aspect of education,” says Divesh Kamboj, vice-president – IT, Sharda University. A big user of Oracle solutions, he says that technology has aided the traditional teaching model, helping students to learn beyond the scope of the classrooms. “This has significantly increased student satisfaction rate and their learning ability. This is also reflecting in their good results,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interview.

Excerpts:

How are technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Blockchain transforming the education sector?

These technologies are entering the mainstream realm. Our students are already pursuing projects on these technologies. They are thinking of future-proofing their careers and are passionately learning the intricacies and real-life/practical applications of these technologies in our everyday lives.

Can you share a few examples of how you have embedded technology into the fabric of your organisation?

Our attendance system is mobile-enabled. This allows teachers to capture attendance on their devices or automatically record via the app. Our systems are all driven in a self-service model so students feel more empowered. We have also unlocked a lot of flexibility and system empowerment to better serve the administration department. All this feed into creating data, and upon gleaning this data for insights, we’ve been able to help the management to take some strategic decisions faster. Overall, it’s a highly technology focused education model that we are working on and this is yielding good results.

What is your innovation strategy? How are you future-proofing the University against technology disruption?

Today, students are more demanding. They want more self-service options, they want features like voice-based digital assistants/chatbots to resolve queries in no time. They seek features like automatic reminders, for example, for fee payment. Automatic payment options can be used to transact seamlessly. These are some initiatives as part of our innovation roadmap, which will get more advanced and robust in the coming months.

How has Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse transformed your business? What’s the impact on teachers and students at large?

We decided to load crucial data to leverage the performance aspect that provides power analytics. We took all the crucial datapoints that we had in our classic ERP systems, we moved that over into the Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud. On top of that, we used the Oracle Analytics Cloud (OACS) and this analytics cloud is running much faster on this particular model than the classic traditional one. We were doing all of this data capture and analysis on spreadsheets/excel files earlier which were tedious to maintain. Given Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse is a self-managed database, we can just focus on extracting the maximum business value from the data without having to worry about the data management process. In fact, the decisions we’ve made based upon these faster, deeper insights are resulting in the overall betterment of the campus—be it in terms of administration, student experience or satisfaction of the management team.

You highlighted the analytics aspect. Tell us about your larger, strategic partnership with Oracle.

Our journey with Oracle started way back in 2009-10 when we started with Oracle technologies. All our finances, HR systems and our campus solution systems are powered by Oracle. We also had a few third-party systems that were offering specialised services. However, with the advent of cloud, we extended our engagement with Oracle as a strategic partner, and they’ve been proactive in suggesting the best possible solutions to us. We were able to use Oracle’s products like the Autonomous Database and the Analytics Cloud, right out of the box. Overall, Oracle is helping us build a compelling technology roadmap to future-proof our unique education model.

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