Workday Podcast: Radical Cooperation in Higher Learning

Ravi Ravishanker, CIO at Wellesley College, and Derek Wolf, vice president of customer success at Alchemy, a Workday services partner, tell us how three colleges worked together to better adopt a new technology platform.

Josh Krist October 01, 2020
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There’s a fair amount of competition among colleges, yet they all share similar business challenges. The CIO from Wellesley College and a vice president from Alchemy, a Workday partner, reveal what happened when three institutions collaborated on a new student information system.

Creating three separate solutions that meet the same needs seems counterproductive. However, few organizations dare to collaborate with their competitors to do just that, which is why the cooperation among California College of the Arts, Bentley University, and Wellesley College is so radical.

These three schools recognized that they all needed a student information system that facilitates registration, protects students’ private information, and gives administrators tools to manage staff, federal aid, employee awards, and fees. So, instead of all three creating their own, nearly identical solutions, together they designed one student information system that each school deployed independently, saving significant time and money.

In this episode of the Workday Podcast, I speak with Ravi Ravishanker, CIO at Wellesley College, and Derek Wolf, vice president of customer success at Alchemy, a Workday services partner. They explain how the colleges chose a technology platform and established a shared set of design principles and best practices—which they used to guide their own solution deployments. 

Audio is also available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify

Here are some highlights of the conversation, edited for clarity. You can find other episodes of the Workday Podcast here.

  • “These universities took the time to look at how their campuses are run from a business and scalability perspective, so that they could drive the transformation needed to meet the future. If they had just lifted and shifted their existing processes to the new system, they would have been recreating workflows designed for past requirements and legacy technologies.”— Derek Wolf, vice president of customer success at Alchemy

  • “In the past, registration was a nerve-racking experience for students—and IT, because we had to make sure the systems stayed up. Our first-year registration of 625 students on Workday went remarkably well. Students completed the initial process in 29 seconds. And during registration, we did not get any calls about the browser hanging or the system going down.” — Ravi Ravishanker, CIO, Wellesley College

  • “Part of implementing a complex system like this is change management, and when it comes to students, it’s always a big challenge to make sure they’re properly informed and trained. So we had students, who attended Alchemy’s OnCampus program, help shape the documentation. They also advocated for students to be sure registration is equitable for everyone. That whole paradigm was very powerful.” — Ravi Ravishanker, CIO, Wellesley College

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