Universidad EAN Breaking a Babel Tower Applying SAP as a Tool Under a PMO Model

Universidad EAN Breaking a Babel Tower Applying SAP as a Tool Under a PMO Model

Diego Cardona (Universidad EAN, Colombia), Diego Montañez (Universidad EAN, Colombia), Edwin Lozada (Universidad EAN, Colombia) and Cesar Augusto Jiménez León (Universidad EAN, Colombia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1934-9.ch020
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This chapter describes the PMO model used to renovates the information systems of the Universidad EAN that before 2015 operated with multiple obsolete tools, generating incidents in the management of the information required for its operation. As part of the institutional innovation project implemented to ensure economic and administrative efficiency besides its strategic alignment, a SAP-based solution was implemented allowing it to move from a technological babel tower with almost 40 independent information systems in multiple platforms, towards a comprehensive platform that ensured a unified interoperability model with a scalable hardware infrastructure, using state-of-the-art applications supporting the provision of self-services to the community, expanding IT capabilities, reducing the risks, increasing the information security, improving the quality of service, and, despite being it in a stabilization stage, has been supporting the operation in an efficient and effective way, as shows the institutional results from the financial and academic quality perspectives.
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Institutional Data


According to institutional documents (EAN, 2018), operations began as the Escuela de Administración de Negocios – EAN on August 10, 1967, with an Associate Degree in Business Management. Subsequently, on October 11, 1968, Hildebrando Perico Afanador, Cecilia Crissien de Perico, Carlos Ramírez Cardona, Álvaro Rubio Salas, and Carlos Alfonso Crissien Aldana signed its founding charter and after almost 40 years of success and in recognition of the relevance of the academic processes developed, the Ministry of National Education recognizes it as a University through Resolution No. 2470 of May 30, 2006.

Currently and as a result of the excellence of the processes associated with the institutional substantive functions of teaching, research and extension, it has managed to position itself to promote sustainable entrepreneurship, considering leadership and innovation as fundamental elements in the generation of abundance for humanity, being one of the few Higher Education Institutions in the country to obtain the High Quality Institutional Accreditation, recognition that it has held since 2013 and that was already renewed by the Ministry of National Education through Resolution No. 29499 of December 29, 2017, reflecting the institutional vocation to maintain the highest quality standards for the development of its substantive functions.

Aware of the need for self-improvement, the Universidad EAN has undergone international scrutiny of important accreditation systems, among which it is worth mentioning the ABET that, fulfilling the demanding conditions for the teaching of Engineering in the United States of North America, accredited the Production Engineering Bachelor Degree in 2012 and renewed it in September 2018. Another relevant accreditation is that conferred by the ACBSP, also in the United States of America, in the area of knowledge of Management Sciences, who after of an exhaustive review of the degrees in that area of knowledge, they certified them in their entirety since 2008, renewing them in 2018. In this same area of knowledge, but in the field of public accounting, in the United Kingdom, the ACCA certified the Universidad EAN in 2017 to train accountants with the highest international standards. In the perspective of the higher institutional purpose related to sustainable entrepreneurship, in September 2018, the ACEEU certified the Universidad EAN as an institution with a clear orientation towards entrepreneurship. This interest is not only restricted to the academic sphere, but also to the support areas that have achieved ISO 9001 certification for more than a decade with the associated periodic updates.

After more than half a century of activity and sustainable growth in all aspects, including physical and technological infrastructure, as well as a healthy financial behavior, several improvement opportunities were identified that required attention and especially in relation the information management for the decision-making process exploited through a project whose management is describe below.

Situation 2015

With the change of the Chancellor in November 2014, a deep revision of the structure of the Universidad EAN was developed, which would respond to the need to stop the deterioration of the financial margin that had taken place during the previous years as a result of a growth model that modified the institutional financial balance (Advantis - BOT, 2017) and that included key milestones such as the recognition as University in 2006, the obtaining of the High Quality Institutional Accreditation conferred by the Ministry of National Education in 2013 and the international accreditations of various degrees in the area of Management Sciences by ACBSP in 2008 and the Bachelor in Production Engineering by ABET in 2012, with a redirection of the academic proposal from a focus on management with an emphasis on entrepreneurship towards an University with a variety of degrees in different areas of knowledge, in addition to the certification of all the processes in ISO 9001 since 2008.

The policies of academic, management and financial operation of the Universidad EAN had allowed a sustained growth of the income until the first semester of 2014, in the high rank of the peer Universities, sustained in the increase of new students as a result of the extension of portfolio and the significant increase in the tuition fees, however, by that time it was already intuited that in the short term it would not be possible to maintain this positive dynamic because the trend of the base of national aspirants was decreasing and the macroeconomic contraction indicated that it would not be possible to continue increasing the tuition fees in a significant way in such a way that it would remain attractive as a result of institutional positioning. On the other hand, the policy of expanding the portfolio with new degrees had not generated the expected impact, with high variability in the results of enrollment and financial performance of a significant part of that portfolio below expectations with more spending than income, despite the changes in the structure of costs and expenses that did not compensate for the effort, explained mainly by the progressive change of the mix of professors towards higher-profile teachers with remunerations above the market average, as a necessary condition for obtaining the described achievements, all of which clearly indicated the need to review the growth approach of the Universidad EAN to ensure its sustainability in the economic dimension (Advantis - BOT, 2017).

After a careful analysis developed with the support of experts, it was concluded that the Universidad EAN should intervene integrally through the so-called Project 2020 in order to ensure economic and administrative efficiency, as well as strategic management aligned with the expectations of academic quality through 15 initiatives classified according to their impact on 10 efficiency initiatives, 3 strategic initiatives, and 2 transversal initiatives; one of them aimed at technologically supporting all the processes and that was in charge of the Financial and Logistics Vice-Chancellery with direct responsibility at the head of the Information and Communications Technology and Innovation Management.

The Information and Communications Technology and Innovation Management made a diagnosis of the institutional situation in relation to technological support and documented a large number of incidents related to the management of the information required for the operation and for decision-making that will ensure sustainability in a highly changing and turbulent environment such as that associated with the Higher Education Sector, which required a process of evolution of the educational model that would accommodate the trends imposed by the fourth industrial revolution (Cardona D., 2018). He also documented the high level of technological obsolescence of the University and the low levels of automation that generated cost overruns for the alternative schemes required to support the operation.

Key Terms in this Chapter

COLCIENCIAS: The Administrative Department of Science, Technology, and Innovation is the Colombian governmental institution in charge for defining and implementing the National System of Science, Technology and Innovation.

PERT: Stands for Program Evaluation and Review Technique, it is a representation of a project’s schedule, showing the sequence of tasks and the critical path of tasks that must be completed on time in order for the project to meet its completion deadline.

PMO: Stands for Project Management Office, it is a team that sets, maintains and ensures standards for project management across that organization.

CNA: Stands in Spanish for “Consejo Nacional de Acreditación” is the council responsible for defining the quality policy in higher education in Colombia.

ISO: The International Organization for Standardization is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations promoting worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial standards.

IT: Stands for Information Technology, it is the use of computers to store, retrieve, transmit, and manipulate data.

ACEEU: The Accreditation Council for Entrepreneurial and Engaged Universities is a newly formed council dedicated to recognizing and promoting entrepreneurial and engaged universities. Initiated by the University-Industry Innovation Network, it is driven by an international group of experts in engagement and entrepreneurship.

SNIES: Stands in Spanish for “National Higher Education Information System,” is an information system that has been created to provide the necessary information of the Colombian higher education sector, that allows planning, monitoring, evaluation, advice, inspection, and surveillance of the sector.

BBP: Stands for Business BluePrint is a document presenting the identified business models, best practices, analyzing the gaps and personalizing the process while preserving its efficiency.

ICT: Stands for Information and Communications Technology, is a general term for Information Technology that stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications and computers, as well as necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage, and audiovisual systems, that enable users to access, store, transmit, and manipulate information.

EBITDA: Stands for Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization is an accounting measure for profitability.

IS: Stands for Information Systems, are formal, sociotechnical, organizational systems designed to collect, process, store, and distribute information.

ABAP: Stands for Advanced Business Application Programming, formerly Allgemeiner Berichts-Aufbereitungs-Prozessor, is a high-level programming language created by SAP.

ABET: Formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc., is a non-governmental organization that accredits post-secondary education programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology.

ERP: Stands for Enterprise Resource Planning, it is the integrated management of main business processes, often in real-time and mediated by software and technology as a suite of integrated applications.

ACBSP: The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, formerly the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs is a U.S. organization offering accreditation services to business programs focused on teaching and learning.

ASAP Methodology: Stands for Accelerated SAP is a standard SAP-related project preparation and systems implementation method, developed and updated by consultants that are involved in implementing SAP.

ACCA: The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants is a global professional accounting body offering the Chartered Certified Accountant qualification.

SAP: Stands for Systems Applications and Products in Data Processing, is an ERP software as well the name of a company founded in 1972. It is a number of fully integrated modules covering every aspect of a business model.

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