Industry:

Public Sector

Location:

Perth, Western Australia

Services:

Applications, Cloud

Navitas is an Australian company that pioneered an innovative university partnership model of education in Perth in 1994. Now a leading global education provider, it has built an extensive network of 130+ colleges and campuses in 31 countries across Australia, New Zealand, North America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

From pre-university and pathway programs to university, to English language and vocational training and undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, Navitas reaches more than 70,000 aspirational learners each year.

With deep sector expertise and a longstanding commitment to education, Navitas has a passion for discovering new technologies and models of teaching and learning that will improve education now and into the future.

Business challenge

With learning opportunities and solutions designed to suit a diverse range of students, Navitas is continually adapting to meet the needs of the changing global environment.

Navitas relies on a strong IT backbone to keep its complex global operation running, but the existing on-premise platform, supported by a small global team, was aging. The procurement and finance application was hosted on-premise creating administrative overheads and obligations, an inability to access new functionality, and poor performance. Needing to increase the disaster recovery (DR) capability of these key applications, and with the Oracle® E-Business Suite (EBS) nearing end of life meaning without an upgrade limited support options would be available, Navitas sought a more modern approach.

The Solution

Navitas assessed and costed several options for initial consideration. These included adopting a SaaS model, an on-premise upgrading followed by a lift and shift to a cloud platform, or taking on a simultaneous upgrade and migration project.

With a cloud-first strategy for the business, upgrading and migrating its existing on-premise EBS solution to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) was the logical choice. Comparisons against AWS and Microsoft Azure demonstrated that OCI offered the most stable, supportable, scalable platform for the best value. It offered increased flexibility, reliability and performance at a lower cost than either on-premise or other cloud approaches.

Additionally, the license terms offered Navitas more value on OCI than if the company had continued to use an on-premise strategy, and included access to Oracle Universal Credits. The company also needed a simple approach that its lean IT team could support.

As Navitas’ trusted incumbent service provider, DXC Technology’s Oracle Practice was engaged to:

  • Build the necessary infrastructure on OCI to host EBS and its associated applications,
  • Migrate existing EBS applications from the on-premise environment to the OCI environment,
  • Establish connectivity between Navitas and the Oracle OCI environment,
  • Upgrade the EBS environment from R12.1.3 to R12.2.9, and
  • Build, configure, and test DR instances for the EBS environments.

Ben Dansie, Group Finance Systems and Process Manager at Navitas, is responsible for all finance apps, reporting and planning using EBS, and strategic road mapping of future requirements to ensure they remain fit for purpose. He commented, “DXC was managing our existing EBS estate, and we had a valued relationship. We were more than comfortable working with them to evaluate options and didn’t see the need to seek any outside parties as our implementation partner.”

 

“We had an excellent team of internal and external resources. My team impressed me by rising to the occasion. With a project of this scope, you almost expect issues; however, everything ran smoothly. It was evident the DXC team knew their stuff with any little challenge resolved quickly and effectively and a seamless changeover achieved.”

Ben Dansie Group Finance Systems and Process Manager, Navitas

From design to implementation

To initiate the project, the DXC team drafted the infrastructure design, clearly articulating what pieces would be built in OCI and ensuring any concerns were addressed. Once the design was signed off, DXC built and provisioned the infrastructure before moving to a sandbox environment where the Navitas team performed full regression testing. At this point, third party tools were integrated, followed by a complete production dry run with another testing round before launching the production build.

The production implementation was estimated to run for three days, however, was handed back to Navitas by DXC 24 hours early. Dansie commented, “We had an excellent team of internal and external resources. My team impressed me by rising to the occasion. With a project of this scope, you almost expect issues; however, everything ran smoothly. It was evident the DXC team knew their stuff with any little challenges resolved quickly and effectively and a seamless changeover achieved.”

Results and benefits

While initially impacted by COVID-19, the project was ultimately delivered remotely on time, under budget (by 20%) and with no disruption to operations.

Migrating EBS to OCI provided a more flexible, reliable, and high performing solution. It lowered the risks associated with aging applications and infrastructure, and end-users love the new web-based interface.

Considerable performance improvements have already been reported, particularly in remote locations - attributed to the cloud infrastructure. Its also proved to be a lower cost solution with savings realised due to cloud licences stretching further than they did on-premise.

The upgraded application is now supported until 2031, with access to functionality not previously available.

While Navitas had backup and recovery procedures in place, they were not sufficient to meet the desired recovery time objective. The improved DR capabilities of the new solution offer a proper, like-for-like failover capability, with the return to service in one to four hours – inline with Navitas’ expectations.

With procurement requisitioning the most significant part of Navitas’ user interface, refinements were delivered. The procurement process was previously three or four steps/ screens; now, a modern pop-up window provides complete visibility in one screen. More flexibility around tables and options to move data around allows users to personalise how they see an app and do what works best for them.

With Oracle Integration and Migration, the company can integrate other standalone applications with EBS and access new services to facilitate data capture and visualisation. The nature of OCI and flexibility to add new services using Universal Credits is also a bonus, with Navitas recently implementing the Oracle Integration Tool for banking transactions.

The project also ensures Navitas has a platform that allows for innovation. This is where the thought leadership brought by the DXC partnership is most valuable. Navitas use the DXC team as a sounding board to build their knowledge and understanding of what’s possible. “We now have a stable platform that gives us some fantastic opportunities to innovate. We affected this quantum change to our business with minimal impact, and it’s provided the framework for doing things more efficiently than previously. I’m excited about that,” said Dansie.

“We now have a stable platform that gives us some fantastic opportunities to innovate. We affected this quantum change to our business with minimal impact, and it’s provided the framework for doing things more efficiently than previously. I’m excited about that.”

Ben Dansie Group Finance Systems and Process Manager, Navitas

For others considering the same path, Dansie’s advice is not to be intimidated. He said, “We undertook a major and complex change – but it was achieved with ease. Some people within Navitas were apprehensive about the scale and magnitude, but with the right partner, we achieved success in five months.”

In conclusion, Dansie said, “From a customer perspective, this has been an overwhelmingly successful project. DXC demonstrated excellence throughout – in their recommendations, planning, resourcing, and the finished product. I have worked with many Oracle professionals over 20+ years, and the DXC team stands a fair way ahead of many of them. Every team member demonstrated excellence in their area of expertise. All their efforts and the knowledgeable and professional manner in which they conducted themselves while representing DXC was outstanding.”

 

The future

The positive impact the DXC team made has resulted in ongoing support and subsequent enhancements currently underway. Navitas is looking to build integration capabilities and expand the Oracle Enterprise Command Centre (ECC) dashboards for visual reporting. The ECC provides users with information- driven navigation to help focus on the right information, at the right time, to make the right decisions.

DXC will continue providing managed services with special ad hoc project work as required – such as transitioning smaller colleges using accounting packages like XERO in a standalone way to integrate with Oracle EBS. This would not have been possible in the legacy environment.

"We undertook a major and complex change – but it was achieved with ease. Some people within Navitas were apprehensive about the scale and magnitude, but with the right partner, we achieved success in five months."

Ben Dansie Group Finance Systems and Process Manager, Navitas

Navitas is also working with DXC to assess new planning, reconciliation and consolidation options to replace an existing aging Hyperion Planning solution.

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