Fusion of Portal, ERP, Learning Management System
and Knowledge Management. Since the late 1990s, Virginia
Tech has been a leader in using its enterprise portal to reinvent
how students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other stakeholders experienced
the universitys services and knowledge resources. Ongoing,
cross-departmental design teams progressively fused academic and
administrative services through the enterprise portal, using SCTs
Banner suite of products. Moreover, a solutions team used the portal
to enable users to experience the campus learning management system,
repositories of course support materials, and other academic support
tools. This project stimulated a broader campus initiative on knowledge
asset management, which brought together several vice provosts,
the dean of libraries, the general counsel, executive director of
the book store, and Dixon to develop the university infrastructure,
policies, and protocols to digitize, repurpose, and share the universitys
digital assets. This repository included course materials and learning
tradecraft, research, articles from refereed journals, and application
assets from public service activities and the Extension Division.
Midway through this project, Dixon was given the title of Enterprise
Solutions Officer, and entrusted with convening enterprise solutions
initiatives of this nature, which she has continued to the present.
New Relationships with Technology Solutions
Providers. As the nature of Virginia Techs technology
infrastructure and solutions inventory have changed, so has its
relationship with its technology providers. Techs relationship
with SCT, its ERP solution provider, evolved into more of a services
and solution partnership. As proprietary software and applications
were replaced by interoperable applications , the university came
to rely on SCT to provide a broad selection of integration, implementation,
and solution enhancement services. Over time, advances in Web services
enabled Virginia Tech to seamlessly integrate Web-based services
into its applications portfolio, furthering the solution provider
Web Services Extend Virginia Tech Services.
Virginia Tech has used Web services to integrate best-of-breed
solutions into its applications solutions portfolio. It uses Sallie
Mae Solutions for billing and related functions. Moreover, under
Susan Dixons direction, Virginia Tech has developed several
best-of-breed solutions, including an innovative search
engine for e-knowledge repositories. These solutions are being used
by hundreds of enterprises.
New Value from ICT Investment.
As Enterprise Solutions Officer, Dixon is called on to justify new
initiatives by a sophisticated review process that examines both
return on investment (ROI) and value on investment (VOI), a set
of metrics that examines the intangible, non-financial outcomes
that are enabled by technology capabilities. At Virginia Tech, VOI
has focused on the capacity to reinvent business processes and enhance
relationships with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other stakeholders;
manage and leverage the universitys knowledge assets and engage
in external sharing; create vibrant communities of practice in a
wide variety of areas, both academic and administrative; and develop
the personal capabilities of individuals and the enterprise as a
whole. The university has continued to realize significant value
from its investment in technology and reinvention of processes and
A Continuing Relationship with Alumni.
The enterprise portal-based experience has provided Virginia Tech
with an instrument to forge an ongoing relationship with its alumni.
President Charles Steger has offered alumni free continuing education
experiences in order to engage them in a perpetual learning relationship.
A wide variety of other experiences have been offered through the
portal to engage alumni in the daily life of the university.
Resources of Interest
Hagel, John and John Seely Brown. 2001. Your
Next IT Strategy. Harvard Business Review, October, 105113.
Norris, Donald M. 2002. Assuring Value from Your Technology
Investment. White Paper, October.