Digital transformation changed Mexico’s Aliat Universidades into an example of High Performance

Isabel Sagenmüller Planning News
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When a Higher Education institution grows, its internal processes must do so as well. What happens if the growth is constant? The pressure on operational performance is also constant.
It is the challenge that Aliat Universidades faced.

The continuous expansion of Aliat Universidades, the most extensive university network in Mexico, made it challenging to plan institutional infrastructure and reduce efficiencies in allocating student groups, faculty, schedules and classrooms.

In 2016 Aliat had as main objective the increase in student group sizes that at that time was 13. An increase means saving thousands of sections for each year.

Aliat thus needed a world-class technology provider, capable of centralizing these processes and improving operational performance decisions and academic planning, focusing on three key aspects:

  1. State-of-the-art and worldwide competitive technology
  2. A work team with know-how in Higher Education
  3. Long-term collaborative partnership 

Technology to the rescue

The first stage of the U-Planner/Aliat partnership was the setting up of a joint work team to undergo the following phases:

  1. Diagnosis. The team determined the central data management and storage needs of the Aliat network.
  2. Adaptation. U-Planning was identified as the most suitable solution. Likewise, specific functionalities of the solution were adapted to meet Aliat requirements.
  3. Consultancy. The U-Planner team provided change-management consultancy to facilitate the technology adoption and installation. 

Throughout the change process Aliat Universidades received the following benefits:

  1. State-of-the-art technology. Development of competitive, world-class technological solutions.
  2. Flexibility. Adaptation of knowledge and practices to fit the needs of the client.
  3. Scalability. Doing more with the same resources, optimizing their use to their maximum.
  4. Communication. Constant and fluid contact with the U-Planner team.
  5. Consulting. Support in the organization’s high-impact decision-making.
  6. Focus on growth. Sought to strengthen the institution’s indicators and growth.  

Real and verifiable results

Through U-Planning, Aliat unified the process of allocating student groups, automated manual processes, and established better procedures.

Today, the process is digital and integrates the following stages:

  1. Demand estimation for each faculty. Inscriptions are obtained according to study programs and the advance of students’ academic development according to the curricular plan. This information is assessed and verified with academic leaders of each campus, and the study program.
  2. Ideal schedule produced with the integrated information. This schedule is shared at local level allowing academic directors to propose improvements or make necessary changes.
  3. Optimum classrooms allocation. It takes into account existing capacity at local level, the specific requirements of each subject, and the group demand size for each subject.
  4. Assignment of campus’ best professors. Each campus manages its teaching assignment; the only requirement is that educators are certified at the highest level of performance in teaching evaluations.
  5. Evaluation of performance indicators:
a) Academic Quality. The Net Promoter Score index measures student satisfaction, improvements in academic approval indicators and retention indicators.
b) Operational Efficiency. Increase group size, occupancy rate of facilities, and improvement in profitability.

Additional operational benefits include:

  • Integration of interdisciplinary classes that favor social learning.
  • Consolidation of class groups with students from the same degrees.
  • Optimization of physical spaces.
  • Savings due to the postponement of unrequired investment in infrastructure.

Results were soon seen. In 2016, Aliat observed an increase in student group sizes from 13 to 19.1 individuals in a year, an increase of 47%. It means a saving of thousands of sections each year. Likewise, since the adoption of U-Planning, the percentage of annual optimization of student group sizes was 77% in the 2016-2018 period.

Conclusion

Aliat Universities received an integral service when implementing U-Planning. Furthermore, as added value, it accessed specialized consultancy in the automation of internal processes and in change management

The keys to success in this digital transformation process were the joint work by the Aliat and the U-Planner teams and effective communication among all participants in the process.

Today, the allocation logistic for student groups, faculty, schedules and classrooms is efficient and effective. You can review its success story here.

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