‘Community source’ project helps colleges tackle enterprise systems

Cohorts of colleges embrace administrative systems created “by universities, for universities.”

Large, commercial enterprise systems that handle functions such as campus finances and human resources are notorious for being costly, inflexible, and often hard to manage.

That’s why a small but growing number of institutions are turning instead to open-source alternatives developed collaboratively “by universities, for universities” through the nonprofit Kuali Foundation.

The effort began in 2004 when a handful of institutions—including Indiana University, Cornell, and the University of Arizona—joined together to develop an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that was less costly and better met their needs.

Nearly a decade later, some dozen universities are now using the Kuali Finance System (KFS)—and the Kuali Foundation has launched a number of other software projects that total about 100 users in all.

(Next page: Why lower costs aren’t the only reason universities are using Kuali software)

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