Implementation of a new Organisational Knowledge Management and e-Student System for use by Macedonia Higher Education.
Submitting InstitutionLondon South Bank University
Unit of AssessmentBusiness and Management Studies
Summary Impact TypeEconomic
Research Subject Area(s)
Information and Computing Sciences: Computer Software, Information Systems
Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services: Business and Management
Summary of the impact
This case study demonstrates how the application of GRBOM has been used
to deliver a national e-student system. Key impacts include:
- Providing an e-student CRM system accommodating 80% of the student
population in Macedonia;
- Savings of 237,014 student days with associated direct cost savings of
- Administrative and academic savings of 1,058 days and savings of
- Providing students with greater choice in the selection of their
degree subject and modules;
- Providing the first electronic communication infrastructure
integrating students, academics and their universities;
- Providing architecture and methodologies for CRM systems and an
e-platform for adoption by Macedonia's Government in other sectors.
This impact case study is underpinned by research carried out at London
South Bank University during 1996-2003 by Dilip Patel (Principal Lecturer)
and Shushma Patel (Senior Lecturer). The former was recognised as one of
the leading 50 Who's Who in Object Technology at the time of the research
To enable organisations to be dynamic and meet the changing needs of
their stakeholders, a robust information systems strategy that is flexible
and maps different business needs is required. Business functions,
processes, data and systems must be accessible, integrated and supported
by well-designed information infrastructure. The Generic Reusable Business
Object Model (GRBOM)  developed at LSBU, enabled large, complex systems
to evolve to become open and enterprise centric, and drive forward to meet
the needs of all stakeholders.
The GRBOM enabled different organisations to develop a core business
model that supports different business functions in various change
dimensions (service users, systems, market and service delivery, strategy,
user requirements, policies and procedures and legislative and regulatory
requirements). The research highlighted that in addition to reusable
object frameworks, the cultural (soft) aspects of the organisation needed
to be understood. Research at the university  highlighted the friction
between developers and end-users. A dynamic business object architecture
(DBOA) was developed that provided a conceptual understanding of the
business and helped to transform the fuzzy (soft) and hard to follow
business abstractions to a more structured and easier to understand road
map. The road map supports the integration of business functions (user
requirements, policies and procedures, and legislative and regulatory
requirements) with the operational processes and people.
The development of information systems that support knowledge processing
in `learning organisations' was supported by the development of the
EMPOWER framework at LSBU . To be usable by organisations, the GRBOM
and EMPOWER frameworks supported the convergence of computing and
communications technologies and a managerial focus on the process that
leads to effective knowledge processing that captures both the hard and
soft aspects of an environment within the context of organisational
The genericity and change dimensions and core business model helped to
understand the organisation and the problem situation, and identify a
coherent strategy for implementing information systems projects. The
research demonstrated how the reuse, pattern and business object modelling
dimensions of the framework provided appropriate tools for the initiation
and development of systems . To manage change, LSBU's research
identified factors for the successful implementation and adoption of
strategic information systems and the necessity for a cultural readiness
for change, by exploring the micro-level factors (end users), which
facilitate sustainable change outcomes .
The research provided insights into how change management can be
supported by understanding the knowledge processes, the readiness for
change micro-foundation factors and soft dynamics that exist in teams
within organisations. It led on to:
- The development of an enterprise system Generic Reusable Business
- A dynamic business object architecture that enabled the business
processes and work flows to be mapped and helped integrate different
References to the research
1. Hanley, D and Schleifer, P (1998). Who's Who in Object
Technology. Zamir, Saba (Editor). In Handbook of Object Technology.
CRC Press LLC
2. Choudhury I, Sun Y and Patel D (1997). Generic Reusable Business
Object Modelling — A Framework and its Application in British
Telecommunications plc. Orlowska, Maria E. and Zicari, Roberto (Editors).
Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Object Oriented
Information Systems (OOIS'97). Springer-Verlag, London
3. Hung K, Sun Y and Rose T (1997). A Dynamic Business Object
Architecture for an Insurance Industrial Project. Orlowska, Maria E. and
Zicari, Roberto (Editors). Proceedings of the 4th International
Conference on Object Oriented Information Systems (OOIS'97).
4. Phillips N and Patel D (1998). EMPOWER: An Object-Oriented Business
Information Systems Framework for Learning Organisations. Proceedings
of the Object Oriented Programming Systems, Languages, and, Applications
(OOPSLA'96, 97 & 98). Workshop on "Business object design and
implementation II". Patel D, Sutherland J and Miller J (Editors).
(1998), Springer-Verlag, London
5. Patel D and Patel S (2003). The Cognitive Process of Problem Solving:
A Business Perspective. International Journal of Brain and Mind,
4(2), pp 283-295.
6. Patel D, Samara K and Patel S (2012). The Role of Readiness-for Change
in Managing Knowledge Sharing Initiatives: A Case Study Grounded in
Micro-Foundations. Pingle, Sameer and Chugan, Pawan (Editors). Enhancing
Enterprise Competiveness through Human Capital and Operations Management.
Details of the impact
The Information Systems and Management Group have been collaborating
internationally since 1998. Under the EU's Tempus programme, projects
valued at €1.8million have been awarded to a consortium led by the Group.
Since 2008, the Group has worked with 9 international institutions on
Tempus and other knowledge exchange projects. In 2010, the Group was asked
by the consortium to lead a new Tempus project entitled `Innovation and
Knowledge Management towards e-Student Information System' (iKnow), funded
under a 2-year Tempus IV award (€560,000) which started in October 2010
The iKnow project drew substantially on the research carried out by Patel
and colleagues on the GRBOM. It resulted in and implemented the first
electronic student record and management system for 8 out of 10 (public
and private) HEIs in the Republic of Macedonia, covering a student cohort
of 80,000 out of a total population of 100,000.
Key deliverables from the project were (i) the production of a
student/electronic HEI system software platform, (ii) its testing and
circulation, (iii) dissemination via web promotion (social networks),
brochures, workshops, 100+ meetings, including steering, management,
project management and development meetings, (iv) demonstrations through
more than 100 activities (identified in the final Tempus report) . The
Evaluation Report from TEMPUS congratulated the consortium "on the high
standards reached in the activities", and on "the sustainability
of the system" and that "despite the initial resistance to change
at the beginning, staff at the universities have accepted the system and
even asked for new functionalities" .
Given the collaborative nature of the Tempus IV project and the various
stakeholders and beneficiaries involved, LSBU commissioned an Independent
Consultancy to visit Macedonia to ascertain the scope and reach of iKnow
impact over the period 2011 to 31 July 2013. The consultant interviewed a
representative from the Ministry of Education, the Rector, the
Vice-Rector, the Head of Computing, the Tempus lead from the University of
Skopje, and the Dean of Faculty at the South East European University .
The consultant confirmed that the iKnow project had successfully
delivered a comprehensive range of outputs and outcomes. This included the
introduction of new Government legislation to enable electronic record
keeping of personal details, and specifically, in the case of iKnow, to be
enacted and deployed across Macedonia's education system.
By 31 July 2013, eight of the Macedonian universities had completed a
full year using the iKnow system with the largest HEI (University of
Skopje) having used the system for two years. Prior to the introduction of
the iKnow system, students needed to collect and provide paper based
records and physically visit the University for an average of two days, to
enrol and register for courses in their first year of study (average
undergraduate course in Macedonia lasts 3.5 years). Returning students go
through the same procedure twice a year, taking approximately 1 day/annum
in total. To accommodate the registration and enrolment processes a
further 1058 days (558 administration days and 500 academic days) of
University time is required.
iKnow-Related Time and Associated Cost Savings:
||Cost per day (Euros)*
||Total Direct Cost (Euros)
|New Student enrolments
*costs provided by University of Skopje
The consultant's impact statement concluded that the savings identified
within the REF impact period were 237,014 student days with associated
cost savings of 2.2 million Euros. With additional time savings and costs
to the universities of 1,058 days and 43,660 Euros respectively .
In terms of significance, the iKnow system has been adopted extensively
within the 8 universities, delivering the following key benefits:
- For the first time, iKnow allows students with a greater choice of
degrees and degree modules;
- Provides a more efficient and flexible real time resource for planning
and scheduling of staff and resources, providing significant efficiency
- Provides a real time fully integrated financial recording and payment
system to support the management and deployment of resources;
- Provides dynamic student attendance records, registration fees,
transcripts with European Credit Transfer (ECT) based on the Bologna
process and assessment registration;
- Manages debt for fees and has resulted in the decrease in bad debt
from over 20% to less than 1%;
- Provides IT and the communication architecture and processes, for the
first time, allowing direct electronic communication with students,
parents and other stakeholders (e.g. via email, Facebook and Twitter);
- Provides and delivers critical HEI management information, on staff
performance allowing for more effective reward and promotion.
The Rector of the University of Skopje commented "all 23 faculties are
now using the system with the vast majority intending to further develop
the system to provide additional benefits" .
Further, the Dean of Computing commented "Professors have embraced
email and social media facilitated by the iKnow system to provide
efficient communication with individual students and classes" .
The Macedonian Ministry of Education representative confirmed to the
consultant, that the iKnow system represents, and has made, a significant
breakthrough for education in Macedonia. He confirmed that it is the very
first comprehensive and sophisticated electronic student management and
enrolment system ever adopted in Macedonia that has led to changes in
legislation to recognise electronic records as official documents.
Furthermore, the Macedonian government is well aware of the impact derived
from: (i) delivering sound data sets and real time information, and (ii)
informing the Government's understanding of higher education and planning.
The Ministry of Education, now promptly receives information on the
student population and its performance and this is used to support
government understanding and inform policy . The Government
representative also confirmed that the Government is considering adopting
iKnow for use throughout the school system .
Sources to corroborate the impact
 TEMPUS IV iKnow Final Report (Project 511342) — available on request
 TEMPUS IV iKnow Final Evaluation Report (Project 511342) — available
on request from LSBU.
 Independent Consultant's Visit Report (2013). Contact: Managing
Director, The Innovation Partnership.
 The Innovation Partnership Ltd iKnow Impact Statement (2013).
Contact: Managing Director, The Innovation Partnership.
 Statement: from Ministry of Education, Republic of Macedonia.