The Indian arm of Japanese MNC Konica Minolta engaged in manufacture of advanced imaging and networking technologies products, early this year in February ventured into providing ERP solution to education sector in India and launched an ERP solution platform by the name of Educo ERP. Curriculum magazine spoke with Yuji Nakata, Managing Director Konica Minolta India to know more about this strategic venture and how it is going to impact working of our educational institutions.
To start with, tell us what made you to get into education ‘ERP business’?
Education is an important business domain in India. Education is valued greatly by Indian society. As a company we wanted to come into education as we see a convergence in our printing solutions and the way education is getting increasingly digitized, we see it as a big business opportunity. We did a market survey and found that though there were small companies offering solutions ERP in education, but they were concentrated in a few areas and due to skewed distribution there was really no national player. There are all kinds of people offering ERP to institutions. For instance, there are people who come to institutions and say I’ll build for up you, so comprehensive ERP is missing.
But ERP has been there around for some time now, and it is almost all over the places?
Agree a few universities do have a high end ERP. But in most schools and colleges, it is still at a nascent stage and they really need a solution that is technologically reliable and easy to use.
Why is a reliable ERP solution critical?
ERP is at the heart of an institution. MIS data is being delivered in real time, so all processes and decisions are now based on data processes. So, it must be reliable and easy to use. ERP design has to be generic so that it allows acceptance of digital formats, governance and adaptations. We are into digital era and ERP is no longer domain of a few specialized workers, rather it will create a new generation of knowledge workers. That is where we come.
How are you very different from others?
ERP’s are analytically different on fundamentally three issues–Internet connectivity, adoption by faculty and pricing. Our platform works with 2G. Our solution has user experience usability. It can be adopted for any process. It is very simple to use and needs almost no prior training. It is highly configurable and maps each and every process of an institution independently. The templates are there. They can adopt best practices with its use. It updates automatically. Importantly, institution doesn’t have to invest on any extra infra structure.
You mean to say there is no need of training at all?
As long as staff can access the computer and know there processes, they needn’t to worry. They need minimal training and have to just populate data on template.
And your pricing is most innovative rather than competitive?
Our pricing model is not based on number of students as is the practice with most ERPs. Irrespective of the size of student enrolment, our price is for the version you’re using and renewals.. So whether you have 100 students or 1000, that doesn’t factor in our pricing.
Many would see your venturing into Education ERP as a reverse innovation given that you’re doing it in India only for the present?
See for many institutions who haven’t had any ERP before, our technology and software will do a leapfrog thing for them. And I am sure, you have best for me. So, we’re expecting a large number of institutions to use our solution and we may move to a single-window system for many solutions within the campus. And yes, the day will come, when it will be in demand globally. So we are innovating in India first!