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Indiana University

Case Study: Improving the Research Enterprise with Kuali Financials


Indiana University (IU), founded in 1820, is a public university serving a combined student body of over 110,000 students. With eight campuses, its two main campuses are located in Bloomington and Indianapolis. One of IU’s most notable alumni is James Watson, one of the men credited with discovering the structure of DNA. The university boasts an attitude of innovation as it was named the world’s 37th most innovative university in 2016. IU needed a better financial administration solution to continue its legacy of producing groundbreaking research and providing quality education.
“I believe the community of higher [education] serving higher ed for higher ed is incredibly relevant. Having that intimate knowledge and relationship with the constituents that the software is to serve is a key defining separation. [Kuali Financials is] a product that has been out for well over a decade. There are numerous major institutions using it as their primary financial system. At a bare minimum, it is worthy of at least a comparison. . . . We estimate we saved almost $15-20 million compared to doing the traditional path approach.”

Rob Lowden
Associate VP of Enterprise Systems, Indiana University


Though Indiana University played a key role in Kuali’s early product development, the institution developed its own homegrown system to manage finances. However, IU reached a critical juncture in the realization that, as an individual institution, it could not keep up with the pace of innovation. It turned to the higher education community to find like-minded, forward-thinking partners for solutions.


Indiana University found in Kuali an open-sourced, cost-effective financial administration solution. Kuali Financials provided freedom in its open-source system that kept IU from becoming locked into a traditional vendor solution with rigid contracts and little flexibility. Indiana estimated savings of $15–20 million in comparison to traditional solutions, savings which will be used to forward the institution’s mission of education and research.
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