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3 Ways Kuali Cultivates Openness

July 23, 2019

In today’s busy and connected culture, it can be difficult to create a meaningful relationship between institution and vendor as the human element of so many interactions is decreasing, making way for faster communication and constant multitasking.

At Kuali, we make it a point to connect with our clients in a real and personal way. Kuali comes from a rich history of collaborative institutions, and those collaborative beginnings have profoundly impacted the way Kuali operates with clients today. Building open, trusting relationships is part of our core.

How do we make that connection and keep it strong? Cultivating openness. It’s one of Kuali’s six core values and you can find it written on the wall, woven into office artwork, and hashtagged across Slack. Employees can even give their peers micro-bonuses for cultivating openness.

“We go out of our way to make sure people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas,” said Sarah Crane, product manager of Curriculum and Catalog Management.

Here are 3 of the best ways we cultivate openness with our community.

1. We’re honest

Creating a relationship where the communication between company and client can be open is incredibly important for both parties. The strength of this relationship will significantly impact how successful both groups can be.

“Our approach is really unique,” said Susan Sorensen, product manager of Sponsored Programs. “We have the relationship to be candid and honest.”

When we build a relationship where both parties can be open, it provides an opportunity to grow. Our team is always eager to learn about new institutional business processes, and when a client can openly share their frustrations and needs, it gives us the chance to learn.

“[Openness] provides more opportunities for us to be better,” said Shaun Moon, Product Manager for Kuali Financials.

2. We collaborate and connect

One of the most valuable assets of being part of the Kuali Community is learning from the solutions of other institutions who use Kuali software.

When our team comes across a challenge that one institution is going through, we not only have the experience to share what’s happened at other institutions, but we can also connect our clients together, so they can share best practices and success stories.

For example, Kuali has helped research administrators at the University of California Irvine connect with institutions outside of the UC System. This allows administrators to rely not only on Kuali, but also on their peers to resolve problems that arise.

“Kuali helps us connect with other institutions that are like us that we wouldn’t normally connect with,” said Barbara Inderwiesche, Director of Electronic Research Administration at UCI.

Bruce Morgan, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Administration at UCI, particularly appreciates the size of the research community, “I think because of the community, especially the research community, there’s so many connections there and the depth of experience is there and Kuali knows how to tap into that.”

3. We’re partners

Another way we encourage openness is to fully invest in our clients’ work. We’re partners in improving processes and finding ways that our software can give administrators more time, allowing them to focus on the most important aspects of their job that push forward the mission of the institution, whatever that might be. Because we know that everyone who touches Kuali software makes a difference to the institution.

“[As a research administrator] you’re actually helping research that impacts the world and so knowing that there’s a company that develops software to facilitate that? It’s really encouraging,” said Jonathan Lew, Electronic Research Administration Officer at UCI.

Additionally, we carefully take our client’s perspective into account. When Susan Oswalt, Technical Project Manager, was working on implementing a new Research module at the University of California San Diego, she found that her relationship with Kuali’s customer service representative was vital for her success. “I can kinda tell her anything, I can ask her for advice, I can tell her some of my pain points, some of the things I’m worrying about. She can really give me feedback in those areas, she knows all of the different modules, she knows all the different players and she is our go-to person…” Oswalt said.

She added, “We just feel like the project’s going to succeed because she has really good experience, she does this all the time, she’s forthcoming with information about our risks and issues that come up. She gives her recommendations and is super helpful.”

Cultivating openness in our relationships throughout the Kuali Community is part of what makes our community so wonderful to be a part of. By continually working toward openness through honesty, connection and partnership, the success of our community as a whole will continue to grow.

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