Kuali Update: Pace of Innovation

By November 10, 2015 No Comments

It’s been an invigorating, productive year since we created a company focused on accelerating the development of Kuali software, improving the Kuali user experience, and offering cloud-sourced, multi-tenant versions of Kuali applications. The Kuali mission is more relevant than ever: to provide software that helps schools keep their money in their mission by significantly reducing administrative costs and promoting best practices.

We began with some clear goals:

  • Improving the pace of innovation
  • Creating beautiful, well-designed software
  • Completing an enterprise suite for higher ed
  • Becoming self-sustaining by bringing in cloud customers to help fund future development

Being among so many talented and creative Kuali people in Austin for Kuali Days has me reflecting on just how very much we have accomplished in just 12 months.


Kuali Ready

Our very first project was to re-write Ready, our continuity planning application, which was originally developed by UC Berkeley. Ready is a great product, but the old code base was difficult to work in, which showed in the dearth of new enhancements added in recent years. The user experience also needed to be modernized.

We kicked off this project in November, right after the company was formed, and we turned on the first new customer in March, only 5 months later. Every new customer since then has started with the new product, and our 85 current Ready customers are in the process of migrating to the new version. They are telling us they love the modern look and feel, including highly-requested features like an adaptive UI that looks great on mobile and convenient drag & drop interactions.

Kuali Student

Next, we reconstituted a new Student project team in December. After consulting with our design partner institutions on what they’d like to see first, we began building a new Curriculum Management system from scratch in January, which we launched at AACRAO Tech 2015, and currently dozens of institutions are actively evaluating.

Interest is high and growing. More than 50 institutions attended a demo webinar that we presented last month and many more are viewing the recording or are asking for private demos. We have begun cloud implementations with our current design partners, including the 10 schools in the University of Hawaii system, University of Toronto, the 4 schools in the Coventry University system, Stellenbosch University, and North-West University, as well as with new cloud customers like Southern New Hampshire University.

We shipped the new CM module in August. In less than eight months, we built a configurable form tool, a configurable workflow tool, and a Curriculum Management tool that is wicked fast, intuitive, and beautiful. Our design partners also have access to the code, which we’ll be releasing to the world in 2016, after our initial cloud installations are complete.

Kuali Research

Research (previously Coeus) and Kuali Financials (previously KFS) have been in development for years. Over 50 customers rely on these applications today. Rather than starting from scratch, we decided it would be least disruptive to improve these products incrementally.

We began building the team in December 2014 when we hired some people from the existing Kuali development community, as well as some great engineers and designers with no Kuali background. We’ve moved to a continuous delivery model, made countless improvements, including dramatic improvements to the look and feel. We’ll be showing off a new dashboard for Financials that we’ll reveal publicly for the first time at Kuali Days.

By the way, MIT, the original home of Coeus, is now live on Kuali Research! In addition, a couple of weeks ago we shipped a new Conflict of Interest module for Research that is configurable, fast, and looks fantastic. It was built on a completely new stack and is a great example of where we’re going in the future with all of our products.

Kuali Core

Kuali Core (previously Rice), our platform services, includes identity management, workflow, rules, and form tools. Our goal with tools like these is to create a set of decoupled, high-performing, micro-services. Because these tools are the foundation of our future products, we decided to start from scratch, building them with a modern architecture and toolset.

The first module, Kuali Authentication, which supports both Shibboleth and CAS, shipped in October, 2 months after kicking off. This is an independent service and has 100% automated test coverage. Next up, Kuali Core is taking the workflow engine and form builder tool we built for Kuali Curriculum Management and turning them into independent services that can be leveraged across all of our applications and also in stand-alone mode.


We’re taking things a step further in bringing the power of analytics to our products. We’ll be sharing at Kuali Days about the new reporting capabilities we’ve been adding to our products, including easy canned reports with basic filtering capabilities, and beautiful charts, graphics, and such.

It has been a fast 12 months. We’ve built two multi-tenant apps and two modules from scratch. We’ve got stateless cloud offerings for all of our products. We’ve given both of our legacy products a nice facelift. And we are welcoming new cloud customers to the Kuali family.

We’re a new company. We have so much opportunity ahead. I am truly excited to see what we can do together in the next 12 months.  But, so far, I’m pretty happy with our pace.

Author Joel Dehlin

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