Case Study

University of Hawaii System

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Approvals often get buried in an inbox. With automated approvals in Kuali Build, the University of Hawaii reduced its lengthy, inconsistent approval process to under 24 hours. Not only can the university complete standard IT approvals faster, but in times of crisis, rapid approvals facilitated a quick and seamless response.


C-level executives receive hundreds of emails every day. Garret Yoshimi, VP of IT and CIO at the University of Hawaii, is one of those executives, receiving 500-600 to be exact. A select few of those 500+ emails are highly important time-sensitive requests. It doesn’t take long for important emails to get buried, making it difficult for Yoshimi to keep up with approvals.

Approvals get buried under junk mail and additional requests often introduce significant delays. When the approver wants to make a change to the original request, like updating the language in a document or pushing back on the pricing of an upcoming purchase, the request becomes buried in a long thread of email conversation. In addition, attachments like receipts or documents are easily lost in the back-and-forth.

Yoshimi, and other leaders at the University of Hawaii, needed a better way to manage approvals.

The University of Hawaii Mānoa Campus


Using Kuali Build, Yoshimi automated the approval process. He now receives time-sensitive requests through Kuali Build instead of directly via email. Yoshimi can quickly review and approve requests through email notifications or simply log into Build via single sign-on and quickly act on each outstanding request.

Now, Yoshimi can easily see the approval process, find attached relevant documents, and see where the process is lagging. Yoshimi now has the ability to send a request back to a specific step in the workflow. Rather than sorting through a long email thread, the workflow process appears clean and simple in Build, showing exactly where the approval sits in the process and how long it has been there.


Since automating approvals with Kuali Build in late 2019, the University of Hawaii has processed over 500 approvals and decreased the approval process from upwards of several weeks to less than 24 hours.

“We’ve created turnarounds that rarely exceed 24 hours and in many cases are under two hours because it’s a really quick click for me to review and approve.” - Garret Yoshimi, VP of IT and CIO, University of Hawaii

The University of Hawaii saw immediate benefits after implementation; however, quick approvals became imperative as the early effects of COVID-19 hit higher education. Requests flowed through the IT department with ease as Hawaii executed their pandemic-response plan.