Case Study

Fresno State University

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Discover how Fresno State is enhancing campus operations and student services using Kuali Build’s automated forms and workflow solutions.
“The simplicity of the technology stood out. It has the ease of use like Google Forms but the enterprise quality of a system like OnBase in the workflow.” Max Tsai, Director of Training and Digital Transformation, California State University, Fresno
California State University, Fresno

About California State University, Fresno

California State University, Fresno is a top public university known for driving social mobility and supporting diversity in higher education. Fresno State was established in 1911 and today, the institution supports about 25,000 students.

Problem: Building Campus-Wide Partnership Through Technology 

Fresno State is on a mission to transform the institution into an “automated university,” an initiative that will modernize and improve the student experience. Max Tsai, Director of Training and Digital Transformation, had big hopes for this initiative; however, he noticed three recurring and pervasive process-related challenges barring progress.

First, Fresno’s processes were paper-based. It was time to move beyond paper and PDFs. Second, the tools available required a developer to build and manage processes, and the processes built often did not solve problems the way users hoped they would. Lastly, to be successful, staff and faculty needed a way to participate in creating solutions to their process problems.

To tackle these challenges, Tsai and his team set out to find a software solution. 

Solution: Automated Forms and Workflow

Fresno State partnered with Kuali Build, an online forms and workflow automation platform. Kuali Build was an important addition to Fresno’s technology stack. Build could fill needs from basic forms and workflows to highly complex workflows that push and pull information to and from the ERP solution.  

Lasting Partnerships with Students, Community, and Staff 

Tsai, his team, and his CIO were quickly delighted with Kuali Build. Build empowers Fresno State with an easy-to-use solution that offers workflow customization and high-powered integration capabilities. Tsai and his team finally had a tool that allowed nontechnical faculty and staff to meet their needs, removing a huge barrier that kept staff from improving the student experience.

Ease of Use

One of Kuali Build’s most prominent features is its ease of use. Tsai saw Build’s ease of use on display when his CIO, who is tech-savvy but very busy, was able to jump into the tool and quickly understand how to use it. Among enterprise software solutions, a tool that intuitive is quite rare. 

Build’s ease of use is so fundamental to Fresno State because it allows nontechnical staff to use it to create their own process solutions, effectively empowering staff to act as partners with the IT department in building technology solutions. Faculty and staff are the boots on the ground. They typically encounter process problems, including student-facing problems, before IT hears about them. With Build, faculty and staff can proactively solve more of those problems without getting in a queue. 

“You can get people on board without a lot of technical assistance,” Tsai said, and that gives his team confidence as they continue to roll the solution out to the entire institution.    

Powerful Integrations

Kuali Build was built within an API-first framework. In practice, this means the tool has the capability to run powerful integrations that can read and write information back to an ERP solution. 

At Fresno State, Tsai’s team used their “Third Attempt” application as a proof of concept to test Build’s API functionality. The third attempt application is a form and workflow that students move through when applying to take a course for the third time. However, all the information students submit in this form exists in the ERP. For example, the form asks the students how many units they have retaken, how many times they have retaken the course, and if the course is critical to their degree. The ERP houses this information, and the answers to these questions could immediately disqualify the student from taking the course. Without integrations, the process of filling out the form becomes cumbersome, requiring significant time and focus from the student.

Build passed Fresno State’s proof of concept test with flying colors. Students can now complete what was once a formerly arduous process — one that was likely used by many at-risk students — much faster and with less effort. 

Fresno State’s Future as an Automated University

Tsai and his team are optimistic about their future. In just under a year with Kuali Build, Fresno has been able to launch 28 live apps, empower 38 admin users, and deliver 47 integrations, with many more in development. IT has partnered with many groups across campus including administrators, finance, academic graduate research, the university library, student-facing roles, and special programs which include auxiliaries who work closely with the K-12 community. 

Still new in its partnership with Kuali Build, Fresno State continues to streamline processes and improve its reputation among students and within the community.

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Fresno State University

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