LeanSwift, Coles College Partner to Bring Enterprise-Level Software into the Classroom

KENNESAW, Ga. | Jan 6, 2021

As enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems remain critical to the success of many large and mid-sized companies, Kennesaw State University is partnering with technology firm LeanSwift to teach students the skills to help clients roll out these powerful, yet complex, business systems.

Kennesaw State’s Michael J. Coles College of Business Department of Information Systems and Security is working with LeanSwift to develop a curriculum around implementing INFOR, one of most widely used ERP systems, with more than 90,000 corporate customers worldwide. The learning materials, as well as access to full version of the INFOR software, will be available to students in the information systems program’s Business Process Management course beginning Spring 2021.

ERP systems help enterprises manage their day-to-day activities, with modules for virtually all business functions. Teaching undergraduate students how to implement this software provides them with a skill that will be instantly marketable after graduation.

“INFOR implementations across organizations in the area have increased,” said Khawaja Saeed, chair of the ISS Department. “Consequently, the demand for skills in implementing and managing the INFOR platform have gone up. The key motivation behind the partnership is to capitalize on this opportunity.”

The agreement with LeanSwift will see students working with INFOR CloudSuite Distribution Enterprise, which is a comprehensive ERP system featuring modules for customer order management, purchasing, supply chain planning, inventory management, manufacturing, distribution, and financials. LeanSwift representatives will collaborate with faculty to develop student-focused training materials and will co-lead the instruction alongside information systems professor Wes Rhea.

While accessing an ERP system can cost businesses tens of thousands of dollars, LeanSwift is making the software available to students and providing training at no charge to the University. Their goal is to help prepare students to be competitive when they join the workforce.

“It’s not very common for consulting firms to give this kind of support and training at no cost to the user,” said Anise Madh, LeanSwift’s chief executive officer. “The big software companies sometimes partner with universities to put their systems in the classroom, but it’s rare for students to also have access to implementation consultants and the additional expertise they bring.

“The partnership will train students on a contemporary ERP system and get them ready for job roles in enterprise systems implementation and management that are highly desired by organizations,” he added.

Kennesaw State’s contract with LeanSwift is a one-year agreement, with the ISS department having the option to renew each year at no cost.

This collaboration represents the latest in a long line of partnerships between the business community and the Coles College of Business. Other examples include the School of Accountancy’s partnership program, where major accounting firms like Aprio and Bennett Thrasher fund scholarships and create student networking opportunities, as well as the interdisciplinary PhD in Data Science Program, where business students and others work with real customer data from companies like Coca-Cola and Equifax.

LeanSwift has been working with the ISS department in recent years to host lunch-and-learn events and class presentations. The company has also hired multiple information systems graduates. For LeanSwift, giving students access to INFOR and helping design a curriculum around the software is a natural extension of that relationship.  

According to Saeed, the goal of working with corporate partners like INFOR and LeanSwift is simple.

“It’s about jobs,” he said. “These students will be ideal for organizations implementing or using INFOR.”

– Patrick Harbin

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