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Last modified: Tuesday, November 15, 2011

IU welcomes return of 'Kuali Days,' recognizes impact of investment in community-based software

Nov. 15, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- In welcoming the return of the annual "Kuali Days" conference to Indianapolis this week, Nov. 14 to 16, Indiana University officials are also recognizing the major financial impact that has resulted from one of its investments in innovative information technology.

In June 2004, current IU President Michael A. McRobbie, then vice president for information technology and chief information officer, led IU to invest $250,000 to seed a project aimed at developing community-based, business-oriented software tools that would meet the unique needs of higher education institutions. That seed investment ultimately helped form an open-source financial system and the Kuali Foundation, whose annual user conference has drawn 800 attendees to downtown Indianapolis.

Michael McRobbie

Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie will deliver one of the keynote addresses at the Kuali Days 2011 conference, which has drawn 800 attendees to downtown Indianapolis.

Print-Quality Photo

"By partnering with other leading universities, IU's investment in the Kuali Financial Systems saved the university more than $16 million in implementation costs and continues to generate $300,000 per year in operating cost-savings," McRobbie said. "Faculty have long shared research software, and IU's investment to help create the Kuali Foundation applies that practice to reduce the costs of administrative systems."

Though IU, along with five other institutions and a commercial affiliate, was at the genesis of Kuali, the community has since expanded considerably. The Kuali Foundation now consists of 55 member organizations and 10 commercial affiliates working together on eight different software projects. In addition, the foundation oversees $50 million in collective investments from numerous universities, colleges and institutions that are thinking differently about software development.

IU has benefitted significantly from Kuali software, saving millions in software and support costs through its implementation of Kuali Financial, Kuali Coeus, Kuali Mobility, Kuali Ready and Kuali Rice. Additional savings are on the horizon, as Kuali Open Library Environment and Kuali People Management come online.

"The growth of open-source software and university collaboration through Kuali has been remarkable, with 157 institutions from 38 states at this year's conference," said Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for information technology and chief information officer. "As higher education works through difficult economic times, IU's maturing partnerships with Michigan State University, Cornell University, UC Berkeley, MIT and others help us collectively share costs and innovate together."

Kuali Days, which is scheduled through Wednesday, Nov. 16, was last held in Indianapolis in fall 2005. That inaugural conference brought 133 attendees, most of whom were affiliated with IU, while this year's conference will attract over 800 attendees from around the nation and world. The theme of the conference is "Empowering the Community."

McRobbie and Joanne M. DeStefano, vice president and chief financial officer at Cornell University, are delivering keynote addresses at this year's conference, which will feature a wide assortment of hands-on workshops, general informational sessions, pre-conference workshops and many networking opportunities for attendees.

About Kuali

Kuali is a growing community of universities, colleges and commercial firms partnering to build and sustain open-source software for higher education, by higher education. Indiana University was a founding member of the Kuali Foundation. Ten commercial firms now provide sales and support for the the Kuali open-source software. For more about Kuali, see