The Catholic Education Network (CEnet) has streamlined its application access, improving teacher and student productivity with real-time identity lifecycle management across 30 systems.

Founded in 2007, the organisation provides comprehensive information management systems, applications, and processes to 770 diocesan schools across New South Wales, Queensland, Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania. Its user base consists of more than 300,000 K-12 students and 30,000 teachers and staff members.

Among the challenges it faces across 16 Catholic dioceses, it says its core drivers are to answer equity challenges between metropolitan and regional schools, enable anywhere anytime access to educational services, and improve learning outcomes for students and teachers by providing an environment underpinned by collaboration and sharing.

CEnet realized it needed standardised integration to improve agility and provide seamless application access to its large user base, and opted for a solution from Boomi that will address learning management, web-based collaboration, finance management and student information systems.

According to Joshua Kofod, Integration Specialist at CEnet, the unified Boomi platform greatly simplified integrations which resulted in rapidly accelerated development times while also dramatically reducing the number of issues experienced across its vast network.

Joshua Kofod

“Boomi has really helped us minimise the ‘integration hairball’ and point-to-point connections we used to deal with,” Kofod said. “We’re now developing integrations faster with Boomi, especially in areas where we didn’t have skill sets before.”

Previously, CEnet was forced to wrangle with a range of integration tools and techniques that lacked the flexibility and stability needed across such a large and complex IT environment.

One particular pain point was integrations between a Compass student information system (SIS) that used a legacy identity & access management architecture. A team of IT specialists had to manage errors, data anomalies, and extensive troubleshooting in order to support students and teachers access the learning applications they needed.

After evaluating options, CEnet selected Boomi for its cloud-native integration with multi-tenancy that could support member dioceses while also providing rapid, low-code integration to reduce reliance on specialised skills.

One of the interesting features of the program, according to Ian Gregory, Lead Enterprise Architect at CEnet is that CEnet devised a novel use case in which Boomi serves as an identity management platform, allowing the organiation to manage the full identity lifecycle for students and staff and assign each identity with a unique and persistent identifier.

He said although not a typical use case for Boomi, using the platform to provide identity access management had vastly reduced complexity and errors as it offers students and staff single sign-on application access.

“What our team has achieved using Boomi for end-to-end identity lifecycle integration is nothing short of remarkable,” Gregory said. “We now have seamless, event-driven, real-time identity lifecycle management across 30 systems – one that is visible to our members, and enables local remediation of issues. Its biggest test was the student rollover period where 300,000 identities were processed ready for the first day of term.

The solution, he said worked like a charm, “Not skipping a single beat despite the spike.”

Nicholas Lambrou, Managing Director Australia and New Zealand at Boomi, said CEnet’s innovative use of the platform ensured teachers and students across Australia could access the applications they needed whenever and wherever it suited them most.

“CEnet is pivotal in the education of more than 300,000 Australian students. They’re the engine that keeps these learners connected, which has been particularly critical during school closures,” Lambrou said. “By ensuring timely, seamless, and reliable access to information, CEnet is improving learning outcomes for students and teachers – whether they’re in the inner-city or in regional Australia.”

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