Case Study


A Digital Campus for Higher Education

Online university (company confidential)

A leading online university partnered with SDG to build a complete campus experience, digitally.


Heavily regulated industry
Complex integrations
Multiple user types
Building a community


SDG Solutions

Project delivery
Solution architecture
Application development
DevOps & Infrastructure


More than just a portal, an online university needed a digital campus

Online universities depend on digital technology to deliver the entire higher education experience to their students, including facilitating learning, assesing students, supporting collaboration, and managing the many administrative and support functions of campus life, from financial aid to registration to libraries and research.

Our customer is one of the world’s most successful and prominent online-only universities. It recognized that its portfolio of technologies and services from different vendors was creating a disjointed and ineffcient experience for students. Students needed to use an ERP system for adminstrative transactions, a Learning Management System (LMS) for online courses, and other third-party and homegrown resources for advising, student support, and other services.

Facing pressures from both users and competitors, they planned to implement a new digital experience, which they envisioned as a virtual campus, to unify all the resources and tools necessary for students and faculty to succeed.

The campus vision

The university’s digital product and technology teams collaborated with SDG to implement a vision that included essential components of the university experience:

  • Academic learning through a third-party Learning Management System (LMS).
  • Adminstrative tools from Student Information Systems (SIS) and ERP applications.
  • Academic support resources including both third-party and custom-made web resources.
  • A private community of students, faculty, and alumni, including discussions, contacts, and academic groups.

And they needed the new system to be:

  • Personalized and user-friendly
  • Easy to integrate with existing technologies
  • Flexible, reliable, and state-of-the-art
  • Supportive of academic progresses

Building the solution together

After analyzing over 40 different objectives, the SDG team customized a solution that delivered the vision of university leadership. Recognizing the need for efficiency, speed and reliability, SDG recommended and then implemented a Java-based portal framework to serve as the university’s new platform. In addition, SDG and university technologists devised a service-oriented architecture (SOA) layer to connect existing systems and allow data to flow freely between them. Finally, SDG provided quality assurance to ensure a smooth rollout to the entire university community.

Benefits of the new system

  • Upgraded personal and professional networking features
  • On-demand access to information
  • Easy navigation between platforms
  • Enhanced interface and virtual university experience
  • Communities functionality, including profiles, groups, discussions, and chat

Roles played by SDG

  • Strategic alignment
  • Program planning and project delivery
  • Infrastructure and tool selection
  • User experience design
  • Application development and integration architecture
  • Off-shore quality assurance management

Technologies used

  • Java
  • Liferay Enterprise
  • Portal PeopleSoft ERP
  • Blackboard
  • AJAX
  • Spring WebServices
  • Hibernate
  • Offshore Testing
  • Agile Project Management

A Note on Confidential Case Studies

This customer preferred that we keep their identity confidential, so we haven’t named them in this case study. While we’re proud of our work on this project, SDG respects our customers’ wishes.  

All photographs courtesy of Unsplash.