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Real-time SAP HANA fuels Cambridge Assessment growth

A few years ago, Cambridge Assessment faced a growing problem. The nonprofit firm, which is affiliated with Cambridge University in the U.K., wanted to expand its capacity to process and evaluate exams but was limited by an inadequate legacy system. Along with project development partner Cognizant Technology Solutions, Cambridge Assessment determined that SAP HANA was the ideal platform for a new application for processing exam results.

In this video, Cambridge Assessment's Darlene Crossley, threshold program director, and Ian Simpson, head of the center of excellence, explain how the native HANA system is meeting the firm's need for growth. The two spoke at SAPPHIRE Now 2015 held recently in Orlando.

"We started our business transformation SAP program back in 2010 after it was recognized that we had a set of in-house built solutions that just wouldn't support the business plan going forward," says Crossley. "They weren't scalable and they weren't flexible enough as we moved the business into the future."

Using HANA meant that they could move away from the hard-coded, processing-intensive legacy system operation into real-time operation, Simpson explains. "It allows us to bring in some flexibility in the way that we determine the results and that allows us to strip out a lot of the hard coding and also monitor the results that we see coming out in real time, rather than waiting sometimes up to 40 hours in our legacy systems," he says.

Simpson adds that Cambridge Assessment is well on its way to meeting its goal of processing 8 million grades per year. This means processing at least 7,000 grades per second during peak season. Simpson says the new system has already achieved 8,000 grades per second in current testing. Once testing has completed, the full application is expected to roll out in September 2015.

--Jim O'Donnell

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