Reimagining philanthropy

“For two ANU alumni to offer a solution to one of our biggest problems is terrific...This gift could well be worth more than $10 million to the University.”

It was while stuck in traffic on a wintry Canberra evening in 2013 that local entrepreneur and ANU alumna Michelle Melbourne first had the seed of an idea. 

Michelle was listening to an ABC radio interview with ANU Executive Director (Administration and Planning) Chris Grange, who was outlining efforts to find $51 million in savings after Federal Government funding cuts. Michelle felt certain that Intelledox-the software company she co-founded with her husband and ANU graduate, Phillip Williamson, in 1991-could deliver back-office efficiencies to help soften the financial blow, but wasn't sure how a relatively small company could collaborate with a giant like ANU. 

The answer came in the form of a donation of the company's Infiniti software and perpetual licensing. As proud ANU alumni, Michelle and Phillip were keen to share their success in building a global software firm and to put their "innovation in the hands of innovators".

The timing of the gift couldn't have been better. The University knew it needed to streamline its travel approval process.

Lakshmi West, director of the ANU Intelledox Digital Transformation Centre (established in September 2014), says travel administration had been costing ANU up to $2.2 million annually and required staff to complete as many as 12 different paper forms when seeking approval to travel. Using the software donated by Intelledox, it took just seven weeks to design and develop an automated and integrated travel approval system ready for testing. "It was remarkable what we could achieve in such a short period of time," Lakshmi said.

The digitalised travel approval system has been rolled out across ANU and streamlined the process from travel approval to travel diary management and per diem claims. The automated system also enables the University to capture valuable travel data for planning and analysis, and to quickly locate staff in times of crisis.

Intelledox solutions will also be implemented across a number of key processes in human resources and student administration. Lakshmi says the ANU Intelledox Digital Transformation Centre is an inspiring and rewarding place to work. 

"It's a donation that is easing the administrative burden for the University and transforming the way we work," she said, adding that the versatility of the Intelledox software will see efficiencies delivered across many administrative areas. 

The donation is worth over $1 million, but it is expected to save ANU many times this amount. Chris Grange noted the real value of the gift will be in what the University does with it. 

"For two ANU alumni to offer a solution to one of our biggest problems is terrific," Chris said at the announcement of the donation. "This gift could well be worth more than $10 million to the University."

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