Case Studies

Digital Transformation in Education

The Pontifical Oriental Institute (Orientale) in Rome, the Catholic Church’s most esteemed center for the study of Eastern Christianity, sought a way to engage a wider audience and lay a technological infrastructure that would allow its faculty and students to collaborate and learn around the world. Longbeard was hired to develop a technology plan and oversee execution.

The Challenge

Very little technological infrastructure was in place and so this required starting virtually from scratch. Moreover, the faculty and staff had little experience using technology in the workplace.

The Outcome

Success! The Orientale now has the most effective technological infrastructure of any Pontifical entity and is arguably the most technologically advanced college in Italy.

The Objective

Execute a digital transformation at the Orientale that will enable it to more effectively leverage technology to advance its educational mission.

The Challenges

  1. Connectivity. Initial internet infrastructure required a full upgrade.
  2. Applications. Disjointed application infrastructures or productivity suites made collaboration and communication a challenge.
  3. Digital Tools. The digital tools required for live streaming and digital classrooms were entirely absent.
  4. Training. Faculty and staff had very little experience or exposure to the technologies that were required and had to undergo training.
  5. Unprecedented. Virtually no examples existed in the Pontifical college system for the comprehensive digital transformation desired.

What made this digital transformation possible was the visionary leadership of the then newly appointed Rector of the Orientale, Fr. David Nazar, SJ. His openness to new ideas and willingness to try something new made him a pleasure to work with. Truly unprecedented leadership.
Matthew H. Sanders
CEO, Longbeard

What made this digital transformation possible was the visionary leadership of the then newly appointed Rector of the Orientale, Fr. David Nazar, SJ. His openness to new ideas and willingness to try something new made him a pleasure to work with. Truly unprecedented leadership.
Matthew H. Sanders
CEO, Longbeard

The Insights

  1. Installation. The technological tools required to achieve the desired digital transformation were readily available, but installation required on-the-job training for nearly all the local technicians.
  2. Speed. It became immediately clear that Gigabit Internet would be required to ensure optimal system performance. Fortunately, such speeds were just becoming institutionally available in Italy. 
  3. Local Experts. In the end, only one staff member was required to undergo advanced training on the technologies and application infrastructure utilized. Local IT experts were engaged for some of this training and Longbeard covered off the rest. This staff member became the local IT Administrator and oversaw training of others.  
  4. Leadership. The speed and extent of this digital transformation required a leader at the Orientale who could effectively communicate and ease concerns of some faculty and staff. Fr. Nazar masterfully navigated these complexities and ensured everyone was onboard with the transformation which made its success possible. It takes strong and visionary leadership to see these transformations through.

The choice of technologies and applications was by far the greatest challenge. They had to work in concert, but more importantly they needed to be intuitive to use for faculty and staff.
Matthew H. Sanders
CEO, Longbeard

The choice of technologies and applications was by far the greatest challenge. They had to work in concert, but more importantly they needed to be intuitive to use for faculty and staff.
Matthew H. Sanders
CEO, Longbeard

Pontifical Oriental Institute
Pontifical Oriental Institute