The 1990s saw a significant and rapid shift in the Australian tertiary landscape, driven by government policies and requirements. Issues that could no longer be adequately administered by traditional in-house systems included the management of fee-paying students, establishment of international campuses and multiple teaching methods.
To meet these challenges head on, the Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee (AV-CC) initiated the development of CASMAC (Core Australian Systems for Management and Administrative Computing), a high-level specification for the management requirements of Australian universities in the areas of Human Resources, Finance and Student Administration.
From its inception in 1994, the CASMAC Student Management System (SMS) was developed from within the tertiary sector. The model was generated through collaboration, analysis, strategic planning and exhaustive requirement specification, contributed to by 43 Australian institutions. This spirit of sharing, robust dialogue and specialisation continues at Callista to this day.
By 1997, group member Deakin University had designed and deployed the first Callista Production Release (1.1.1) pilot, based on Oracle RDBMS technology, under a wholly-owned and controlled subsidiary, later rebranded as Callista Software Services. From 2001, Callista partnered with Charles Darwin University to extend Callista SMS to include VET functionality.
From 2005, Callista established its unique and truly collaborative model: the Callista Service Agreement (CSA). This innovation enabled participant institutions to take ownership over the system and its continued development, guided by three distinct development steering committees:
- Callista Senior Executive Group (CSEG), providing strategic direction for three-year planning;
- Callista Planning & Advisory Group (CPAG), determining pipeline/annual planning; and
- Roadmap Implementation Group (RIG), meeting fortnightly to track projects.
Ten years after incorporation, Callista Software Services is a regional Victoria (Geelong) IT success story focused on the manufacture and support of the key administrative and management ERP software for over one quarter of Australia's tertiary education institutions. In excess of 200,000 local and overseas students around Australia depend daily on the Callista Student Management System (SMS) and associated services before, during and after their tertiary education.
After years of inspiration, collaboration and development, Callista SMS has become the leading, specialised, integrated, student administration solution, used by hundreds of thousands of students and administrators nationally.
The vibrant Callista Community today consists of twelve clients, several of them operating across both the Higher Education and VET sector. They are all reliant on Callista to continue to deliver and support an innovative and integrated student life-cycle system and solution.