La Trobe Business School

Tag: university-industry collaboration

LBS students successfully finalise their capstone project for Deloitte

Last year, students enrolled in LBS’ Master of Business Information Management and Systems (MBIMS) designed a digital twin inspection tool as part of the subject Business Intelligence Project Analysis and Design (BUS5BPD) in semester 2, 2018. The project was for Deloitte, and the app had to be compatible with Apple technology. This project continued during semester 1, 2019 for the subject Business Intelligence Project Implementation (BUS5BPI).

LBS staff and BUS5BPI students with Deloitte representatives
LBS staff and BUS5BPI students with Deloitte representatives


The project was again for the Australian Marine and Ship Services, a fictitious company. However, instead of creating a digital twin inspection tool, the scope was changed to creating a 5-modular-inspection tool app using Xcode/Cocoapods with connection to SAP Cloud Platform. Xcode is an integrated development environment for macOS containing a suite of software development tools while CocoaPods allows developers to easily integrate 3rd party frameworks into their projects. The 5 modules were:

  1. Data Download/Upload
  2. Data Entry and Image Capturing
  3. Bar Code/Geographic Location
  4. Inspector’s Dashboard
  5. Supervisor’s Dashboard

Red vs Blue Team

The students split into teams (red vs blue) and started a competition to build the mobile Ship Inspection tool. There was a total of five red teams competing against five blue teams and each team developed each module.

The teams had to start with the Requirements Analysis of the 5-modular-inspection tool app and compile inter-dependencies of the modules to one another. Then, they designed each module which later was be integrated in one app and installed in an iPad Mini.  

Lectures, seminars and workshops

The subject was coordinated and delivered by Dr Petrus Usmanij and Naren Shanbhaq from La Trobe Business School. Although most lab sessions and lectures were held at LTU Melbourne Campus, some of the seminars were delivered at the Deloitte Training Centre (550 Bourke Street, Melbourne). Deloitte also delivered a Design Thinking Workshop. Furthermore, the teams were trained and mentored by Senior Consultants from SAP, Apple and Deloitte, particularly in the coding for the development of each module. All project documents such as the planning document and blueprint were reviewed by LBS staff and Deloitte consultants.

The results

Very few students had coding experience, but both teams put together a well-designed app. The red team successfully connected the 5-modular-inspection tool app to the SAP Cloud Platform, while the blue team used another alternative cloud platform namely Firebase in their development. Ultimately, the teams presented their work during an evening hosted by Deloitte at their office in Melbourne. After the presentations and Q&A sessions, the red team was selected as the top team based on app creation and cloud connectivity, and was awarded prizes by Deloitte.

“We are very proud that this partnership has provided so much value to La Trobe and its students and look forward to continuing this initiative.”

Jesse Millar, Manager at Deloitte
The red team presenting their application
The red team presenting their application
The blue team during their Q&A session
The blue team during their Q&A session
Read earlier articles regarding the MBIMS Shipping Tool project in collaboration with Deloitte: 
- Students working together with industry on real-world issues
- LBS students conducting successful Capstone Project

Students’ Capstone Project for Worawa Aboriginal College

Every semester, students enrolled in LBS’ Master of Business Information Management and Systems (MBIMS) get the chance to work on a live project for the subject Business Intelligence Project Analysis and Design (BUS5BPD). This semester, the students, in collaboration with Deloitte, have been undertaking a project for the Worawa Aboriginal College (Worawa). Throughout the semester there were also guest lectures from Apple and SAP.

Site visit to Worawa Aboriginal College

Site visit to Worawa Aboriginal College

Worawa Aboriginal College

Worawa is the only independent Aboriginal community school in Victoria. It is a boarding school catering for young Aboriginal women in the middle years of schooling (Years 7-12) and is located 60 kilometres from Melbourne on 55 hectares in the Yarra Valley, in an area that once formed part of the Coranderkk Aboriginal Station. Worawa was established in 1983 on Aboriginal-owned land, is governed by Aboriginal people and students are from Aboriginal communities across Australia.

Worawa provides a holistic education program integrating education, culture and wellbeing – ensuring students can progress academically, socially, emotionally, culturally and spiritually. The Teaching and Learning Program at Worawa addresses the key leaning areas of mainstream Australian curriculum and takes in to account Aboriginal culture, values, spiritual beliefs and learning styles.

Deloitte & La Trobe Business Intelligence Consulting

Deloitte introduced the project as part of Impact Day, a day where Deloitte staff make a positive contribution to their communities, and which forms part of Deloitte’s inclusion strategy.

Students acted as consultants for a simulated enterprise named La Trobe Business Intelligence Consulting (LBC), under the leadership of the Managing Partners and Directors, Dr Petrus Usmanij and Naren Shanbhaq, who also coordinate the subject.

Worawa Capstone Project

The Worawa Project was aimed at helping to better manage the College for benefits of the Aboriginal community.

At the start of semester, the students met with Worawa’s Executive Director Lois Peeler and Chief Financial Officer Andrew Jans to discuss the requirements of the project. Three key streams were identified for the project: (i) Reporting, (ii) Onboarding and (iii) Rostering, and the student cohort was split into three core groups, one for each stream.

The project involved working alongside staff of Worawa and consultants from Deloitte, SAP and Apple to analyse the requirements for each stream, preparing a plan for execution and developing and testing prototypes.

The Deloitte team coordinated by Lara Long and consisting of Krist Kerkenekov, Anne Madden and Jo Hammett planned, facilitated and gave presentations to help mentor the students in developing their Proof of Concept over the course of the subject. Guest presentations included an expert in design thinking, Susan Brown, SAP representative, Nick Nicoloudis and Apple Representative, Andy Jacobs.

Brainstorming and pitching ideas
Brainstorming and pitching ideas

While working on their projects, there were a few key design principles that had to be followed throughout the engagement with Worawa, including:

  • Connecting with the culture at Worawa by ensuring tasks are completed The Worawa Way.
  • Find cost-effective solutions that are accessible and sustainable now and in the future.
  • Be conscious of Data Privacy and Security.
  • Upholding the Governance of Worawa.

Presentation of solutions

Throughout the semester, students showed great success in addressing the solutions for the three streams. During the remaining weeks of the semester, where they presented Proof of Concepts (PoC) in academic showcase presentations they were acknowledged for their remarkable work by the Deloitte team and Partners.

At the end of the semester, several project teams presented their Business Intelligence Solution designs to the CFO of Worawa, as well as to partners and consultants of Deloitte during the Final and Award Presentation session hosted and sponsored by LBS at the Melbourne Campus in Bundoora. The project teams were also presented with an Award Certificate from Deloitte and Worawa for their innovative, carefully considered and formed solutions.

Representatives from Deloitte and Worawa with LBS students and staff
Representatives from Deloitte and Worawa with LBS students and staff

Phase II of the Worawa Project

BUS5BDP is one of two so-called Twin Capstone MBIMS subjects. This means that BUS5BDP mainly focuses on designing solutions, which will then be further developed and implemented during the follow-up capstone subject called Business Intelligence Project Implementation (BUS5BPI). Hence, next semester the project teams will work towards implementing their solutions for Worawa.

Students’ successful participation in SummerTech Live

Over the summer, two LBS students, Preet Kaur and Shaun Doolan, took part in SummerTech Live, a program organised by the State Government of Victoria that allows students to work on real-life projects while being mentored by Victorian businesses. Last month, during the SummerTech Live 2019 Showcase at the Victorian Government Investment Centre they presented their successful projects.

What is SummerTech Live?

SummerTech Live matches Victorian small or medium enterprises (SMEs) with digital needs to tertiary students, to solve their technology problems and support digital transformation. The business first identifies a business tech problem and is then matched with an innovative tertiary student who is assisted by an academic supervisor. For businesses it is an opportunity to accelerate technology adoption and innovation; build digital capability and improve competitiveness through accessing educational supervisors and exceptional tertiary students. It also provides the opportunity to build relationships between businesses and educational partners for future collaboration. Students get the unique opportunity to develop their job-ready skills, work on real-world issues, increase their technical skills and assist to build the business’s digital capabilities. In addition, the program operates as a paid 10-12 studentship and students receive $4,500 for their work on the program.

La Trobe University participated in Round 3 (Summer 2018/2019) with five LTU students, all working with regional business partners. Two of these students were from LBS: Business Analytics student, Preet Kaur and Agribusiness student, Shaun Doolan, who was also the first Bendigo student to be selected for the program.


Both Preet and Shaun worked with AgriNous, based in Bendigo. AgriNous was founded in 2016 and is a transnational platform that facilitates real-time processing of Livestock sales. Their application is a mix of technology, customer service and industry insights. AgriNous won the 2018 Inventor of the Year at the Bendigo Inventor Awards (BIA) (read more here) and took part in the La Trobe Accelerator Program (LTAP);  a 12-week program that  provides education and mentoring to a varied range of entrepreneurs, as well as support services to accelerate the success of start-ups. Besides collaborating with LTU during SummerTech Live they have continued participation with the university through La Trobe’s Work Integrated Programs – across various disciplines.

Marcus Pollock (GM, AgriNous), Preet Kaur, Shaun Doolan, Joel Rockes (AgriNous co-founder)

What did our students do?

Preet’s project involved dashboard design on Amazon Web Services, Quick Insights and novel data modelling. Supported by her academic supervisor Dr Kok-Leong Ong, Preet conducted data model creation and data cleansing (by matching and validating data for clients to consolidate and remove duplicate information), but she also proposed data model modifications to meet future requirements, did management reporting for AgriNous and created user group-specific dashboards for stock agents, producers, buyers and the saleyard operator.

The project that Shaun worked on, supported by academic supervisor Earl Jobbing, consisted of providing analytical and technical writing support for product management and livestock industry insights. This included the design and execution of surveys and interviews to assist with the identification of problems and solutions for the producer, buyer and stock agent, but also process mapping, user story, acceptance criteria writing and wireframing. In addition, he had to develop document and design features, dashboards and prototypes to be considered for incorporating into the product offering. Ultimately, as a result of the successful project during SummerTech Live, AgriNous offered Shaun a part-time job!

Shaun presenting at the SummerTech LIVE 2019 Showcase

LBS students conducting successful Capstone Project

Students enrolled in LBS’ Master of Business Information Management and Systems (MBIMS) got the chance to work on a real-world project for the subject Business Intelligence Project Analysis and Design (BUS5BPD). Their task was to design a Digital Twin Inspection Tool project for the Australian Marine and Ship Services.

Even though the scenario was fictional, the industry partners were very real. Students had to design the Digital Twin Inspection Tool to be an inspection application for Deloitte, compatible with Apple technology. Both Deloitte and Apple have been closely involved with the subject through guest lectures but also by mentoring the teams.

Awards night

At the end of the semester LBS and Deloitte organised an awards night where the best five teams presented their project and received an award. Awards were handed out for the most complete design, the most innovative design, the very simple design and the most logical design.

Team Black Pearl presenting their design
Team The Sailors presenting their design

The next step

After designing the application during BUS5BDP, the award winning projects are going to be developed and tested during the subject Business Intelligence Project Implementation (BUS5BPI). Both subjects are so-called capstone subjects, and in this case, twin capstone MBIMS subjects. Capstone subjects provide the student with opportunities to demonstrate their capacity to integrate the knowledge and skills acquired throughout their degree and apply them to a real-world problem. Usually the industry partners are only involved in BUS5BDP, but both Deloitte and Apple have already indicated that they want to be part of BUS5BPI as well. If one or more Digital Twin Inspection Tool applications would be fully developed, tested and implemented, that would mean a unique outcome for a Capstone subject at La Trobe University.

LBS staff and students with Deloitte delegates

Watch this space next semester for updates!

LBS Innovation Series: How can universities strengthen firms’ innovative ability?

The next presentation in the LBS Innovation Series is by Dr Stephan Buse, Deputy Director of the Institute for Technology and Innovation Management (TIM) at Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH). Stephan talks about academia-industry collaboration and engagement, and how universities can strengthen firms’ innovative ability.

Frugal innovation

Stephan argues that to succeed in emerging markets, especially in powerhouses like China and India, many companies from industrialised nations have had to change their established business models. In this environment, to remain competitive, a new way of thinking and acting is required.  Frugal innovation is a strategic approach to deal with these new challenges.

According to Stephan, frugal innovation refers to products and services that seek to minimise the use of material and financial resources across the complete value chain. The objective is to substantially reduce not just price but the complete cost of ownership/usage of a product. By adopting this approach firms can develop products that bring better priced quality goods to the customer both in the Business-to-Consumer and Business-to-Business sectors. He also gives examples of strong university-industry collaboration through the use of ethnography an emerging tool used to better identify habits of consumers.


Watch his presentation below:


This blog is part of the LBS Innovation Series, developed by Dr Mark Cloney, Professor of Practice in Economics in the La Trobe Business School. The series was developed after the successful National Innovation Forum organised by La Trobe Business School, NORTH Link and Deloitte Consulting P/L.

More blogs in the LBS Innovation Series:

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