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IDP looks to Africa, launches digital campus

International education company IDP is considering opportunities in Africa and is set to open an internal tech powerhouse that will help digitise the company, according to CEO Andrew Barkla. 

CEO Andrew Barkla speaking at the 2019 AIEC in Perth. Image: YouTube / The PIE

IDP is set to use the digital campus to transform its delivery of IELTS

Speaking with The PIE News at the 2019 AIEC conference in Perth, Barkla identified some key markets that IDP will focus on in the coming years. 

“We’re turning our eye to Africa… it’s a market that is of great interest to us,” he said.  

“Like many companies today, we are in the midst of a digital transformation”

IDP recently opened three new offices in Pakistan and has expanded further with another four offices in India. The company also has a micro office strategy that will be rolling out in India over the next few years. 

“In the previous year we opened up in Nepal and we are now expanding our capability from Nepal – not just for markets like Australia but into the UK and Canada as well,” Barkla added.  

Another key development is IDP’s creation of a ‘digital campus’, an internal tech hub tasked with supporting the company’s digital strategy. 

In 2017 IDP acquired the Hotcourses group for $30.1 million, and is planning to bring 400 software engineers, web-developers, content and digital data professionals from Hotcourses together to work in the Chennai-based campus from this month.

The tech professionals at the digital campus will be tasked to build a ‘definitive’ data-set that underpins the IDP Connect student recruitment platform.

Barkla also told The PIE of the effect that the acquisition of Hotcourses has had on the business’ digital capability.  

“Like many companies today, we are in the midst of a digital transformation.

“It’s a widely used term thrown around the place in lots of presentations, but it’s very important in terms of the execution of our strategy if we are going to continue to grow and achieve global scale,” he said

“The [digital] campus itself is where the innovation and the effort and the work happen in an agile way”

“You need a capability to build that. It’s not a one-time project or program any more, so the delivery of the platform is about an ongoing digital transformation, the shift from analogue to hybrid. 

“The [digital] campus itself is where the innovation and the effort and the work happen in an agile way so that we are able to continue to drive this transformation at a rapid pace, and the idea, in the end, is to transform the industry that we’re in,” he added.

The implications of this new digital capability will be far-reaching throughout IDP’s business, he explained. For example, the company is set to use the digital campus to transform its delivery of IELTS.

“With the digital capabilities and the marketing competencies and the content capabilities we’ve brought in, we will now be leveraging the digital campus and those capabilities to rebuild and re-architect the test taker or customer experience,” added Barkla.

Watch The PIE‘s interview with Andrew Barkla below:

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