Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg

With its 1200 students, more than 400 public events per year and several internationally reknown artists, the school is an important cultural institution, whose influence reaches far across the borders of Hamburg. Offering high quality practical education and an international orientation, the school is a “gateway to the world” for its students.

Thomas Siebenkotten about the decision to implement ASIMUT in Germany

A before C

The Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg adopted ASIMUT ahead of its Campus Management System. Thomas Siebenkotten tells the story of an implementation process that was at once musically dramatic, and dramatically successful.

One ain’t two…

The idea seemed as obvious as it was tempting: to introduce a campus management system and somehow make its room booking module work for the university of music and drama. It did work – somehow; but it fell short of their quality expectations, Thomas Siebenkotten is disarmingly frank:

“For a long time, we considered electronic room booking plus campus managements systems as two sides of a coin. We did see great need for both and, for a long time, did think that a campus management system that typically would integrate these modules could, also, address this issue. We then came to the realization that those CMS modules sometimes are not really perfectly tailored to our needs.”

From that insight it was not a far step to choosing ASIMUT. At the time, they had researched suitable room booking software for years, but always found the systems reaching their limits: as Thomas continues, they were “developed for an entirely different world and, therefore, not really addressing our needs. ASIMUT fills this gap, and I believe that many colleges would benefit from it.”

The REST API brought it home for them…

What helped them decide was a seemingly simple idea: to connect systems through an interface, for example, ASIMUT room booking and one of the off-the-shelf campus management systems. The rest was easy to decide: “Let us start with ASIMUT; we won’t have to wait that long for room management and, at any rate, still have the option in the near future to integrate it into any campus management system”, Thomas adds.

Yet how did they do it?

As he confesses, it was key to have all stake-holders – “who would have to, who would want to, or who would be allowed to work with ASIMUT” – involved in the process; to listen to their needs carefully; and to allow them to input their requirements into how the system was going to be configured, during the workshops.

“It was extremely important to us, from the very start, to have the students on board. We had a wonderful team of students there, who immediately recognized the opportunities that ASIMUT would offer. They participated in the workshops, and they did also articulate very clearly what needs the students would have, and how we could address them through ASIMUT.”

Speaking of the workshops, which were delivered by the ASIMUT team, Thomas has nothing but praise: they were “nothing short of eye-opening. We realized the extent of how much ASIMUT can do.”

Any advice for others at the same crossroads?

One thing that Thomas singles out is what we like to call ‘the ASIMUT community’. Not only were they able to draw on best-practice when implementing the system at their schools but, specifically, “to see other German-speaking schools introduce it was both tremendously helpful and tremendously motivating.”

It is a decision they are happy they made: “it is a wonderful tool to manage the specific needs of any arts school, specifically in our case a school of music and drama, and to work room allocation and scheduling efficiently.”

The voice of experience

Even looking back at the process from now, a few years later, Thomas – who modestly calls himself “merely a user” – is satisfied they worked the integration successfully: “Yes, interfaces are always a bit of a tricky point – as a client, you sit there between supplier A and supplier B, hoping for the best. And yes, our IT department did some great work there, too. It may even be a good idea to make the connectivity between systems your point of departure.”

Altogether, still a normal process, Thomas is certain: “What counts is that, ultimately, you know the process will be successful. Every interface will work out – if you know what you want.”

Like all great advice, this may be true not only for software…

This particular add-on module within ASIMUT, API/Webhooks, is indeed a key for connecting ASIMUT to what may be a bigger portfolio of software solutions. The Application Programming Interface (API) in tandem with the webhooks allows other software systems to read info out of and feed data into ASIMUT respectively. Depending on the integration, this can be real-time; and successful examples of this would include ASIMUT integrating with online learning systems, Canvas or Moodle. And you can REST assured – ASIMUT uses the API standard, known as REST…