Solving Attendance Challenges for Trade and Career Schools

Clockwise from top left: black hands taking a person's blood pressure, a black chef teaching a cooking class, a mechanic's hands holding a wrench above a car engine, a blonde woman in a makeup class

Career and trade schools differ from traditional colleges and universities because programs often require accurate and detailed records of attendance and participation. If it’s not correctly recorded, then students might not qualify for their certifications and financial aid. Many schools still rely on outdated, manual time keeping, which creates more work for administrators and faculty and puts students’ success at risk.

Fortunately, there are better ways to manage credit-hour and clock-based attendance. Modern student information systems offer integrated solutions to record and track your students’ progress. By upgrading to a new platform, schools can improve their record keeping and streamline operations. That’s a win-win for your entire community.

Continue reading

A Modern Approach to Higher Education Admissions

A well-managed admissions team is essential to a school’s growth and success, but many schools still rely on a manual admissions process or use outdated software that creates extra work and leads to costly errors.

And with admissions departments facing a staffing crisis, your small-but-mighty admissions team simply doesn’t have the time and resources to follow up with prospects, track and manage applications, and keep all the trains running. As a result, you could be missing out on prospects and revenue.

For small and medium-sized schools, admissions is a key revenue source and having a well-trained, fully supported admissions team is essential to growing enrollment. Modernizing the admissions process can help reduce errors from manual work, increase departmental collaboration and improve cooperation between the school and applicants. This allows your lean team to stay organized and improve productivity and efficiency.

Sounds like a path to success, right? In this post, we’ll cover:

The Biggest Hurdles Admissions Teams Face

A major obstacle to successfully moving prospects through admissions is having the resources to execute on an effective admissions process. Admissions teams tend to be small crews, and they need support and resources to follow up with potential students, monitor and process applications, and maintain current and accurate information on every prospect. At a time when there is a shortage of qualified workers at colleges, universities, career and trade schools, it would be wise to rethink your admissions software and processes. While schools are having difficulty recruiting and retaining talented staff, supporting your current admissions team with creative and efficient processes can give your school a competitive edge.

Today, many higher-ed professionals want to work remotely or on a hybrid schedule, but with legacy software that can be difficult. A cloud-based student information system centralizes admissions data and can be accessed from anywhere. This way, schools can provide staff with more flexibility without compromising access to data and file sharing.

For many smaller schools, the admissions process is largely a manual. Teams are cutting and pasting information from databases into templates, individually writing and sending emails, searching for documents and saving to multiple drives. While the work may seem mindless or harmless, this manual approach comes with significant risks:

  • Delayed Follow Up – Failure to quickly follow up with a prospect is inevitable without real-time notifications, leading to missed revenue opportunities. Students are applying to multiple institutions, so teams have to be quick to pounce on new leads.
  • Time Lost From Disorganization – Looking for information, notes and data drains time that could be dedicated to targeting and following up on high-value prospects. If details on prospects aren’t recorded properly or even lost, that interested student could fall through the cracks.
  • Failure to Meet Your Goals – Prospective students are a hot commodity. If your team is not engaging in clear and consistent communication, then you won’t meet your enrollment goals and your school’s budget will suffer.

10 Attributes to Look for in Integrated Admissions Software

As more schools look to upgrade from legacy, onsite technology systems to integrated, cloud-based student information systems, it is important to make admissions software a top priority.

Admissions is the nerve center for any school, so you want to make sure your student information system lets the admissions team follow a prospect throughout the entire admissions cycle. Here’s are 10 components to look for:

  1. A Centralized Hub: There’s a lot of documentation involved in the application process, so everything needs to be stored in one location to maintain a Single Source of Truth for admissions teams and applicants alike. This means no more searching multiple databases or spreadsheets for the right information.
  2.  An Easy User Experience: Prospects and admissions teams need a system that’s easy to use. Applicants need the ability to pause the process and restart applications, and your team can easily keep track of how many applications are ongoing and completed, and follow up when necessary.
  3. Built-In CRM and Communications Platform: A robust student information system contains a CRM to track applicants and any communications between them and your school. This should be regularly updated and monitored to ensure follow-up communication with prospects is quick.
  4. Real-Time Notifications: It’s easy for prospective students to get distracted and end up with incomplete applications. That slows down your school’s admissions process and could keep a student from joining your program. To help students stay on track, the system can be configured with email, text and push notifications to remind students to submit forms, upload documents or check their email.
  5. Data Protection: Applications and financial aid forms contain a lot of personal information, so it’s important to be able to restrict access to sensitive personal data from within your team and outside your organization.
  6. Project Management Capabilities: An integrated system lets your school build customized workflows for project routing, review and approval. With an easy-to-use interface, staffers from admissions, as well as other key departments, can manage the system with minimal training.
  7. Financial Aid Integration: The vast majority of students need financial aid, which means your school needs to collect documentation, send out notifications, and submit reports to the government and students. An integrated student information system is capable of accurately coordinating these critical functions as a part of the overall admissions process.
  8. Collect Fees and Deposits: After an application is submitted, you might need to collect an application fee or a tuition deposit once they’ve been accepted. Students should be able to easily make payments directly in your integrated system.
  9. Seamless Hand Off: Once a student is admitted, your enrollment, registrar and financial aid teams will need access to the information supplied by the admissions team to help students select classes, process housing, and finalize and receive financial aid. All of that information is easily accessible in an integrated student information system since there’s no transfer of data between systems it reduces the likelihood of errors.
  10. Duplicate Management: There will always be interested students who submit multiple inquiries or someone who starts and then abandons an application and then starts a new one. To cut down on duplicate inquiries, you want a system that is able to recognize the same student by matching on key fields like email, social security number, address or phone number and merge these applications together.

>>See how Campus Cafe Software’s admissions module manages all stages of the admissions process<<

How Integrated Admissions Software Benefits Career and Trade Schools

Unlike nonprofit universities and colleges, which have a set calendar for the admissions cycle, career and trade schools accept students year-round and have multiple program start dates. That means admissions is a more continuous – and complicated – process of data entry, tracking and management.

Career and trade school admissions officers need a better way to manage student data. Instead of manually updating prospect and student information, here are two strong arguments for a student information system with an admissions module.

1. Fast-Track Government Reporting Requirements

The federal government requires many schools to submit regular reports on their student body, including the race, gender and ethnicity of the students, as well as attendance and graduation rates. For schools that participate in Title IV federal student financial aid, there are additional reporting requirements. Since much of this information pertains to admissions and enrollment, it helps if your student information system can generate the right reports.

By upgrading your admissions process with a cloud-based student information system, trade and career schools can save time and improve their recruiting and application process. School officials can track prospective students, monitor follow-ups and application status, and keep admissions running smoothly.

Campus Cafe, for instance, includes a library of pre-built reports for admissions and enrollment data. This helps your school organize and sort data, and then build the right reports in less time.

2. Help Your Admissions Team Be More Proactive

Can a student information system really improve your admissions process? The answer is yes. From large nonprofit universities to specialized trade schools, the key to continued growth is attracting new students, and your school is only as successful as the students that you attract.

But your small team needs help to boost admissions. They’re used to working with a lean operation, but you don’t want them to burn out and leave. When they can easily access and share information, it saves valuable time and resources. And when your admissions team saves time, they can enroll more students, which creates a return on investment that pays for itself.

In short, a modern, easy-to-use student information system with an integrated admissions module can save valuable time and resources so your team can work smarter, faster, and help build a robust student body and successful institution.

The Bottom Line

Campus Cafe’s admissions module keeps all stakeholders informed and aligned. Ready to see how it can help your admissions team work more efficiently and effectively?

Contact us today for a free demo.

Six Steps to Successfully Implement a Student Information System

Six-Step Process for Implementing a Student Information System

In higher education, deadlines usually apply to students rushing to turn in papers or finish exams, but IT deadlines can be just as important. When you’re ready to upgrade to a new cloud-based student information system (SIS), it’s best to partner with a vendor that not only builds great software but also specializes in getting the system up and running. 

A successful implementation is a highly coordinated collaboration between your team, who best understand the current data and administrative processes, and the software vendor with expertise in areas like data conversion and project management. 

The SIS market is growing quickly and tech partners are getting better at bringing new systems online quickly and smoothly. What’s at stake? The global SIS market is expected to hit $9 billion next year, so competition is fierce. 

Implementation is a bit like an orchestra rehearsal: You need different sections, such as strings, wind and percussion to come together and create a unified sound. With an SIS, you are pulling data from different departments, sometimes working on disparate systems, and integrating it all together to create a new single source of truth. 

There are bound to be hiccups and glitches, but with a good partner and by adhering to the process (think of it as rehearsals), a successful implementation leads to a finely-tuned debut.

A successful implementation requires coordination with your IT leaders and key stakeholders, and timely training for your faculty, staff and students. To ensure a successful transition, your new vendor should follow a detailed multi-step implementation process. When done right, your school will be up and running with a SaaS solution that improves efficiency and effectiveness. 

One more bit of insight: The best concertos weren’t created in a day, and neither is a new SIS implementation. Be patient! Approach your migration as a phased-in process. Start with the foundational elements, get those running smoothly, and then add more advanced features such as third-party integrations, as your team gets more comfortable with the software.

A multi-step process that covers data conversion, data management, validation & training

Step 1: Set a Schedule That Reduces Stress and Boosts Success

When you’re making a new major change to your software and technology stack, you want to set a timeline that causes the least amount of headache and stress. In higher education, the beginning of a semester is a flurry of activity and the final few weeks are too. Those high-activity periods are probably not a good time to take your computer system offline and implement a new SIS.

It’s also important to consider the financial aid year and timing of student federal loan origination. You don’t want to transition to a new SIS during these critical windows and potentially disrupt financial aid disbursement or reporting schedules.

To select a go-live date, look for a lull in your school’s activity and target those dates for the final stages of migration to a new student data management system. For example, a semester based school might opt to implement a new SIS during the summer vacation, while a cohort or asynchronous school could use the December holiday break or a cohort break to make the transition. Be sure to give your team enough time to implement, and train your users on the new system before the majority of your students return to the classrooms.

Step 2: Determine How Much Data to Convert to the New SIS

Data conversion is the process of taking your school’s old data and putting it into the new student management system. That might sound simple, but it is a very complex task. It’s also the most important step – your new SIS is only as good as the data you feed it.

Here’s the process: Moving from legacy software to a new higher education data management system involves transferring hundreds of thousands of data points (maybe even more for a larger school) to another system without deleting information or introducing errors. 

The more data your school has, the longer this process will take. If different departments like financial aid, marketing, admissions and billing operate multiple software platforms, then the process is even more involved and time-consuming. 

For a successful data conversion, you need to allocate a sufficient amount of time for this stage. The exact amount depends on the size of the school and amount of data you have. Suffice it to say, the larger your school and the more departments and programs you offer, the longer this will take. But you don’t want to take shortcuts or rush. If you don’t allow for successful data conversion, it could result in errors or create more challenges to launching on schedule.

So how do you ensure a successful data conversion? There are several strategies or options  for migrating student data rather than a full conversion. Your SIS partner can help you select the best one for your school’s needs.

First, you should determine what data you need. Post-secondary schools have troves of data relating to admissions, registration, finance, alumni etc, and some of it might not be useful or mission critical. Deciding what data you really need can help your team develop the best strategy for migrating it. The options include manual entry, data conversion or—if possible—data archiving in the existing SIS.   

  • Manual Data Entry: This option is best for smaller schools with about 100 students. Before you launch your new SIS, your school’s active records will be manually entered into the new system and then historical information is added later over time. Manually entering data is time consuming, which is why it’s only for small schools with fewer records, but it is a cost-effective route if you can handle it in-house. 

  • Data Conversion: This is the most comprehensive approach to data migration. An experienced SIS vendor will migrate the data into your new system using algorithms, which is quicker and more accurate than manual data entry, but still requires a lot of time and effort. 

    Schools have a variety of data – admissions, transcripts, billing, student records and alumni information – that can be converted. The process includes mapping, scrubbing, eliminating duplicates and transferring data. For larger schools with thousands of historical records, data conversion is the most cost-effective approach. 

  • Data Archiving: Keep in mind that it might not be necessary to migrate everything to your new SIS. If you retain access to your old system, you may have the option of archiving less critical data there.

Step 3: Validate the Data in the New SIS 

No matter which data entry method you choose to convert to the new SIS, data validation is one of the most important steps in this process to ensure a successful implementation.  

Your new SIS is only as reliable and accurate as the data you migrate, so it’s critical to validate the information for accuracy by comparing data in the new system with your original data. This will require time and attention, so you don’t want to skimp on this step. No SIS vendor will be as familiar with the data as your team, who works with the information on a daily basis. Inaccurate data will not only jeopardize the benefits of your new SIS, but it’s also more difficult to fix bad data after the system goes live. 

Step 4: Configure Your New SIS 

While the data is being validated, your new vendor will also be configuring your new SIS. This is the process for setting up the system to fit your administrative needs. A modern, cloud-based SIS allows users to configure hundreds of functions and options, from billing to messaging to user access. There’s a library of pre-built reports that you can tailor to your specifications and you can set up rules to filter information.

An integrated SIS offers the ability to have different functions work together in concert, including  admissions, registration, billing and financial aid. Just keep in mind that the more custom configurations and rules you want to set up, the longer this process will take. For example, it might take only a day or two for smaller career and trade schools with just a few programs and billing options to establish their functions. Schools with a larger student population need to dedicate more time to set up their rules. The important thing is to set up the system as best you can before your students and administrators need to use it. 

Step 5: Integrate Your Third-Party Platforms 

It’s essential that your new student data management software plays nicely with third-party platforms. These include payment systems, email and texting services, financial aid modules or learning management systems. Your school needs these functions and a well-built SIS can support them. 

During the sourcing process for a new SIS, make sure it supports the third-party platforms your school uses—or you need to consider changing those. You don’t want to get too deep into the transition process only to learn that your new SIS doesn’t integrate with other vendors.

Once you’ve established the compatibility, you’ll need your outside vendors to work closely with your new SIS team to configure, test and launch the third-party integrations. Be sure to extensively test these functions before launching your new SIS. You don’t want a situation where an outside vendor’s functions, such as payments, don’t work and cause unnecessary delays and headaches.

Step 6: Get the Training and Support for Your New SIS 

A good technology partner stands by your side every step of the way. When you subscribe to a new SaaS student management solution, you’re leaping into the latest cloud-based SIS technology, and there’s going to be a learning curve. The best SIS providers offer customized and detailed on-site and online training. Identify your IT staff and other users who will need training and hold them accountable for the training and testing. 

Once your system is ready for testing and launch, you want to lean on your technology partner for any issues that might arise. Look for a partner that has a deep online knowledge base, as well as a responsive support desk that responds quickly and that is available off-hours and on weekends (after all, we know that’s when the biggest problems usually occur).

Once your system launches, it’s a good idea to hold additional training so users can ask questions and use their early experiences to navigate the system and learn its capabilities.  

Key Data Conversion Considerations 

Now that we’ve covered the six steps to successfully implement a new SIS, here are some additional thoughts for a smooth transition. 

  • Start small and add features over time. Most schools don’t need every feature and integration at launch. Whether you’re a small trade school or a large four-year non-profit school, begin on a manageable scale and add the extra features as your team learns the software.  
  • Don’t look for shortcuts. They’ll just cost you in time, money and frustrations.
  • Hold your team accountable. Make sure your IT team, key stakeholders and primary users attend all the training sessions. Listen to their questions and concerns, and share resources and help desk information. 
  • Stay on schedule. Have your data ready to go on time, otherwise it could create delays in conversion, testing and launch.

Ready to learn more? Contact us or sign up for a free demo of Campus Café software.

Six Benefits of a Student Information System in the Cloud

Cloud-based student information systems can replace on-site legacy technology.

Data management in higher education is complicated, but getting it right is critical to your institution’s success. Schools that leverage their data insights operate more efficiently and effectively, so everyone can make data-based decisions that impact growth and retention. 

From managing admissions and marketing data to complying with financial aid and career placement regulations, all staff members need to work from a unified base. It may sound like a simple task, but finding a student information system that can do it all can be as daunting as freshman orientation.  

When campuses closed during the COVID-19 shutdowns and students, faculty and staff transitioned to online learning and remote work, it exposed how outdated and on-premise student information management systems lacked functionality. Today, your staff needs to access and analyze data from anywhere, on any device. Schools without a modern student information system (SIS) are now under pressure to upgrade in order to remain competitive.  

Cost, ease of use and data security are the three most important considerations in evaluating the right SIS for your school, but there are other things to consider. We’ll show you how the best schools use feature-rich student information systems to manage complex webs of data, generate reports and analytics, and increase transparency across personnel and departments.

Why It’s Time to Upgrade Your Legacy Software

Despite the availability of cloud-based SISs, many schools still use on-site legacy software that is well past its prime. According to EdTech Magazine and LISTedTECH research, 75 percent of post-secondary schools are using SISs that are more than 10 years old, while another study from the Tambellinii Group reports that nearly three-quarters of higher-ed systems are more than 20 years old. That’s like using a cell phone from 2002 that might still work, but it’s missing all the latest technology features of newer models. (Do you even remember what kind of cell phone you had in 2002? Could it even text?)   

Legacy systems often don’t talk to other systems or programs, which results in inconsistent data. In fact, at many schools, different departments work on separate platforms that don’t integrate at all, including one for processing payments, one for marketing and communications, and another for student services. That mash-up of platforms creates inefficiencies and can result in errors and bad data. 

An on-site system is also taxing on your staff and internal resources. It can require specialized expertise to implement, maintain and manage, diverting IT staff away from more strategic or business critical functions. It’s also expensive to maintain, operate and upgrade. Additionally, older systems can lack the beefed-up security measures to protect your data and student records. When all of your information is stored in one location on local servers, it is vulnerable to data breaches and cyber attacks.

Small and midsize schools simply don’t have the budget or staff to support maintaining a legacy system, and sourcing a modern SIS is a time-consuming process.

The good news: It’s not too late! A modern, cloud-based SIS is a customizable and scalable alternative. It can relieve many of the headaches associated with legacy systems and vastly improves data management, storage and access. 

Six Ways a Cloud-Based Student Information Management System Solves Legacy Tech Problems

A fully integrated SIS is a single source of truth from which the entire student lifecycle can be managed. 

Ready to learn how? Let’s look at how a cloud-based system relieves some common problems associated with legacy software.

  1. Student Lifecycle Management: Store, Manage and Track Student Data 

Post-secondary schools tend to have onerous reporting and data requirements. With a cloud-based SIS, you create a single data source to store, manage and track information. That improves communication between departments that need to collaborate, from marketing to recruitment, application management, course registration, billing, transcripts, financial aid disbursement, career tracking, alumni development, fundraising, student attendance and class rosters.

When everyone in the institution has access to the same information on one platform, they’re working off unified data. This is what’s known as a single source of truth. It not only improves their work and facilitates better communication internally and with students, but a pre-built library of reports allows each department to quickly track and manage what they need in real-time, and share it with internal and external sources. 

  1. Lower Costs and Faster Deployment

Legacy systems are expensive to maintain, patch and upgrade. But when you subscribe to a SaaS solution, the costs are more predictable and easier to budget for. Like most SaaS solutions, pricing for a cloud-based SIS is a monthly subscription based on the number of full-time enrolled students. This means that the total cost of ownership for a cloud solution is generally cheaper than on-premise technology

What’s more, the implementation for a SaaS solution is faster too because the work happens off-site. Your data is input, organized and stored off-site and applications are web-based. This eliminates the need for a resource-intensive onsite implementation and data entry training. And with a web-based SIS, you don’t need to make further investments on-site, as upgrades and updates are simply delivered to your system. 

  1. Tech Support When You Need It

Let’s face it, when you migrate to a new platform, even the most seasoned IT pros need help, and your staff and students will need support too. With a SaaS solution, you have access to an extensive online knowledge center, as well as 24-7 help desk support.  

Your SIS vendor’s IT team has full, secure access to the school’s environment online to expedite a diagnosis and fix any bugs or discrepancies. That gives your team the highest level of support and service, and frees up your IT staff to focus on other work.

  1. Explore an Ecosystem of Third-party Integrations

Many schools rely on third-party solutions for specific functions, including marketing, payments and learning management systems (LMSs) and those aren’t going away. Since even the most comprehensive SIS can’t cover everything, third-party platforms are necessary for certain functions. 

A modern SIS can seamlessly integrate these platforms and software into the system. That gives your staff access to the most accurate data and information, and cuts down on confusion and technical problems. 

  1. Online and Onsite Training for New Users

Once you’ve selected an SIS, your IT professionals and any staff who will be using the platform need training online and on-site. When a vendor provides that service, your IT team can focus on the transition and implementation.  

A SaaS solution lets staff participate in a combination of training opportunities, including remote and on-site training, an online knowledge base, recorded videos and real-time instructor-led tutorials.

  1. Peace of Mind With Automatic Security Updates 

Between data breaches, bugs, phishing and cyberattacks, there’s a lot that can go wrong. You need to protect your students’ personal information, as well as your school’s data. Legacy software is vulnerable to security breaches and upgrades must be executed on premises. That maintenance can be inefficient and expensive. 

With cloud-based systems, security is continuously monitored and updates are managed remotely. That gives you peace of mind that your system is secure and monitored. And in the event of a breach, your data is backed up for efficient recovery.

What to Consider When Evaluating a Student Information System (SIS) 

When you’re looking for a cloud-based SIS, you need to create a playbook to get everyone on the same page, from the executive team to school administrators. A modern, high-performing   SIS doesn’t have to break your school’s IT budget.

Campus Cafe offers a fully integrated system specifically designed and priced for small and mid-sized schools to manage prospects, current students and alumni data in one cloud-based platform. From implementation to ongoing support, our team is dedicated to providing the highest-quality customer service. 

Now, doesn’t that sound like a winning plan?  

Any questions? Contact us or sign up for a free demo of Campus Café software.

Three Data Migration Options For a New Student Information System

When a higher education institution is implementing a new student information system, one of the biggest decisions is determining the best data migration process for the existing data. Porting all the legacy data into a new system usually requires time, money and resources. But there are different approaches depending on your school size, budget and data integration needs.

The first place to start when developing a data migration strategy is understanding how your data needs differ for each group (prospects, students, parents or organizations) in the database. The type of data can be separated by the following:

  • Biographical (name, email, phone, etc)
  • Admissions (application forms and activity history)
  • Student Record (transcript, billing, financial aid, student attendance)
  • Career Development (career tracking, gifts and contributions, activity history)

Each data type might require a different treatment. For instance, biographical data is something most vendors will import for no cost because it’s a relatively standard process. But for the other bits of information — relating to admissions, student records and alumni — there are multiple options to consider.

#1 Manual Data Entry

For small schools, with approximately 100 students, entering the information manually can be very manageable. This option generally works best when the historical data isn’t needed by the organization immediately. What usually happens is that the full records for current active students are put into the system before the system goes live and after go-live the older less critical information is entered piece by piece over time.

#2 Attach Files (.pdf, text or .jpg formats)

Another option that can be implemented in conjunction or in lieu of manual data entry is to upload individual files (like a transcript or resume) in a .pdf, Word or Excel format. These files can be attached to the student record so they can be downloaded or printed. The downside to this is the data isn’t accessible for reporting purposes but sometimes, like in the case of a alumni transcripts, all you might need is a copy filed in case there’s a document request in the future.

#3 Data Conversion

The third option to consider is data conversion, which is the data cleansing process of mapping, scrubbing, de-duping and porting the data into the new system. Schools with more than a few hundred students that matriculate over multiple years of study find this option to be the best return on investment.

Chances are, if you are looking for a new Student Information System, one of the main reasons is your data is not as accurate as it needs to be. The right SIS system should help fix the root causes going forward and the data clean-up process can eliminate errors, duplicates, inconsistent formatting, and missing information.

Conversion costs should be looked as an investment since it helps the bottom line. Strong data integrity is a benefit for making better decisions and greater accuracy and timeliness for government reporting. The latter of which can be a heavy burden to a higher education school.

The conversions costs mainly depend on the following factors:

  1. Volume: How many data fields need to be convert. (not to be confused with the number of records, which is less important)
  2. Type: Is it student biographical information, billing, student attendance, student grades, career placement etc.
  3. Cleanliness: How much duplicate data, mixed type fields, errors etc.

After evaluating the above factors, the data conversion process includes multiple steps.

Data Mapping

Every data field needs to be mapped so that the old database fields are placed in the corresponding fields in the new database. Data mapping usually requires a significant amount of time since it might involve hundreds or thousands of fields per student. Also, every organization structures their database differently and various fields can have different purposes based on their operational process.

For instance, one organization might use three different fields for a Phone Number: Direct Phone, Cell Phone and Company Phone. While another might just use just a single field called Phone. So sorting out what goes where is important.

But the great thing about the mapping process is it forces your organization to rethink its processes or change some bad habits. That’s where formatting comes into the equation.

Data Formatting and Data Structure

While algorithms and SQL database scripts are generally used to speed up the process, human decision-making is also a critical factor. It’s important that the SIS vendor understands the various intricacies of your workflow process and the purposes of any specialized fields. During these discussions, insight about substandard data formatting and the structure of your database is usually identified.

A good example of this is course registration data. Courses can be structured in terms, cohorts, semesters or individually with unlimited start and end dates. I’ve seen instances where schools put the course start date, in the course title. Essentially combining two fields into one. This is not an ideal structure for formatting courses, since the title and date should be in separate fields, which makes for more seamless reporting.

The time spent upfront re-formatting the fields so they are in the proper structure will save significant headaches and man hours in the long run.

Data Cleansing

Cleansing data is the process of removing inaccuracies, errors and ensuring that the data is consistent.

Sometimes data is accidentally entered differently, like a phone number with or without a parenthesis around the area code. This is a simple example, but if your database is structured with many free-form fields so there are unlimited options vs defined drop-down menus (limited options), the level of inconsistent data becomes greater and the ability to find what you need becomes more difficult.

De-duping

The final stage of the process s to identify duplicate records. If your existing database isn’t integrated and you have multiple databases for various departments, the likelihood of having multiple records for the same person is high. Those records will need to merged. A good SIS system will have an algorithm that can identify possible matches by cross referencing multiple fields. These records are then placed in a holding table to be evaluated manually before integration.

Conclusion

While implementing a new Student Information System, the data conversion process is a great opportunity to clean up your historical data and develop new processes to ensure it stays clean in the future. Although there are upfront costs associated with conversions, in the long run it’s worth it, since the process will save time and money with government reporting, audits and day-to-day management of your organization.

Any questions?Contact Us

Sign up for a Free Online Demonstration of Campus Café

About the Author

Joe Stefaniak has been a leading expert for almost 30 years in the development and implementation of software solutions for higher education. His expertise is in helping colleges and schools streamline operations and manage information for better decision making through analysis and application of best practice software. He founded SCAN Business Systems in 1986. Its flagship product, Campus Café, has grown into a leading provider of educational student information systems. He holds a degree in Business Administration from Northeastern University.

Student Management Software – Integrated ERP or Best of Breed

Deciding on a single fully-integrated ERP system or multiple Best-of-Breeds?

For educational institutions, performing tasks like nurturing prospects, providing portals for students and faculty, maintaining ongoing relationships with graduates while managing financial operations and compliance regulations presents challenges that require a significant investment in student management software. Each task is part of a separate functional area with distinct processes and needs for collecting and utilizing data.

Selecting the best student information software to manage these disparate operations will involve a complex set of decisions. There is never a perfect solution, so prioritizing what’s most important is critical, since compromises must be made.

The final decision always comes down to a choice between either one fully integrated system software or multiple niche’ software systems, a.k.a. Best of Breed (B.O.B.). Either choice offers positives and negatives that should be weighed against the goals of your organization and the available technology resources.

A Fully-Integrated Information System

The main distinguishing benefit of a fully-integrated student information system is that it utilizes a single database for the entire organization. If implemented correctly, each individual has a single file housing all their information, which means all the data about that person is typically accessible in real time. Since all information is entered into a single system, the back-end inner workings are relatively seamless and the data integrity is usually very good. But there is a downside.

A fully-integrated system is very broad in functionality, fulfilling a wide range of needs for the organization. But like any software, it’s difficult to do everything well and in order to maintain this seamlessness for the full scope of the organization (which is no small task) other aspects of the system are usually de-prioritized. In most cases what you’ll find lacking are the user experience and some specific features that are not critical or essential for the majority of their customers.

A Fully-integrated ERP System: The Pros and Cons

Below I’ve listed the most important benefits and drawbacks to consider when comparing a fully-integrated ERP with B.O.B. software.

Benefits

  1. More accurate and complete data.

  2. Consistent processes throughout the student lifecycle.

  3. Lower maintenance costs due to common architecture.

  4. A single user interface throughout the system.

  5. The overall Total Cost of Ownership is usually lower due to a unified business process.

  6. Single vendor is more accountable for solving issues.

  7. Fewer training costs due to common architecture.

  8. Subject-matter expertise levels are reached faster for the chosen technology.

  9. Single platform decreases evaluation, testing, proof of concept, and time to deployment.

  10. Economies of scale may afford opportunities for bundled (more price-competitive) license fees.

Drawbacks

  1. Risk of sole reliance on one vendor.

  2. Risk outdated technology and features.

  3. Less flexibility when adding new features and functionality.

  4. Downtime affects the entire system.

  5. Increased control and permissions required to ensure institutional data integrity.

Best-of-Breed Software

A best of breed system has the advantage of focus. These systems specialize in smaller functional areas like Admissions or Financial Aid and the features, user experience and look are built without much consideration for the other operational aspects of the organization. The features and functions are focused on user experience with added bells and whistles, but there is a significant downside: data integrity and accessibility.

Utilizing multiple database systems usually runs the high risk of information getting stuck in silos inaccessible to other parts of the organization when they need it, or the creation of multiple incomplete records for a single individual. For an organization to operate effectively it’s important that the information is complete, accurate and accessible and it can be a challenge getting multiple B.O.B software tools to operate together.

In an educational organization, there is no more dramatic example of this than the admissions department.

Best-of-Breed Software for Admissions

Admissions departments are under pressure to increase the pool of quality prospects. New marketing technologies seem to emerge every day with the promise of finding and attracting new prospects. The problem with adopting such new technology is the usual suspect: data integration.

Many inbound marketing technologies have two weaknesses, one they’re industry agnostic and don’t have all the specific admissions functionality like (application tracking, financial aid, transfer credit eval etc). Also these tools generally use implicit data with limited biographical information to find, track, and nurture prospective students. All student records should have a unique identifier (Name/DOB or SSN) to tie the data together. For many standalone marketing or admissions products, a cookie or email address is often used as the unique identifier. The problem is that cookies and email addresses change frequently based on who is performing the search or what computer/phone performs the request. Therefore the data does not lend itself to later integrating with the student information database because by its nature, it contains little actual biographical data about the person to match up.

Since this data cannot easily be integrated into the ERP system, the organization is faced with some difficult choices.

  1. Either, use the best of breed software for the entire admissions cycle which means specific functions like common application, Department of Ed integration, financial aid, transfer credit evaluation, and many other necessary functions are not available.

  2. Another choice is to manually enter, batch upload, de-dupe and correct the data. This can be very labor intensive and usually yields only an 80-90% accuracy rate.

  3. The third approach is to not integrate the best-of-breed software at all. Just import data into it and take advantage of its strengths and let it function in a silo.

Best-of-Breed Software for Financial Analysis

The Accounting/Finance department is the other place where B.O.B software is often found. This does not present a problem if the data from the ERP is only exported to the B.O.B tool for analysis and reporting.

However, there is often a temptation to create a shadow system where the financial package is maintained and synced manually with the ERP. This always presents a problem, since these departments usually require immediate access to real-time data for critical strategic decisions and there can be a lag between one system synchronizing with the other. There’s also the added man hours required to keep both up to date that should be factored in.

Best-of-Breed Software: The Pros and Cons

Below I’ve listed the most important benefits and drawbacks to consider when evaluating B.O.B software.

Benefits

  1. Ability to choose the most feature rich product and latest technology for each department.

  2. Industry familiarity.

  3. Greater flexibility for replacing software modules.

  4. Maintenance and upgrades can be performed module by module without disrupting the entire system.

  5. Easier to implement a smaller department more quickly.

  6. Avoids single vendor dependence.

  7. Allows each department to operate independently of a centrally administered system.

  8. Often involves lower initial costs through more competitive licensing fees.

Drawbacks

  1. Added complexity of multiple systems, multiple databases and multiple vendors.

  2. High potential for data integrity issues, duplicate data, missing data, incomplete records.

  3. Increased costs from data warehousing, complex networking.

  4. Integration points must be continuously updated and maintained.

  5. Increased difficulty troubleshooting due to added complexity and finger-pointing from multiple vendors.

  6. Multiple user interfaces increases training costs and confusion.

  7. Difficult to get a complete set of reports in a timely manner.

  8. Duplication of effort (e.g. address change must be entered into several databases).

  9. Architectural complexity creates high downstream costs to integrate and maintain diverse systems.

  10. Testing and running proof-of-concept trials involving disparate platforms and architectures increases time to deployment.

  11. Higher training costs; team members rarely achieve subject-matter expertise levels across every technology.

  12. Higher risks, as incompatible product road maps may create unforeseen disruptions, such as one vendor opting to stop supporting another vendor’s products.

  13. Lack of coordinated effort at shaping vendor roadmap for organization-wide functionality.

Mapping a software’s strengths and weaknesses to your priorities

Like with any software decision, it’s good to determine whether the strengths of the vendor aligns with your organizational priorities. The a�?must havesa�? should map to the vendor strengths and the vendor’s weaknesses should be similar to the a�?can live withouta�?.

The major areas to consider for making these decisions can be broken down into:

  • Data accuracy – How correct is the information?

  • Efficient operations – How much time will be saved?

  • Data accessibility – Can I get the information when I need it?

  • User experience – How easy is the system to use?

  • Cost – What is the return on investment *?

The following chart compares the strengths and weaknesses of a fully integrated system or B.O.B. software by evaluating data accuracy, efficient operations, data accessibility, user experience and cost, as it relates to the entire organization and a specific department. This is not scientific and can vary by organization but it serves as a good rule of thumb.

Bob Chart.JPG

Conclusion

Even after all this assessment, there are other factors that can tend to add further complexity. Competing interests are usually at play where a department will favor a best-of-breed over an integrated system, even though it might not be the best choice when considering the bigger long-term picture.

It is important with any software choice that the organizational buys into the decision. A lack of buy-in may otherwise undermine any potential productivity gains.

The evaluation should always include an understanding of the level of integration that can be achieved especially from a technical standpoint since the other variables are subjective. The best way to do this is to look at other institutions and look at the support mechanism for user support, data integration, data warehousing needs, and institutional reporting. If all of these are being provided at a high level without large staff investments, then the solution should be considered.

Any questions?Contact Us

Sign up for a Free Online Demonstration of Campus Café

About the Author

Joe Stefaniak has been a leading expert for almost 30 years in the development and implementation of software solutions for higher education. His expertise is in helping colleges and schools streamline operations and manage information for better decision making through analysis and application of best practice software. He founded SCAN Business Systems in 1986. Its flagship product, Campus Café, has grown into a leading provider of educational student information systems. He holds a degree in Business Administration from Northeastern University.

Footnote

* It is extremely difficult to actually compare the return on investment and total cost of ownership of an integrated system vs a best-of-breed approach. But the variables to include are:

  • Staffing levels and/or savings based on ERP approach.

  • Productivity gains or losses based on which approach is chosen.

  • Cultural issues sometimes referred to as turf issues.

  • User bias and/or lack of buy in which can undermine the efficiency of any organization.

Evaluating a Student Information System (SIS) – Part 2

SaaS vs On-premise: What are the Costs?

In the first part of our series, Evaluating a Student Information System, I outlined the major risks to consider when selecting a SaaS or on-premise solution.

But now the big question, which goes hand-in-hand with the risks… what are the costs? Although the costs in the near-term can be relatively straightforward, a key component that can be easily overlooked is evaluating the cost implications over time. I would recommend a 5 year Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), since most on-premise vendors charge 20% of the license fee for annual maintenance which equates to a 5 year re-purchase of the license.

As with any projection, a 100% accurate TCO is unrealistic since technology and business needs are rapidly changing. But a TCO serves as a good benchmark for budgeting and an apples-to-apples comparison for potential vendors. Some vendors backload many costs of an SIS in the latter years which, without a TCO, would give the impression of a much more favorable return on investment.

Components: Total Cost of Ownership in SaaS vs On-Premise

License & Subscription Fees

Cost to purchase the software

The majority of on-premise solutions charge a licensing fee which grants the organization full ownership of the software in perpetuity. The software is priced by the number of users or in the higher education space by Full Time Equivalent Students (FTE) and the entire amount is required to be paid up-front. Often, major upgrades or new software releases generally require additional payments.

In comparison, SaaS solutions are sold as a subscription on either a monthly, annual or multi-year basis. As with on-premise, it is priced by the number of users but all upgrades are included and happen seamlessly with no new installation required.

SaaS subscription is usually charged monthly. On-premise license is an upfront lump-sum cost.

Hardware and Operating Systems Software

Cost of equipment to run the software

Another major cost difference between on-premise and SaaS is the hardware requirements. An on-premise solution usually requires a sizable upfront hardware cost that could include application servers, databases servers, and networking infrastructure. This hardware also must be maintained and upgraded to meet the needs of a growing organization.

With a SaaS solution all of these costs are shouldered by the vendor.

SaaS cost is 0$. On-premise, fully depreciate all the all hardware and operating software over 5 years.

Implementation

Cost of installing and configuring the software.

It is often assumed that there is no implementation cost with SaaS. This can be a false assumption. While the SaaS vendor will provide a a�?platforma�? with all software installed, the configuration of the system is a major effort that cannot typically be done without understanding the customer’s specific business processes and tailoring the new ERP system to the needs of the organization.

SaaS implementation costs usually run 60-80% of on-premise.

Customization

Cost of changes to meet specific needs outside the current software offering.

Customization costs are hard to estimate without the customer’s needs fully scoped. Most customization is about integrating third party systems and will require additional programming cost no matter which type of solution is chosen.

Customers often feel that there is more flexibility and availability of developer tools for on-premise, but customization comes at a price and will have ripple effect down the line in terms of maintaining continuity with any software upgrades.

The customization costs for SaaS and on-premise is about the same.

Data Conversion

Cost to migrate historical data into the SIS system

Unless you’re starting a new school from scratch, there will be a data conversion cost and it should be about the same for both SaaS or on-premise. The cost is highly dependent on the volume of data, what format it’s in (paper, spreadsheet, database) and the quality of the data (does it require scrubbing for duplicates and bad entries).

The data conversion costs for SaaS and on-premise is about the same.

Training

Cost to train all relevant users of the system

A Student Information System can be a complex piece of software that does many things, so employee training should be expected. The cost will depend on whether the vendor needs to go on-site and if any customize training is required. Some organization attempt to train a small core that will then train the rest of the organization. Training costs will typically be less for SaaS since the IT department does not need to be trained in the ongoing infrastructure maintenance of the system.

SaaS training costs usually run 60-80% of on-premise.

Maintenance and Support

Cost to maintain and support the software on an ongoing base

In addition to the software development cost that vendors pass on through a license fee, there’s a cost for ongoing updates, bug fixes and e-mail, chat and phone support (help desk) to handle any issues. This is passed on via a maintenance and support fee which can be between 15-25% of the software license cost.

On-premise solutions charge the software license fee in one up-front lump sum and the maintenance fee separately on a monthly or annual basis. When purchasing SaaS, the software license and maintenance are bundled together in a monthly fee. Be aware that the maintenance might not cover the more involved help and troubleshooting in which case a premium maintenance contract is usually available that provides support over and above the standard level.

SaaS cost is $0. On-premise, is the accumulated maintenance fee over 5 years.

Personnel

Cost of people to run the system

The third major cost difference between a SaaS and on-premise s is the personnel necessary to run the system. For a large institution, this usually consists of network administrators, database administrators, help desk and software support staff, data analysts, institutional research and/or report development staff. Budgeting an average low six figures per person including health and benefits is a good idea.

A SaaS solution will require a lower headcount than on-premise because the infrastructure and security is hosted by the vendor. The degree of this headcount difference will be dependent on the specific needs of the organization. A SaaS solution will require many of the same internal skill sets (report writing for example) unless these services are bundled into the SaaS fee, which is not a standard practice.

SaaS personnel costs usually run 40-60 % of on-premise.

Security and Other Software

Cost of security software

Security is often overlooked when considering cost. With an on-premise solution, the organization bears these costs while the SaaS vendor will maintain security and bundle the cost in the subscription fee.

Also, additional software (server licensing, SQL licensing, reporting tools, office suite software) might be required to complement and effectively make use of the SIS system. This will be necessary regardless of whether a SaaS or on-premise solution is selected.

SaaS security costs usually run 25% of on-premise.

Backup and Disaster Recovery

Cost of backup hardware and software

Cost of backup and recovery can be difficult to assess since everyone has differing notions about what a good backup and recovery strategy consists of. The highest level of backup and recovery offers immediate access to data and very rapid recovery in case of a disaster scenario. This of course could be very costly upfront which must be weighed against the risks of not having adequate plans in place, which can be a much greater cost down the line.

Potential buyers sometimes erroneously assume that with SaaS, they have fully mitigated their risks and don’t have to worry about back. But a good backup plan means that critical data must be backed up in at least three locations: production data, cloud backup, and an on-premise backup. Good risk management dictates that the customer maintain control of and a copy of all mission critical data in the event that something happens to the vendor, or a decision is made to move the data to a new system.

SaaS backup and recovery costs usually run 25% of on-premise.

Additional Cost Considerations

Typically, hidden costs occur when the customer is not fully aware of its information technology needs, prior to purchase and implementation. If the research in the discovery process is insufficient, then post project costs will most likely increase in the form of additional system customization, training, reports and dashboard development.

Another factor that is often overlooked when considering a new SaaS solution is the age of the existing on-premise hardware and software licenses that are being replaced. It might seem obvious but the older the hardware and licenses, the better. SaaS vendors include a software investment component to their subscription fee so if an on-premise solution was recently purchased (within the past 2 years) the cost might not have been fully recouped. Infrastructure as a service (migrate the existing software to the cloud) is a good option to be considered in this case.

Conclusion

After all of the costs ( outlined above ) are determined for each vendor and plugged into a spreadsheet, the recommended next step is to calculate the Return on Investment (ROI). This would be necessary regardless of which option is chosen since the ROI will help evaluate the efficiency in labor and equipment savings that can be expected.

I will go over this in more detail in a future post. In the meantime feel free to contact me through our website if you wish to discuss your current needs.

 

Check out Part 1.Evaluating a Student Information System: What are the Risks?

Any questions? Contact Us

Sign up for a Free Online Demonstration of Campus Café

About the Author

Joe Stefaniak has been a leading expert for almost 30 years in the development and implementation of software solutions for higher education. His expertise is in helping colleges and schools streamline operations and manage information for better decision making through analysis and application of best practice software. He founded SCAN Business Systems in 1986. Its flagship product, Campus Café, has grown into a leading provider of educational student information systems. He holds a degree in Business Administration from Northeastern University.

Evaluating a Student Information System – Part 1

SaaS vs On-premise: What are the Risks?

Determining the best Student Information System (SIS) built to adequately meet the needs of your organization can be a daunting task. There are many factors to consider and choosing the right software solution is only the beginning. How the software should be delivered and the adequate infrastructure required to support it can be just as critical a decision. Knowing the risks and costs associated with these considerations can save you a lot of time and headaches in the long-run.

In this series, Evaluating a Student Information System, I’ll outline in detail the major factors in determining a SaaS vs on-premise solution. This series is broken into many parts, this post (the first) pertains to the risks, the next post will be focused on the costs, and also stay tuned for more timely posts to follow.

Defining Cloud and SaaS

Part of the problem in assessing cost and risk associated with SaaS vs an on-premise solution is defining just what the terms mean. Without a high level of IT expertise, it is a challenge. Clear definitions are key to avoiding hidden costs and risks.

The a�?clouda�?, we hear that term alot. It’s essentially a remote network of servers (the utility of which is to provide/purchase only the necessary computing resources to meet the business requirement). SaaS is typically defined as a software delivery model that uses a cloud remotely hosted from the client. The other major characteristic of a SaaS-based approach is the software is provided on a subscription basis (monthly, quarterly or annually). There are many combinations of cloud-based storage and SaaS delivery models that make it difficult to assess total cost of ownership (TCO) and risk over time. For example, a provider might deliver a software product where the service and the data are stored at a specific location (colocation or colo), while another might deliver the same type of service where the data is stored in an undefined location.

Main Components in a Student Information System

Hardware

Consists primarily of servers and ancillary equipment that the software runs on.

The Network

The network includes all the services and hardware components that allow the server to communicate with other computers. This includes services like internet access, bandwidth, throughput and physical layers such as cabling, fiber, power, security, switches and routers.

Operating System and Upgrades

The student information system isn’t the only software that will be running on the hardware environment. The server will require an operating system which involves various functions in maintenance and upkeep which includes: installations, configurations, change control, updates and patches, anti-virus protection, and security.

Licensed software and upgrades

Licensed software includes many third party applications that work with the student information system including: server licensing, SQL Licensing, Reporting Tools, Office software (email, communications, etc.). Other recommended services like anti-virus, backups and storage for your SIS system require licenses.

Security

Security encompasses many different aspects of the operation in both the physical and virtual world. A complete information security policy includes, but is not limited to, protection from external and internal threats, data integrity, information assurance (the availability of the business information when you need it), disaster recovery and business continuity.

Personnel

A student information system is a complex piece of software that generally requires many levels of human resource support. The most common of which are network administrators, database administrators, help desk and software support staff, data analysts, institutional research and/or report development staff.

Risk Considerations: On-premise vs SaaS

Software Availability

With an on-premise solution, software availability might seem to be a lesser risk compared to SaaS, assuming you have a stable installation running locally. However, many organizations that select on-premise overlook the creation of an adequate disaster recovery and reimplementation plan in the event of a local outage. The other main risk involves keeping up to date with upgrades and the resource cost to maintain them. In any case, your institution should have a plan for business continuity regardless of where the solution is hosted.

Data Loss

Backups and offsite storage of data is critical to any disaster recovery or business continuity plan. On-premise backups are essential for quick recovery due to many factors. The most common are user error, hardware failure, and power loss. For short-term business continuity, battery backups should be employed and local backups to storage area networks are another critical consideration that needs to be factored into the equation. If your policies are properly planned and executed there should almost never be a time where data is completely lost. With a SaaS implementation, the general assumption is that the vendor is completely responsible for the data. This would be a mistake. The type of storage used, its availability, and backup/recovery strategies of the vendor should be made clear. Where the data resides, who owns it, and the level of accessibility to the data, should also be well documented. Critical data should exist in three locations 1.) the primary data storage 2.) another data storage facility housing a regular back-up, and 3.) locally within the organization. This ensures that if the software service or computing capability becomes unavailable for any reason, the data that is owned by the organization is under its control.

Up-time

In today’s rapid business cycles, loss of access to your information can have a major impact on your success. The system availability is dependent on the working effectiveness of all components listed prior (hardware, network, virtualization, operating system etc.) and will be adversely affected by oversight in any one of the supporting layers. Since today’s internal networks are dependent on the external network for day-to-day operations (email etc.), the risk of moving to a SaaS is relatively small when compared with staying on-premise. One risk to consider with SaaS is that while the vendor guarantees 99+ percent uptime, you do not have control over when the scheduled downtime occurs. While vendors usually perform scheduled downtime tasks in off-hours, this might be an issue if you are in a different time zone, or have global operations.

Response time

Response time is affected by many variables including physical computer hardware (disks and memory, internal bandwidth, switches, and external bandwidth). It is often assumed that moving to SaaS will increase bandwidth. While your organization can eliminate many of the internal response time issues with SaaS, maintaining adequate upload and download speeds is still the organization’s responsibility.

Issue Resolution

Irrespective of SaaS or on-premise, how quickly an issue is resolved will vary based on many factors including: internal staffing levels, partnership agreements, vendor availability, vendor access to 3rd party systems, the timing of an issue (i.e. business hours, weekends, evening) and the availability of the proper information (access to trained staff, documentation etc…). Service level agreements should have a clear indication of expected call back time when an issue is reported and how these variables will affect issue reporting and resolution.

IT Core Competency

One of the greatest risks with an on-premise solution is ensuring all IT staff members are continuously trained to effectively manage all of the technical components of an student information system. If information technology is an organizational core competency then this is a minor concern. If not, then the advantage of going with SaaS is paying for resources that will stay on-top of the changing technology landscape while maintaining and sustaining the software infrastructure with a high level of proficiency.

Security

SaaS security has the advantage of ensuring adequate bandwidth to systems servers, firewalls, intrusion detection systems and other security appliances. Managed Access Control, encryption, physical security of the state-of-art data center are all components of the SaaS solution. On-premise is dependent on the competency of the human resources and the physical infrastructure of the organization. There are also certainly security risks with a SaaS solution that must be weighed including breaches outside of the control of the SaaS vendor.

Conclusion

Many organizations (especially smaller ones) have been moving to SaaS over the years as technology advances have helped alleviate the fear of trusting a third party with such critical business operations. Of all the risk factors, IT core competency and staying current with technology are probably the two driving forces that make SaaS an attractive option. These factors must be weighed against risks associated with moving your data and software to the cloud. For some, a SaaS solution isn’t viable or a hybrid approach is the best option. In each case it’s important to find a trustworthy vendor that will evaluate your particular business process and needs and then work with you to find the best solution for your organization.

Finding a good vendor can be challenging so please subscribe for helpful tips and industry trends so you’re able to manage your vendor relationship with confidence.

Check out Part 2: Evaluating a Student Information System: What are the Costs?

Any questions? Contact Us

Sign up for a Free Online Demonstration of Campus Café

 

About the Author

Joe Stefaniak has been a leading expert for almost 30 years in the development and implementation of software solutions for higher education. His expertise is in helping colleges and schools streamline operations and manage information for better decision making through analysis and application of best practice software. He founded SCAN Business Systems in 1986. Its flagship product, Campus Café, has grown into a leading provider of educational student information systems. He holds a degree in Business Administration from Northeastern University.