Higher education leaders who want to improve campus operations must monitor how their institution’s work and productivity systems play with one another. The student information system (SIS) is a central part of that ecosystem and should be integrated seamlessly with the other systems. Campuses should also be leveraging a modern SIS, as legacy systems have proven to be clunky and can slow down progress during some of the busiest periods of the school year.
Another integral system that should be improved and integrated with a modern SIS is an institution’s ERP. Let’s look at the importance of bringing together two vital systems on campus.
Higher education institutions use their ERP systems daily. This is the system that houses fundamental operations and data like financial management and planning, human resources, and campus security. A modern SIS should easily integrate with the ERP and other systems so the data can be transferred seamlessly between applications in real time, on predetermined schedules, or through one-way or two-way approaches.
A modern SIS should utilize digital integrations and APIs with the ERP to improve collaboration between departments and make constituent lifecycle management more efficient. But what does improved collaboration look like and how will it improve the campus community overall?
As an example, let’s look at bridging a gap between the admissions and registrar offices. The admissions office uses multiple tools to input and manage student data. For that information to be useful across campus and so students can register for courses, the data must be transferred from the admissions office to the registrar’s office. Further, student information should be attached to individuals and follow their entire learning journeys, all the way to when they graduate and become alumni. If an institution’s ERP and SIS do not speak to one another seamlessly, faculty, staff, and students will likely experience challenges throughout the student lifecycle. While unfortunate, it’s true that many legacy systems often have difficulty in this area.
A modern SIS serves as the main component of the student lifecycle management system by storing critical student data in a central location, then sharing it with other departments across the university system via integrations. Without a modern, properly integrated SIS, institutions will likely encounter issues associated with information sharing and transparency, which can pile up and lead to poor student experiences.
Today’s students expect a campus that performs as a highly connected digital network. Often, this looks like a campus that boasts high internet connectivity speeds on a reliable network that enables students to remain connected regardless of where they are on campus. Classrooms, libraries, as well as public gathering spaces across the campus should all support this level of connectivity. This is particularly important during times of high internet activity like during enrollment periods.
In many cases, university leaders who are interested in increasing student retention rates are investing in digital networks to support student learning goals. They are doing this by properly integrating their campus’ SIS with their learning management system (LMS), as a seamless SIS to LMS integration enables faculty and students to easily manage student data whether they are in the classroom, online, or a hybrid learning environment.
An institution’s SIS should also support the campus communication system. Can students, staff, and faculty communicate via email and text? This is particularly important to students who spend a lot of time on their smartphones and are juggling competing life priorities that make going to school a bit more challenging. By enabling better communication across channels, students will have better learning experiences, which will likely increase their persistence through graduation.
A modern SIS plays a major role in the network of foundational productivity systems within the IT environment of colleges and universities. Institutions should leverage a modern SIS that allows the community to input, transfer, and report on data in real time.
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