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Articles: Software

Back in 2003, University Business ran a cover story that asked, "Is the Tablet PC the Future of Higher Education?"

It was an exciting time, when computers were faster and more powerful than ever, and everyone was still just scratching the surface of how to interact with the internet.

On college and university campuses across the country, people were talking tablets, and students, professors, technologists, and administrators alike thought we might be witnessing the next generation of computers.

Hot button issues facing colleges and universities at times seem endless: recruitment, student retention, and shrinking budgets, to name just a few. In contrast, identity management is an often overlooked and under appreciated business process among senior leadership in the higher education field. Yet with the increase of online courses; rising popularity of distance learning; and the challenge of protecting student, faculty and organizational data, identity management is fast becoming a top concern among university professionals.

There was a time, not terribly long ago, when the telecommunications industry spoke of "convergence." Voice and data would soon be one and the complexity that goes with building and maintaining separate systems would evaporate. That time is upon us, and actually, it has been for years. Why, then, is building the corporate information technology infrastructure still so complicated?

Several years ago The College of St. Scholastica, a Catholic Benedictine school in Duluth, Minn., purchased a business intelligence (BI) system to improve its ability to make data-driven decisions. Along the way, we learned some important lessons that have strengthened us, and that may be of use to other institutions.

 

So many choices, so many decisions. Campus HR professionals face decisions about how to enhance their technology systems to streamline business processes. Purchase new software or tweak existing HR modules? Help vendors build a compatible interface for a program or design it in-house?

Thanks to lecture capture, Julia Marty completed her junior year at Northeastern University (Mass.) this spring. The Office of Student-Athlete Support Services (SASS) offers student-athletes access to videos of missed classes, allowing Marty to compete on Team Switzerland's hockey team at the 2010 Winter Olympics and not sacrifice her studies. While she missed a month of classes, three of her professors recorded their lectures and "she had an extremely successful spring term," says Coleen Pantalone, associate dean for undergraduate business.

The financial pressures on institutions and the scrutiny on spending continue. But campus administrative offices also continue to find new ways to change their practices for the better.

As the stories of our Summer 2010 Models of Efficiency honorees demonstrate, there are a multitude of good ideas being implemented that streamline processes without reducing the quality of service that campus constituents deserve, and in many cases expect.

Will this new fiscal year come with a bigger budget for your web and marketing initiatives? Given the current state of higher education budgets, chances are it won't (but, if you're one of the happy few, congratulations!). For the past couple of years, institutions across the country had to do more with less. That's why it has become so important today to find out quickly what works and what doesn't, and how you can improve your digital initiatives.

 

We've all heard the mantra: Do more with less. In the current economy, colleges and universities are continually being asked to be more productive and effective with ever-shrinking resources. A key to accomplishing that is to have a solid information system - an intergrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that can help them toward that goal in numerous ways.

 

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