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5 thoughts for getting future-ready with your student information system

  By Eric Stoller   - Sunday 28 October 2018

The student lifecycle is made up of a lot of behind-the-scenes technology. Most students will never know how much goes on within information management systems. With high-tech, high-touch technology, colleges and universities utilise information systems that are sophisticated, strategic, and supportive. With so many management information systems (MIS) or student information systems (SIS) at play in further and higher education, it’s important to consider a multitude of questions, requirements, goals, and priorities when selecting a technology provider. These systems are embedded throughout the entirety of a student’s holistic university journey. Picking the right technology is extremely important.

Here are 5 considerations for getting future-ready with your student information system:

1. Strategic speed - implementation matters

Implementing a new institution-wide management system is a major undertaking. Solutions providers that can fast track bespoke technologies will create pathways for earlier impact across a wide array of campus-based systems. Having to wait an extraordinarily long time for implementation can cause a plethora of difficulties for campus leaders, staff, and students. Strategic speed matters, especially when the outcome is positive digital disruption that adds tangible value for all stakeholders.

2. Support and experience

Selecting a solution is predicated on the ability of a provider to fully support a university throughout the entire implementation process. Whilst the technologies involved will be fully high-tech, the relationship between provider and university has to be top-notch. Finding the right provider is coupled to finding the right solution. Experience, cultural context, sector requirements, agility, and ample amounts of support are must-haves for incorporating a present-day technology system that will last the test of time.

3. A competitive student experience

Placing students at the heart of a student information system (SIS) seems like such a simple decision. The user experience (UX) of an SIS is crucial for driving student success. From application, admissions, enrolment, module registration, assessment, and grades, each interaction with an SIS should be designed to support, guide, and enhance the student experience. With a future-ready SIS, a high-quality UX is built into every single step of the process, enabling students to get what they need in a quick, efficient manner. Effectively, the UX of your various technology-based interactions becomes part of your institution’s competitive edge.

4. Buy-in and customised training

There is nothing that is more important for new SIS projects than creating opportunities for conversation and buy-in. Colleges and universities are made up of communities of academics, administrators, students, and a variety of support staff. Bringing in a campus-wide SIS requires a scaffolded approach to training, Q&A sessions, and holistic thinking. SIS will only boost student success initiatives and enhance the student experience if people are using them to their fullest capacity.

5. An iterative process

Change is ever-present. An SIS needs to be adaptive to the needs of an institution. The fluidity of change within the technological landscape of higher education can be exceptionally challenging for college and university leaders. It is vital that an SIS provider works as a partner with institutional CIOs, CTOs and COOs to ensure that these systems are meeting the needs of both learners and leaders.

There are definitely more than 5 things to think about when it comes to picking the right system for your college or university. However, at the centre of this process is the relationship that an institution establishes with a technology provider in order to provide the best possible outcomes for students and staff.

Eric Stoller is a writer, consultant and speaker. He is a keen proponent for teaching students (and staff) about digital identity development and is especially interested in the interplay between organizational culture and the adoption of new technologies for teaching, learning, and enhancing the student experience.