The State of the Student Information System and the User Experience

January 13, 2021
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The student information system is the core platform for a higher education institution’s operations. It’s also a key touchpoint with students and has a direct impact on the student experience. This begs a simple question. Is your student information system up to the task?

According to an Educause survey of IT decision-makers in higher education, many colleges and universities are using aging student information systems and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to support their operations. Although more than half have replaced their core student information system within the past two years, 20 percent implemented their current system five to seven years ago. For 14 percent of respondents, it was more than 15 years ago. ERP systems tend to be updated even less frequently, and this was reflected in survey data — 25 percent of respondents said they’re working with ERP systems that are more than 15 years old.

More than four in five survey respondents said their school has invested in new or upgraded applications to support student success initiatives, but most aren’t taking advantage of solutions that have been customized to meet their operational needs and business objectives. Only one in five survey respondents said more than half of their new technology is custom developed rather than off-the-shelf applications. Nearly two-thirds said less than half of their technology is custom developed, and 15 percent use only off-the-shelf technology with nothing customized.

The impact of the student information system on the student experience cannot be overstated. Poor design, a clunky user interface, a poor mobile experience, and a lack of system availability make the student information system a constant source of frustration among users. The idea is to make information as easy to find and share as possible, whether it involves class registration, test scores, transcripts, attendance, financial aid and other important data. Fail to deliver on that promise and the student experience suffers.

In addition to enrolled students, the student information system is often an initial point of engagement for prospective students, and an ongoing point of engagement for alumni. Institutions should view their student information systems as a potential competitive advantage that should be well-maintained and optimized.

Fortunately, more schools are beginning to modernize these systems. The Educause survey found that 62 percent of institutions have recently overhauled their student portal or self-service capabilities, or developed new mobile applications. IT decision-makers in higher education also seem to recognize the value of integrating their systems to support student success rather than running disparate applications. When asked to score the importance of integrated systems on a scale of 1 (least important) to 5 (most important), the average score was 4.12.

The Axiom Elite data management platform can help colleges and universities integrate data from various sources and seamlessly move data from one system to another. It also offers the flexibility to support changing workflows as new initiatives are implemented. Let us show you how Axiom Elite can enhance the ability of your student information system to help drive student success.