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Thứ Ba, 30 tháng 9, 2014

SAP To Co-Design New Cloud SIS with College Customers - Campus Technology

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Student Information Systems | News

SAP To Co-Design New Cloud SIS with College Customers

SAP is planning a massive retooling of its software used in higher education and it intends to work closely with its institutional customers — such as the University of Kentucky (UK) — to drive those development efforts. The new software will put an emphasis on cloud-based usage, mobility, the user experience and analytics and will address multiple campus operations in modular form, including recruitment, student information, student engagement and retention, career planning and alumni.

At the same time the company stressed that it would continue upgrades and enhancements to its current on-premises Student Lifecycle Management software suite, with the expectation that existing customers may choose to migrate to the new products incrementally, if at all.

"We are taking cooperation with universities to an entirely new level, combining the power of our many touch points as a solution provider, academic partner, co-innovator, research collaborator and prospective employer," said Malcolm Woodfield, global vice president and industry head for higher education and research. "This next-generation SIS is planned to be completely different from anything currently offered or envisioned: a federated, loosely coupled design built around a core system of [student] record, with cloud point solutions that replace or complement or supplement the core 'legacy' SIS in critical process areas or areas of strategic importance."

"This is going to be a co-development project with our customer base. This is not going to be the case where we go away for a couple of years and build a product and hope it flies," he noted.

About six to nine months ago, the company began talking with institutional customers about a "next-generation" student system. "The message globally was remarkably consistent. They were not looking for a monolithic ERP-type single application to do everything," he explained. "What they were looking for was the ability that is offered by the cloud to decouple or disaggregate the standard student information system into its component parts."

The main area of interest: student engagement. "My customers are no longer using administrative-centric terms like enrollment management. Now they're talking about student engagement...They're engaging with the students through the process of admission, registration, advising."

Another important area: analytics. "Not just business analytics, but learning analytics — ways to access data and analyze it in a real time environment," Woodfield noted. "In particular, supporting retention strategies, getting more real-time insight into student performance, satisfaction. Are we putting the right students in the right classes? Are we recruiting the right students in the first place?"

The development approach will be to work on modules with specific customers "where they have a particular need or pain or where their existing systems have holes," he explained. "We'll break down the student information system into a series of discrete projects or applications or business processes, and we'll work with small groups of customers for each of them."

What the company won't do, Woodfield said, is ask customers "to rip out and replace what they have. So, today, if they're using PeopleSoft or Banner or Jenzabar, they could still do that," he said. "The cloud enables this kind of selective or surgical approach to innovation and focusing on innovation that adds value in areas that are of high value or are problematic." The company vision is to develop an SIS that will integrate with existing applications while expanding usage of SAP modules.

The intent, Woodfield said, is to keep development cycles "quite tight — weeks and months, not years."

The individual modules will live in the cloud; however, details are still to be worked out with institutional users about what that means — whether the functionality will be delivered as hosted services, data will be hosted by SAP online or some combination.

As an example, U Kentucky and Internet2 are working with the vendor on using the SAP HANA platform to facilitate advanced research projects via the cloud. SAP High-Performance Analytic Appliance (HANA) is an in-memory relational database management system that enables very fast query processing of large data sets.

"For Kentucky citizens, retention and graduation rates are important indicators of student success. As such, the University of Kentucky is striving to improve student outcomes by analyzing and predicting retention and graduation rates using high-speed analytics," said CIO Vince Kellen. "Through the combined efforts of our student support staff and SAP HANA, the university is seeking to increase student retention and graduation rates. This is important to UK because not only does it help our students, it enhances our reputation and leads to increases in revenue. This SAP HANA deployment is also expected to reduce IT infrastructure costs and allow the university to retire several systems helping to improve the cost-effectiveness of our IT infrastructure."

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