Creating a connected campus with managed integration

March 23, 2023
6 mins

The education industry is in the midst of unprecedented change. Institutions are facing declining high school graduation rates, increasing financial pressure, and a complete reimagining of the traditional learner and how best to engage them. On top of this, the expectations of students, faculty, staff, parents, donors, and alumni have never been higher. Institutions are being forced to adapt their approach—and quickly—to build more connected human-centric experiences.

In order to more effectively engage students, staff, and their community, learning institutions must evolve and change to connect to current realities—in short, they should strive to achieve a “connected campus.”

What is a connected campus?

A connected campus is when an institution has implemented technologies and solutions that enable students, faculty, and administrators to seamlessly collaborate, communicate, and access information from any location, at any time, using any device.

A truly connected campus is designed to support the needs of a modern, digital campus community and to enhance the overall educational experience.

This is typically achieved through the integration of their various technologies such as:

  • Student information systems (SIS)
  • Learning management systems (LMS)
  • Financial management systems (FMS)
  • Customer relationship management systems (CRM)
  • Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS)

By integrating these systems, a connected campus can provide a single, unified view of student and institutional data—creating a better overall experience for all constituents.

The challenges of creating a connected campus

Whilst the idea of creating a connected campus sounds simple enough, in reality this can be a highly complex, time-consuming, and difficult process. In fact, Microsoft has identified some major obstacles that make this goal difficult to achieve in 2023:

  1. Technological landscape: It’s no secret that the world is changing—and quickly. It can be difficult for institutions to stay on top of the latest technologies, digital experiences, and shifting expectations.
  2. Legacy systems:  Many higher learning institutions are struggling with legacy systems, that according to Educause are expensive to maintain, have poor UX/UI, and lack mobile and social capabilities. These systems are often difficult to use and do not connect data across different platforms.
  3. Funding: Colleges and universities face budget cuts and increased performance requirements, resulting in rising tuition fees and greater reliance on raised funds. This financial pressure makes it difficult for institutions to find and retain the right data and integration specialists to help build and maintain a connected campus experience.

It starts with connected systems

Creating a truly connected campus starts with well connected systems; this is where an integration strategy comes into play. However, there are many integration approaches out there (iPaaS, point-to-point, managed integration) and selecting which type of integration approach can be challenging.

CONTINUED READING: Which integration approach is right for me?

What is managed integration?

A managed integration approach is where you leave all the integration to experts. It’s a fully managed solution that helps you with everything from data strategy and planning, to infrastructure setup, maintenance, and integrations. In short, everything you need to create a connected campus.

Unlike traditional iPaaS solutions and middleware, that only provide a platform and leave the rest up to you, managed integration includes:

  • Platform management
  • Licensing costs
  • Build and deployment of custom solutions
  • Dedicated resourcing
  • Ongoing maintenance and improvements
  • Regular support check-ins

Managed integration offers the same flexibility, scalability, and reliability of middleware and iPaaS, but without the unpredictable price tag. This allows institutions to integrate their systems seamlessly, enabling data sharing and collaboration, which can lead to more efficient operations and better student outcomes.

Managed integration for higher education

As we covered above, higher education institutions face many challenges, from limited resources and budget constraints, to shifting expectations and the need for a single source of truth. A managed integration approach can help you not only address these challenges, but help you drive towards a connected campus—fast. Here’s how:

  1. Education-specific solutions: A managed integration approach provides tailored solutions for higher education institutions, with accelerators for commonly required integrations such as SIS, LMS, CRM, and more. This approach saves time and money and ensures that the institution has the most appropriate solutions to meet its unique needs.
  2. Effective resourcing: Managed integration provides an external team of integration experts, allowing the institution's team to focus on the work that has the greatest impact on students. Plus, you’ll always have a team of experts on-hand to troubleshoot any issues and keep your data flowing.
  3. Scalable and flexible: A managed integration approach grows with the needs of the institution. This allows you to start small, scale effectively, and refine integrations as new technologies and users expectations emerge.
  4. Cost-effective: A managed integration approach can be a more cost effective solution. All costs are known and transparent upfront, with no hidden or added expenses. This allows institutions to plan and budget accordingly, ensuring you get more value for your investment.

Which systems can I connect with managed integration?

To put it simply, if you can dream it, managed integration can make it happen. Integration experts are able to connect nearly every system, including all your most critical education-specific tools and platforms.

But here’s some examples of our most common integrations:

  1. Learning management systems (LMS) integration: A managed integration approach can help to seamlessly integrate the LMS with other systems such as student information systems, financial management systems, and library management systems. This provides a single, unified view of student data, enabling faculty and staff to provide personalized learning experiences to students.
  2. Student information systems (SIS) integration: SIS systems integrate and manage student data such as academic records, schedules, and financial aid. Managed integration can help connect these systems to automate and streamline administrative tasks and better support student success.
  3. Customer relationship management (CRM) integration: CRM systems are used to manage interactions with students, alumni, and other stakeholders. By integrating your CRM with other critical systems, you’ll be able to more effectively track communication and engagement, as well as support recruitment and retention efforts.
  4. Campus management system integration: Managed integration can integrate various campus management systems such as facilities management, parking management, and security systems. This allows for real-time monitoring and management of campus operations, improving safety and security, and enhancing the overall campus experience.
  5. Financial management system (FMS) integration: FMS systems are used to manage financial operations such as budgeting, accounting, and reporting. A managed integration approach can help streamline financial processes, reduce manual effort, enable data-driven decision-making, and improve overall financial management.
  6. Communication platform integration: Integrate various communication systems such as email, social media, and messaging systems to provide seamless communication for students, faculty, and staff, enabling them to communicate and collaborate in real-time from any location, using any device.
  7. Data and analytics integration: A managed integration approach can help to integrate various data analytics systems, providing real-time insights into student and institutional data. This allows for better decision-making, improved student retention rates, and a more personalized learning experience.

Creating a connected campus with Propel Integration Partners

In today’s landscape, it is more important than ever that higher education institutions reimagine the campus experience. Propel Integration Partners can help drive student engagement, transform operations, and ensure a secure, connected campus.