Disparate data systems and disjointed departments are not just the domain of businesses. The same problems now affect higher education as well, especially as they pursue the connected campus. Some colleges and universities now have dozens of programs just in one department. Considering the sheer size and scope of most higher ed institutions, this means that many universities and colleges likely have hundreds of pieces of software in play, according to Eduventures.
This is hardly the end of the problem, either. Consider also the number of external parties a college or university may need to share data with at any given moment. Prospective students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni, other higher education institutions, municipalities—the list of people and organizations that may require data to be shared goes on and on. It’s no wonder that data management was identified as a top 10 IT concern by the Center for Digital Education for two years in a row.
But, while the problems related to making the connected campus a reality may be vast, a solution is in reach. Higher education institutions like St. Norbert College, the University of Miami and the Berklee School of Music, among many others, have embraced self-service data integration as the ideal solution to the issues stemming from disjointed data and misaligned software.
Connected Campus Case Study: Saint Louis University
Saint Louis University is a large, private institution, with its main campus located right in the heart of St. Louis, Missouri. Over 8,200 undergraduates attended the university last year, and U.S. News and World Report placed the school within the top 100 universities in the nation.
But, determining who among the tens of thousands of applicants and transfers would be accepted to attend SLU used to be a major challenge, Matt Taitt, Assistant Director of Operations at the university, noted. As Taitt explained in a recent webinar, he and six others used to spend eight hours a day just manually inputting data into Salesforce.
“Like all higher education institutions we’re dealing with multiple sets of data coming into our system,” he said. “We have our own application that lives our website and forms that are on our website. We’re trying to integrate our common application data, our test scores, purchase loads, college fair scan lists, from Mac ACK data inquiry cards, from high school visits, and we’re trying to get all of that data into one record.”
Not only would it take Taitt and his team many hours across multiple days just manually inputting their data, but they also then had to devote time to reviewing data accuracy. After all, they wanted to make sure all fields lined up and there were no duplications or omissions. As a result, there used to be a major delay between when applications and relevant data came in and when it was processed and ready to be reviewed by the admissions team.
To address this problem and avoid unnecessary manual effort, Taitt turned to Jitterbit, a modern, agile integration platform capable of handling external and internal data without IT’s constant oversight.
“Whether we’re trying to connect to a text file on a FTP site like the common app, or whether we’re trying to connect to a Oracle database, Jitterbit has the ability to do that for us, so it was really the ideal fit at this part of the integration,” Taitt said. He added, “We have to be able to connect securely to a lot of different places. We need that connection to live in the cloud. We need that connection to be automated and to be scheduled, and that’s really where Jitterbit came into the picture as far as a solution to this.”
To learn more about Taitt’s effort to make the connected campus a reality at SLU, be sure to watch this webinar today.
The webinar, co-hosted by Doug McLean from Jitterbit and Jon Hazelgren from EnrollmentRX, will provide you with helpful tips and tricks for managing third-party data and automating data integration.