A new student information system (SIS) assessment, selection, and implementation project is currently in progress at Mitchell Hamline.
The project originated from the desire to replace Agresso, our student information system. , implementing a new student information system has the following benefits for the school’s academic and business operations:
Data-informed decision making
An integrated system gives us integrated data and detailed metrics for decision-making regarding student success, student recruiting and enrollment, alumni engagement and fundraising, and finance and personnel. When data is not integrated and systems cannot communicate with one another, data analytics becomes unwieldy and less accurate. Different departments collect similar sets of data that are not identical, and discrepancies are difficult to resolve.
It is easier to keep data secure with an integrated system, because sensitive financial and personal data do not move across separate systems.
Mitchell Hamline can help staff work more efficiently, find more ways to automate manual work, and bring in new tools to address future needs more easily, by adopting a unified digital platform that can connect disparate systems to create a single reliable source of data.
A cloud-based integration platform can reduce the costs of implementing and managing new solutions through centralized monitoring, a reduction in the amount of manual work for both ITS and end users, less dependence on hardware, and the creation of an open ecosystem.
Nimbleness and innovation
A cloud-based system allows Mitchell Hamline to leverage the latest technologies immediately instead of waiting for a refresh cycle or complicated upgrades.
Unified IT architecture
Historically, Mitchell Hamline has worked to integrate new solutions on a case-by-case basis. This has resulted in a smorgasbord of disparate solutions that have become burdensome for ITS staff to maintain, upgrade, and keep secure and connected. A cloud-based, hub-and-spoke approach provides a common pattern that will work with all systems and should be flexible enough to meet the needs of different departments and institutions.
Better service for remote employees
The cloud makes it easier to serve remote staff members. Pre-pandemic, few colleges and universities had experience managing staff who worked from home. These institutions have discovered that an effectively integrated IT system not only makes it easy to give remote employees the access they need to work effectively but also provides IT teams with the access they need to monitor systems. We want to support Mitchell Hamline’s transition to more remote work with an effectively integrated IT system.
Much of this work also ties into broader digital transformation work, which includes moving more of our on-premise infrastructure to the cloud and exploring ways to better facilitate communication and collaboration at Mitchell Hamline.
In considering new solutions, Information Technology Services recommends that you review the vision and strategic plan and consider what solution is most consistent with the vision and best enables us to effectuate the strategic plan.
Evaluation and implementation of a full ERP/SIS system consists of a variety of steps. You have already been asked to provide input on your current technology and processes and your satisfaction with those.
In addition, Mitchell Hamline is partnering with the Tambellini Group, a third-party research analyst firm, to advise us regarding ERP/SIS vendor selection and implementation. Our strategic advisor at the Tambellini Group is Hampton Shive.
During the evaluation phase, you can expect to be invited to participate in some high-level presentations from vendors, asked to provide input on your current technology and processes and your satisfaction with those, and invited to informational sessions to update you on the status of the work so far.
In addition, we will do a “discovery” session with the vendors so that they can learn more about our processes and the needs of various departments. Discovery usually lasts 1–2 days and vendors will set aside blocks of time during discovery to meet with key constituents in various functional areas or departments. Following discovery, the vendors will provide more in-depth demos that details how our day-to-day processes would function in their systems. Key constituents from each functional area/department will be invited to the in-depth demo related to their role.
Once discovery and demos are complete, we will decide if one of the vendors meets our needs and, if so, move forth with negotiating a contract and moving forward with planning for the implementation.
Mitchell Hamline is currently in the pre-planning analysis and vendor evaluation phase.