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Integration Plays a Pivotal Role in Higher Education’s Transforming Technology Landscape

April 22, 2020

In efforts to enable more student-centric and modern operations, higher education institutions worldwide are deploying a range of new technologies across their campuses. While many of these solutions have helped organizations achieve their goals, at least in part, other initiatives have led to ecosystems of disjointed and siloed systems that are not properly integrated, leading to high costs and management complications. Integration tools can help minimize challenges brought about by the growing adoption of a wider range of technologies.

Higher education experts have called for better integration practices across the industry. EDUCAUSE noted that digital integration is one of the top 10 IT issues for 2020. EDUCAUSE emphasized that institutions should prioritize system interoperability as well as data standards and governance, among other needs as they make progress through 2020 and beyond.

Don't Overburden IT Resources

Technologies used in higher education environments often vary in age, functionality, and flexibility. Maintaining these numerous systems, supporting their different types of users, and ensuring their interoperability requires significant time and resources from IT departments. Meanwhile, staff are forced to deal with departments launching new applications without IT’s supervision or permission, which results in even more challenges.

IT resources are already stretched very thin. Now, with the pandemic’s requirement to enable online learning and remote working capabilities, IT’s workload has been ramped up exponentially. In these new hybrid environments comprised of traditional tools and more modernized offerings, system integration and unification is critical. 

Planning ahead and properly integrating new solutions with legacy systems using APIs and IT-sanctioned methodologies, institutions can ensure their IT departments can allocate their efforts to strategic and mission-critical projects instead of maintaining tools that should have been approved at the start.

Avoid Operational Inefficiencies and Data Integrity Risks

Gaps are inherently created when technologies are not properly integrated. Data can be trapped in the spaces between or even in application silos, leaving faculty and staff without the visibility or informational transparency they may need to optimize core operations like recruitment, enrollment, advising, and so on. These operational inefficiencies negatively impact administrative performance and can result in lost revenue.

When systems are not integrated and data is not shared across applications, staff and students spend time entering data into multiple systems. Besides being a waste of time, these disjointed processes can create inconsistent data, which can further create silos between departments and can lead to inaccurate reporting.

Security is also a significant concern when systems or data are not in sync. This can leave highly sensitive data vulnerable to a breach from a malicious third party or from a negligent employee who did not follow best practices for data protection.

Experience the Benefits of Integration

One of the best ways for institutions to overcome the challenges brought about by non-orchestrated systems is by providing IT teams with the tools to centrally build, deploy, and monitor all integrations. Institutions should have the means to eliminate data silos with out-of-the-box integrations or by creating their own APIs. In doing so, campuses may be able to experience the benefits associated with leveraging integrated IT solutions.

  • Improve student learning experiences by providing easy access to vital academic information and learning applications across the campus
  • Enhance staff productivity by removing data and application silos between diverse solutions and allowing for easier collaboration across departments
  • Reduce system inefficiencies and vulnerabilities by modernizing legacy applications and liberating data from older systems
  • Bridge the gap between legacy on-premises solutions with more advanced cloud applications.
  • Reduce IT workload and costs by providing staff with a single system to manage systemwide integrations

With standardized, systemwide integrations, institutions can maintain a more responsive and collaborative IT ecosystem, which will empower both students and staff with greater accessibility and fewer roadblocks to success.

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