Higher education has been on a tear in recent years, racing to digitize processes once held sacrosanct, such as libraries, curricula, and centuries of collections. But higher-ed institutions still struggle to keep pace with digital transformation in many core operational systems, particularly those managing the student lifecycle—from recruiting to student records to alumni fundraising.
Fierce competition for technical resources, scarce funding, and entrenched legacy systems can make it difficult to shake the dust off of internal processes. Kenneth C. Green, founding director of the Campus Computing Project, said that “if he had to give campus IT a grade, he’d give it a C-plus or a B-minus at best,” in an interview with Inside Higher Ed.
Off the shelf, few applications (old or new) cater to the varied and complex needs of educational institutions. The lack of IT resources, coupled with the reluctance of vendors to allow customizations, makes adaptation of existing systems untenable. So universities end up settling for applications that meet only a portion of their needs, and must try to “bolt on” other solutions and customizations as best they can. Over time, this creates thorny problems with maintenance, and typically deteriorates usability, increasing the odds that users will abandon the costly software (or at least complain very loudly).…Read More