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A Look at the Next Student System to the Cloud

Recently, Oracle announced Cloud Student. It will have an initial release in 2015 and support payment, assessment, and enrollment. According to a blog post by Cole Clark, Oracle’s Global VP Education and Research Industry, Oracle aims to build their new Student Information System (Oracle Cloud Student) “from the ground up.” Clark explained further that it “will be offered as SaaS and designed with the modern student in mind” and it “will have the student, and the student’s success, at the foundation of the development effort upon which [they] are embarking.”

businessman working with table pc and smartphone Although Oracle identifies this as building from the ground up, they will be leveraging all of the assets in their portfolio. Clark feels that Oracle has an “enormous head start” because of their experience in:

  • IP
  • Development talent
  • Deployment
  • Implementation experience
  • Industry expertise

They are yet another major vendor announcing their intention to leverage cloud and mobile technologies to support the changing higher education market. Oracle will be particularly interested in the “modern” or “multi-channel student,” one who “takes courses across multiple institutions, some (to potentially all) on-line, and in some cases ‘on-demand’ (i.e. term-less).”

And the Competition?

 Ellucian’s Efforts
In January, Ellucian announced their purchase of CampusIT to accelerate delivery of new solutions. In their announcement, Mark Jones, Chief Product Officer, stated that CampusIT’s employees and their customer software will improve their “ability to support the growing number of non-traditional and non-degree educational programs.”

Ellucian also hopes the acquisition of CampusIT will help them release their SaaS-based continuing education and workforce development software this year, as was announced in January. The software will allow institutions to “manage the unique business rules and administrative processesincluding program marketing, course management, and student enrollment—required for non-traditional course offerings.”

Workday’s Latest
In September 2013, Workday announced they would build the industry’s first new student application in 20 years. I reviewed the announcement in a previous blog post. Workday will “[bring] together a system of record, a mobile-first system of engagement, and a big data analytic foundation, all unified with Workday’s administrative solution and delivered in the cloud.”

And the Winner Is?
All of these announcements are consistent with February 2012 blog post, SaaS Changes to Higher Ed ERP Market, where I identified the challenge of current ERP vendors trying to change to a student centric approach:

 The current ERP offerings would have a very difficult time adjusting from a model of managing the students to a model where the student is the center of the interactions. SaaS provides a different implementation model that can provide an institution savings, but also could provide the speed and agility for an ERP vendor to change to a student centric approach.

Oracle, Workday, and Ellucian are all taking approaches to help higher education institutions meet the significant changes in higher education and technology. Each vendor is leveraging their assets, focusing on traditional/non-traditional students, and leveraging cloud/SaaS and mobile solutions to speed the delivery. In the end, students and higher education should be the winners, but it will take some time to see how each of the strategies rolls out and which is the most effective.


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