Departments on campus are searching for a more effective and efficient way to communicate with students. The existing solutions (web portals, mass emails, 8.5x11 multi-colored comic sans papers pinned to bulletin boards) are falling short. Real issues such as enrollment, retention, and positive student outcomes are at stake. As a result, we’re seeing a proliferation of various texting solutions as departments across campus are turning to text messaging as the preferred student communication channel.
What does this mean to IT professionals? Allowing individual departments to select and invest in their own texting solution is a recipe for disaster. This may only serve to exacerbate an already disjointed ecosystem with siloed data, duplication of effort, and integration challenges across campus.
The ideal solution is to be proactive and to properly address key issues like access to student data, security, privacy, and prevention of data duplication or silos. The answer: an enterprise SMS management platform.
Three Core Principles
- System of Record: A texting platform should only be used to manage text conversations. Your information system should always be the system of record. Users across campus should not be using texting platforms to manipulate student data.
- Relevant Interactions: Staff members across campus will be having key interactions with students via text messaging. These interactions should not exist in a vacuum – rather they should be stored in your information system, along with the history of other interactions with the student.
- Security, Privacy, and Permission Management: The ability to text with students should be properly monitored and managed to ensure students are not overwhelmed with the volume (or types) of messages they receive. Providing campus staff with access to student information via software requires secure software, granular permissions, transparent privacy policies, and compliance with FERPA.
With those three priorities in mind, the next step is to select an enterprise SMS management platform that best fits your campus and existing technology ecosystem. To assist you in your evaluation process, we have provided you with three essential requirements.
- Your student information system remains the system of a record; the source of truth.
- Integration capabilities with your existing systems – if the solution does not offer native integration functionality, it should have an open API or, at the very least, be as simple as possible to import and export data.
A simple, secure system with self-service support and training, allowing your users to flourish without an added burden on your IT team.