The Path to Mobile for Higher Education

January 26, 2015  |  by: Delphina Saragosa
Campus Portal
Cloud Technologies
Generation Z
Higher Ed Tech

According to a recent study, college students today own an average of seven tech devices. Laptops held the top position with smartphones a close second and rising. At Indiana University, nearly two-thirds of the hits on their OneCampus online portal are from mobile devices.

With mobile use continuing to increase each year, institutions need a way to meet these modern technology needs. Yet, despite the data showing just how important mobile is to students (and increasingly to all users), many traditional software vendors and university IT shops are falling further and further behind the curve.

Users (especially students) can find this frustrating and schools who aren’t aggressive with their mobile strategy are at risk for being seen as outdated or out of touch with today’s students.

A Top Priority with a Long Way to Go

According to Campus Computing, 70 percent of institutions identify ‘implementing/supporting mobile computing’ as a top institutional IT priority over the next three years but less than a fifth (17 percent) rate mobile services at their institution as ‘excellent.’ It is almost criminal that our higher education institutions are so behind with mobile-friendly applications. What are the roadblocks to making this happen?

One of the roadblocks commonly encountered by colleges and universities involves large software vendors in key spaces like ERP and Learning Management. With little competition and a larger focus on industries outside of higher ed, many vendors have been slow to make their software and/or platforms responsive or mobile friendly. With a hefty price tag and lengthy implementation timeline, it is often difficult for schools to to motivate the vendor to change after adoption (or switch products).

Sure, there are some vendors doing amazing things with the cloud and multi-tenant, but these are not as plentiful as they should be and often quite expensive. And, are these savings being passed on to schools?

A second roadblock involves institutionally-developed legacy systems or software such as campus portals. While they were built specifically to meet the needs of that particular campus from a desktop computer, IT departments are finding it difficult to drive a change toward mobile from within because of budget cuts, staffing reductions, and rising maintenance/software costs.

An Innovative Path toward Mobile Computing

As stated in the article by Green, “Colleges and universities are clearly playing catch-up with the consumer experience. Students come to campus with their smartphones and tablets expecting to use mobile apps to navigate campus resources and use campus services.”This is one of the primary factors that has driven rSmart to focus exclusively on bringing OneCampus to colleges and universities of all types and sizes. We want to help schools not just play catch-up, but to be true leaders by taking strides toward becoming mobile friendly in their portal and service discovery tools at a very affordable price.

And, that overburdened IT department doesn’t need to worry about the amount of time it will take to maintain because OneCampus is cloud-based and designed to be maintained by functional staff across campus or within a centralized area such as student services or campus administration.

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