This week Unit4 announced that its Student Management solution would become available in 1Q16, beating players such as Ellucian, Oracle, and Workday in bringing a complete, cloud-native SIS solution to the market. Although higher education might not yet be ready for the wholesale migration of student information system (SIS) solutions to the cloud, the introduction of another solution will likely accelerate the modernization trend, benefiting institutions in tangible ways.
Comprised of modules supporting admissions, academics, financial aid and scholarships, billing, and student and faculty portals, the Student Management solution completes Unit4's administrative offering for higher education. Moreover, the early 2016 release date positions Unit4 as the first of the major SIS providers to bring a complete, cloud-native SIS to the market. Although Oracle, Workday, and Ellucian have already brought aspects of their new solutions or cloud capabilities to market, complete functionality is not scheduled for availability until 2017.
However, the question remains as to whether Unit4 will be able to convert its early-mover advantage into tangible market share gain. All evidence suggests that cloud adoption is growing among colleges and universities, particularly in the areas of CRM and LMS, but few proof points support the idea that institutions are ready to switch out their core administrative systems in favor of new, cloud-delivered ones. Ovum believes that higher education will migrate the SIS eventually, but the timing and model are likely to be more extended and incremental than current cloud evangelists suggest. If this interim period plays out as expected, Unit4's "Cloud Your Way," offering public and private cloud options as well as an on-premise one, will be critical to its success. Regardless, the introduction of Unit4 Student Management is likely to accelerate the overall SIS modernization trend, which will bring significant value to higher education.
Enterprise Case Study: Increasing Student Success and Retention, IT0008-000249 (October 2015)
Nicole Engelbert, Director of Research & Analysis, Industries
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