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From decreased funding to new pressures to increase student success, higher education has changed significantly over the past two decades. However, most institutions have been running on the same student information system (SIS) solutions during this time. These solutions are becoming cumbersome and lack features such as mobility and workflow as standard.

Furthermore, the cost of maintaining these solutions has skyrocketed. Advances in technology mean that SIS solutions are no longer passive, transactional systems of record. Rather, they are systems of engagement, which institutions can use to differentiate themselves in the market. Workday Student, delivered through a true multitenant cloud platform, will address the challenges of institutions staying current on their systems and accelerate the wider SIS modernization trend.

Workday has risen to the challenge it set itself

According to Ovum's 2016/17 ICT Enterprise Insights (ICTEI) survey, investments in student information systems will happen at a faster rate than any other core application over the next 18 months. Approximately 56% of institutions have strategic or minor investment planned for their SIS in the near future. Vendors are responding to this increase in demand for new solutions and the institutional need for innovation in administrative systems, and the next generation of SIS solutions is beginning to emerge.

In 2013, Workday put pressure on other SIS vendors by being the first to announce its intention to build a cloud-native SIS. After three years of development, the company announced the availability of Workday Student toward the end of 2016. Built with the input of more than 40 institutions, Workday Student is a mobile, cloud-native, end-to-end system that includes student recruiting, admissions, curriculum management, student records, academic advising, financial aid, and student financials. With Workday Student, Workday is making a play to lead the next decade of SIS in higher education. In the time it took for incumbent SIS vendors to upgrade their solutions – some of which are still months away from a complete solution – Workday built a cloud-native SIS from the ground up. This presents a huge opportunity for Workday to target customers of its competitors not only in the US market, but also hopefully in other continents.

Over the next 12 to 18 months, an increasing number of institutions will consider the cost of maintaining legacy systems and either upgrade to the next version of existing vendor solutions or replace legacy systems entirely with new vendor offerings. With the continued pressure of tight budgets and the need for differentiation in a competitive market, there is a growing appetite among institutions for upgrading or replacing legacy SIS solutions with modern technology. Workday Student, with its modern, mobile, and cloud technology, will likely be a strong option for institutions.


Further reading

"Will 2017 be the year of the student information system in higher education?"IT0008-000295 (November 2016)

2017 Trends to Watch: Higher Education, IT0008-000285 (November 2016)


Navneet Johal, Research Analyst, Education Technology

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