Unis in joint bid for CRM system

Otago and Massey universities are looking at getting a joint student management system.

Otago and Massey universities are looking at getting a joint student management system.

In November, the two institutions put out a joint call for expressions of interest in “a medium-sized solution that can interface with their legacy systems”, according to the RFI.

John Price, director of academic services at Otago University, says “universities do work together on various things and it so happens we were both thinking along the same lines at the same time and decided to put out a joint RFI to see what’s available.

“We’re looking for a practical, cost-effective way to manage student and prospective student contacts.

“Many ring in with inquiries regarding enrolment material and general inquiries and we need to get back to them.”

The RFI calls for a system that can provide contact history, referral, monitoring and escalation, and an information repository for FAQs, sales, response and campaign management, data mining and modelling, customer profile functions, an ad-hoc reporting tool and queue management, among other functions.

“The evaluation is still progressing,” Price says.

Otago has used purpose-built, in-house created databases to manage relationships with students, but it was time to go to the market to look at new products, he says.

He declined to talk about the budget for the project.

“We haven’t got to that stage yet; it’s part of what we’re trying to find out.”

Any decision on a product is several months away, he says.

The joint CRM tender is one of few examples to emerge so far of tertiary institutions working together on an IT project.

The best known such collaboration is Conzulsys, which involves most university libraries sharing applications and databases.

Speaking to Computerworld last month, Auckland University IT support services head Stephen Whiteside said significant IT services sharing in the tertiary sector was “a couple of years” away but may be assisted by a proposed high-capacity, high-speed research and education network for the sector.

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