Making CRM Mandatory for University Administration: Why Higher-Education Spending on CRM Is Set to Almost Double by 2012

Article excerpt

Many colleges urge incoming students, with their first steps on campus, to take a wide variety of courses to get a more complete education. The fear was that a student would only home in on one major course of study, and then forget about all other subjects. One analyst argues that some universities have failed to heed their own advice in terms of CRM--and are only now starting to come around.

Speaking about the way universities handled CRM in the past, Nicole Engelbert, lead analyst of vertical markets technology at Data-monitor, and author of the study "CRM in the Higher Education Market," says, "Historically, institutions have used a collection of fairly limited point solutions on a departmental basis." Noting what seems to be an epiphany within these halls of higher learning, she adds,"Now they're saying, 'Gosh, this is expensive to do it this way and it's actually not providing our institution the value and functionality that we really need.'"

Hard numbers apparently support Engelbert's claims. According to her recent study, IT revenue from CRM solutions in the higher-education markets of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Australia will grow from $184.9 million in 2007 to $324.5 million in 2012, due to the purchase of new solutions and the expansion of existing installations. Engelbert goes on to explain that institutions finally understand the need for "more robust, more enterprise-class CRM applications in the higher-education market."

These enterprise-class solutions, she argues, can help to bring together the siloed data for the three crucial areas in higher education: recruitment, retention, and development. In turn, this will help create what Engelbert calls "the 360-degree view of the student." Institutions, she adds, "have really had to create a comprehensive view of a student that persists over time."

Keith Hontz, CRM development director for SAP Higher Education and Research (HER), agrees with Engelbert's view. He explains that colleges have been asking about how to incorporate CRM technology into multichannel recruitment, student retention, and donor/alumni management--and it's about time, he says. (See "Customers for Life," July 2004.) "I think universities have been sort of late to the game in terms of looking at these three areas," he explains. "They had a lot of legacy applications [and] older technologies from niche vendors that played in one of these areas, but I think universities are starting to take a much more holistic approach."

While seeking out complete enterprise solutions to paint a complete picture of each student is one major trend in the industry today, another shift lies in the delivery model for these solutions. …