Strategic Role of Finance, HR & Payroll in Promoting Institutional Success

Leverage Software to Increase Productivity and Improve Campus Outcomes

Welcome everyone and thank you for joining us for this important and informative webinar. This afternoon we will learn about the strategic role of finance, human resources and payroll in supporting institutional success. Today’s discussion is brought to you by Campus Management with discussion lead by Cameron Evans, Chief Technology Officer, Microsoft Education and Raymond Blackwood, VP of Product Management at Campus Management Corporation.

Cameron Evans serves as National and Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft Education. He is responsible for shaping and leading Microsoft’s empowered learning agenda in U.S. education. A 20-year veteran of education, Cameron has been a pioneer and a leader of education transformation in public schools and universities across the nation. Cameron focuses on sustainable education initiatives that improve individual learner outcomes and the productivity of people with technology. Cameron is a highly sought after speaker and frequent lecturer on issues pertaining to impact learning, the academic enterprise and school innovation. As a U.S. spokesperson for Microsoft in Education, Cameron frequently speaks at industry conferences and writes on literacy, STEM, entrepreneurship, gaining leadership and innovation on a monthly basis. Cameron is also a U.S. Air Force veteran and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Management Computer Information Systems from Park University and a Master’s in Business Administration specializing in Global Leadership from the University of Texas at Dallas. In his free time, he loves being creative, eating dessert first is always a must, and traveling with his family.

Raymond Blackwell is the Vice President of Product Management at Campus Management Corporation and is a futurist who is passionate about technology in business intelligence and leadership. Ray is also a 20-year leader of higher education and has experience on an assortment of roles, including coauthoring technology texts and publishing articles on network security in wireless technology. Prior to joining Campus Management, he was a Director of Technology for a small private college. Ray lives in Boca Raton with his wife and family.

"We are seeing a bunch of challenges that are facing higher education. So it is basically transform your institution or perish."

Raymond Blackwood: You know, as we look on the higher education landscape today, we are seeing a bunch of challenges that are facing higher education. So it is basically transform your institution or perish. We see challenges with delivery models and how institutions are reshaping their programs from being hybrid and online or on campus program delivery. There is competition not only with students and enrolling in your institution but also retaining these students while they are at your institutions. There is so much out there today that distracts your student. We really need to have engagement models that are in place to insure that we have great orchestrated interactions between our students, whether they are prospects, attending students or graduates or members of our community. Funding is a huge challenge and we are going to spend some time today talking about some of the funding challenges that are out there. But with budgets being tightened up, with outcomes for our students, progress outside of graduation and while they are in school affecting how much money our institutions are getting, funding is becoming a real challenge for institutions today. And I mentioned outcomes before. Outcomes not just from state regulatory bodies but the federal government putting mandates and constraints on the amount of money that we can get for our students and what we can do to build and sustain our institutions. And we see all these challenges culminating as a super storm that is brewing in higher education. So when we look at the strategic role of finance, HR and payroll, I think I am going to put after Cameron. Cameron, how do you equip your staff to overcome the financial management challenges and today’s higher education market?

"25 percent of our campus leaders are looking at the fact that their business models are not sustainable."

Cameron Evans: Ray, that is a really great question to start off with but in order for us to get some background and detail on it, I want to share a couple of perspectives here. First about 25 percent of our campus leaders – these are presidents and business officers – are looking at the fact that their business models are not sustainable. And when we look at the next five years, they are not as optimistic as people would expect them to be. And then we look at even ten years and optimism drops precipitously as people are starting to look at the notions of competition, delivery models and funding challenges that you laid out plus with outcome, how can you pay for all of this? How can you sustain the infrastructure that you have, the human capital that you have, as well as insure that people actually returning so that you have alumni that can give. None of those things is working the way they traditionally have and university leaders, college leaders are really concerned about that going forward. And as we think about that, these challenges, one of the notions here is this problem with just tuition fees itself. Tuition has outstripped any consumer index when it comes to inflationary growth. It is higher than what we had in healthcare. It is higher than our consumer credit index. It is higher than anything that people are tracking from an economic standpoint. And this has become a problem because we have a variety of different funding formulas that mix in to how we afford tuition for students. And so schools are looking at different ways in order to keep revenues high. That can be taking more out of state students in for tuition, taking the best students that have the highest grades. The top ten percent that we know will be successful in college and actually complete on time, as well as taking students that are foreign born coming into the United States so not only are they paying out of state tuition, they are also paying tuition from outside of the nation.

"Programs are being funded by allocation and not by new monies."

But chief academic officers when they look at this particular mix, they are looking at their programs are being funded by allocation and not by new monies. And so it is based on can you get students actually in those courses and are those courses mainly successful so that you are accreditation continues year after year each time that comes up. This is a challenge for this financial crisis as we look across the whole higher education market. And it really brings us down to start looking at how do we make this work better knowing that the day to day challenges that we are seeing in our schools are getting to the point where a one size fits all or one size fits most approach no longer works. It does not work in technology nor does it work in the alignment that we are seeing. And so when we look at this question, it really calls for organizations to think about how do we reengineer, how do we bring innovation so that we can remain relevant and competitive. Because what is at risk is formal learning all of and it is not just a higher education issue. It is actually a K-20 issue. That formal learning is at risk across the board. And so for most, this will require examining of business processes to map both the local challenges and state policies for performance. Few institutions have a budget to increase talent to make these types of transformations so they are going to have to rely on executing this change with the people that they already have.

"A real opportunity to leverage software to increase productivity and improve campus outcomes."

But the thing that can be done is to change some of the things that they are doing with technology. And that is a real opportunity to leverage software to increase productivity and improve campus outcomes. To do just that you need to have software that can be adaptive and align to new business realities. It cannot be a situation where you have these rigid silos. I have toured across the nation and seen universities cannot innovate because they are using a database that was built in 1980 and they have updated it for the last time at Y2K. And it is 2015 and they cannot bring the innovation that they need for most of their business into the schools. And so colleges and universities when we look at them, they need to work like a network. And the hierarchies of the past, well, that has been the modus operandi of the day in academia. Those rigid structures can actually hamper innovation and cause leaders to miss out on opportunities that they need to see in a mobile first, Cloud first world. So we are clearly at a place where the network world and where institutions can harness technology to empower people and accelerate their business innovations. But in order to do that, they are going to need to serve more students for positive outcomes if they want to continue to win. We see this as a leaders’ challenge but we also see it as the leaders’ greatest opportunity.

Managing faculty credentials, career path, intellectual property, seems to be a difficult and often task. How can institutions address this?

Raymond Blackwood: Yeah, I will take that one. So as people, we oftentimes only stop and reflect when things start to go bad, right. You stop and say how in the world did I get myself into this mess? And when things are going fine, we kind of just go with the flow. And I have experienced this first hand when it comes time for an accreditation visit or for collecting a lot of data for an organization to report for some kind of meeting or oversight. It can be really, really overwhelming. And a lot of times, institutions ask how in the world do we let this happen? How do I make sure that we do better? We never have to go through something like this again. And there are a lot of point solutions that are out there that help institutions address things, like insuring faculty have the right credentials to teach the right courses. And they audit these courses and they keep on top of all of the new bodies of work that faculty members are creating while they are out the institution term over term, year after year. But what we do not have or what we have not had in the past is a single platform that really goes across the organization and provides insight. Not just into faculty credentials and faculty works, but also ties directly into their benefits, and their compensation, and their performance as a faculty member. The influence that they have had at the institution over the years, the number of students that they have taught, the average grade that the students produce. These types of things.

"And ultimately have ways where you can go to the data and understand what your return on investment is."

And so we wanted to create a solution that really brought all of this data together. That allowed faculty members to upload their books and their research and patents and new courses that they created, conference papers that they have presented at. Even to the point where we are cataloging fine art, and films, and sculptures that are being produced by our faculty members. And like I said, we really want to take all of that and in addition to that, see what their influence is on the student body. And help them in performance reviews and be better faculty members, but also understand the impact and the influence that they have over the organization. And this is where the strategic role of HR starts to play out when the academic provost’s office and the business office. You should be able to analyze the alignment of faculty members through course instruction, the syllabi, looking at the student outcomes for the course and the programs that they are in. And ultimately have ways where you can go to the data and understand what your return on investment is. Right? Understand how much your programs are costing. How much is this course costing? How much does this course cost if I have it in this building on this day with these resources versus having it another place. And so when you have all of the data connected and you have a really powerful engine for analytics, you can start asking the data these questions and you can really start having an impact on how you can save money, how you can improve performance. And we see this as a trend that is growing. How do I get everything into my data warehouse? How do I bring all these systems together? And that is really how we think you are going to find institutional success in HR is by looking across all of these systems together.

So this slide actually speaks to what I was talking about. It is having a talent management system that is really designed for faculty. So we have got great HR systems, great payroll systems, but can we provide that extra flair that really reinforces the need to manage faculty as employees by the collection of all this information.

Moderator: Well thanks Ray. Certainly, colleges and universities are in a dire need of talent management systems that focus on unique needs of higher ed. This continues the ability to, of course, track specific types of knowledge creation. There is a few listed there, plus determine how influential the faculty have been on the student body. And this is where the strategic role of HR starts. It certainly plays out with the academic provost’s office and the business office and it should be able to analyze the alignment of the faculty members to the course instructions and syllabi and to the student. So there is an additional administrative function that is key to institutions and the biggest challenge in managing payroll can be payroll by strategic partner at institutions. And sometimes it is syphoned off or managed separately from HR, even outsourced.

So the question becomes can payroll become a strategic partner with an institution? Cameron, what would you think about that statement?

Cameron Evans: Payroll is one of those areas that is precious to everyone on this call because whether you are paying a mortgage or the rent, you do not want anybody screwing around with payroll. This is a sensitive, sensitive subject. But when organizations look at payroll all up, they have to really think about how do you want to rethink that process. We have over 100,000 people at Microsoft and yet we only have three people managing payroll for over 100,000 employees. And we use technology and software to orchestrate everybody getting paid twice a month and plus their bonuses as appropriate throughout the year. And this is a massive, massive undertaking. And oftentimes when we look at educational institutions that type of undertaking at that level of sophistication is just simply not there yet. And there are a few reasons why that is not happening. If you look at the time spent on payroll, there is a whole lot of time spent just collecting and approving things. And then as you move down into the processes, you are looking at checks, direct deposit, processing reports. Oh my goodness, paper. Paper. Why is there so much paper in higher education, especially in universities that actually have tech in their name. I see a lot of paper at those colleges and universities. And so the manual nature of payroll processing as well as the fact that in some cases it has been outsourced to different parties, contractors or service providers in order to do that function. It creates constraints on whether a university can actually use payroll as a strategic lever in order to gain efficiencies and more productivity across the entire organization.

"Why is there so much paper in higher education, especially in universities that actually have tech in their name."

Now in the late ‘90s and in the early 2000s, outsourcing was a major, major activity for every corporation, every government institution and every university to consider because at that time economies and scale favored outsourcing. But today technology actually allows that type of capability to come back in house and people to pick that up as a strategic advantage and be able to move forward. And so when you think about that, now we have the ability to reduce the cost of employee drops significantly over the next two years and beyond when you are able to bring that technology in house to do payroll processing. And then the institution also losses the constraint, the rigidness of having dates and timelines being set by an external third party because that external third party has to not only work with their institution but several other institutions. And so those timelines and rigidity go away as you bring that back in house. And there are other benefits that work from being able to make payroll a much more effective part of the overall orchestration for transformation. And this is one of those strategic areas that as you look at finance, as you look at talent and capital talent management, and human capital development, as well as the payroll function inside of an organization, these things can now be done in a much more sophisticated way.

So what endeavors have Campus Management and Microsoft pursued to help institutions more effectively manage the business of higher education?

"At Campus Management, we have built our entire product line on the Microsoft stack."

Raymond Blackwood: At Campus Management, we have built our entire product line on the Microsoft stack. Microsoft provides the technology, tools, the platform for us to deliver products that meet today’s higher education institution’s needs. Specifically, as we start to move towards more of a web based experienced and access to information is stored in the Cloud, Campus Management does not want to have to solve these problems. Microsoft solves those problems and that allows us to concentrate on solving the problems that higher ed faces. Problems around security, information sharing, self-service for students, for faculty, for staff, having configural business process orchestration and bring what used to be a bunch of siloed applications together with a clean platform on a clean technology stack that easily brings in solutions together that have the cohesive look and feel. And then underneath it all has really powerful analytics. So if you want to go to the next slide, so we have created a solution that is specific for higher education, business officers and human resource administrators. And we did this on top of the really powerful Microsoft Dynamics AX platform. It provides rich core financial management and HR functionality. It has been proven around the world. It has a fantastic customer base and it is a really powerful piece of technology.

"It streamlines inter-departmental processes and it realizes cost savings that will dramatically improve operational efficiency."

CampusNexus Finance, HR and payroll will empower institutions to manage student accounts, federal work study and payroll, faculty workload, credentialing details, manage fund sources like scholarships and grants and position control and budgeting. It streamlines inter-departmental processes and it realizes cost savings that will dramatically improve operational efficiency. You can govern a single or multi-campus institution with specific department workflows, approvals and document tracking. And, of course, it integrates with our student information system but it is also very powerful as a standalone system. And it also can be integrated with any other student information system that your institution might have, really giving you the power of this Microsoft platform no matter where you are starting from at your institution.

Given the state of funding, how are most business officers responding, whether it is raising tuition or other factors that they are grappling with?

Cameron Evans: Well, when you look at it across the board, every university, every college, every leader is taking things that are really tailored to their particular situations, where they are in the country, what their particular strengths are. Not everybody is trying that one size fits all approach to how they deal with funding. As I talked about before, changing the mix of students at an institution is super important. But one thing that universities are doing is trying to make sure that the students that come in, that they recruit, that their first year at the college, that they are successful within that first year. A lot is done to make sure that first year persistence and that students move on and make progress towards completion is happening at a greater scale. Because when you think about it just mathematically, let us say we have three kids that come in the freshman year and two of them leave in their sophomore year. The cost of teaching did not go down because the two kids left. It just means that the costs now have to be lumped onto the kid that remains. And so if you can help more students to actually sustain themselves throughout their academic career, then we can see tuition costs actually become a little bit more flat or at least stop increasing dramatically as we insure that more students can make progress to completion. And so having systems that enable you to track relationships far more effectively is also a great way to bring costs down and improve outcomes at the same time. We see a lot of colleges and universities actually focusing on their core mission of helping students succeed and finding that that core mission is also a way to keep costs from escalating in their institution as well, Gerry.

Well that may be a good segue into the question about public funding. And certainly that is tied to student outcome. To what extent are you seeing that sort of impacting the current landscape in higher education?

Cameron Evans: Well, it always depends on the institution. If it is a private institution, public funding is not the biggest thing on their radar. But for a public institution with a funding mix both from the federal and the state government has changed dramatically. A lot of states are trying to figure out a different way to fund public education and insure that students getting – there are some states that have rules whether you can have a student enrolled. And they are enrolled in all of the schools throughout the system simultaneously. And more courses are being offered online. And the courses are being offered online, they are not because of some of the reasons people think. There are actually much simpler reason. When the price of gas goes up, kids do not want to drive to campus. It is just that simple. And so having a course online allows them to be able to have a blended learning experience and continue to make progress even when other inflationary indexes are causing it to be a challenge in order to remain in school. And this is one of the things that we have to have universities look both at macro and micro economic indicators because some of the things that we think are obvious are not so obvious. They are simple things that students are making decisions. They live within two miles, five miles from campus but gas is expensive and they would rather spend that gas going to a party, not going to a parking lot. And so if you can make the course available online, they will continue their degree. And it is actually more cost effective to move courses into the Cloud so that those students can do that as well. And so it is finding when we get down into the nitty gritty details of why things are the way they are on campus versus the way we think they are. And sometimes data does not pull that out.

"It is really putting a lot of pressures on institutions to absolutely work on student success and student engagement."

Raymond Blackwood: Yeah. I was just going to say in my home state of Florida a new model was adopted I think just in January of 2014 that has a new formula for how states get funding. Each institution is basically assigned a value between one and five based off of performance over ten different metrics. And if a school does not score 25 points, then they do not get the funding next year. If they score less, they can get one percent less funding a year by not hitting those metrics. And then there is competition in place that if you exceed the 25, 26, they look at the highest institutions and they have like a bonus pool where more money goes to the more successful institutions. So some of these things that they are looking for outcomes is the percentage of Bachelor graduates that are employed or going back to graduate school after a year. They are looking at the median average salary of full time wages for undergrads a year after graduation. They are looking at the cost of undergraduate tuition or I mean the cost that the undergrad has on the institution. So the more it costs to teach the student, it affects the institution in a negative way. So they are really encouraged to find ways to save money. They are looking at a six year graduation rate and then to piggyback on what Cameron said earlier about retention for those first year students, in Florida they are actually looking how many of your second year students are still there. And how many of those have a 2.0 or higher. So we are seeing these outcomes manifest themselves. I think 30 states have different programs similar to this right now. And it is really putting a lot of pressures on institutions to absolutely work on student success and student engagement. But there is pressure at the administration to also cut costs and find out where they are actually spending the most money and where they can find efficiencies.

Well certainly an aspect of this is the healthcare reforms and HR looking at the staffing and faculty. What’s the impact on HR departments are you seeing at various colleges?

Raymond Blackwood: Well, definitely the Affordable Care Act has really put a strain on a lot of the HR departments, and especially those that manage a high number of adjunct faculty, because they really stride that line of benefit eligibility. Because you have to remember, teachers do not teach all year long necessarily. You may have some online programs or things like that that go all year long but in a lot of cases at these traditional schools, it may just be 15 weeks or 30 weeks. And what happens is if your adjunct faculty member goes over that 30 hour limit, they are eligible for benefits. So we are seeing more and more how they are having to cut back on the number of credits per term they allow for adjunct faculty. And so they are responding by going and teaching at more institutions. So while they are having to pick up the cost of managing their own healthcare, they are also having to figure out how to balance teaching at multiple institutions. That is a direct example that I have come across very recently.

Certainly HR departments are responding to increased concerns about information privacy, whether it is HIPAA or FERPA and that is another, I guess, aspect beyond just the financial aspect is the privacy. Is there certain things that have arisen there?

"Privacy continues to be a challenge across all industries."

Cameron Evans: Privacy continues to be a challenge across all industries because fundamentally underlying all of this is that there is way too much data being collected by too many different parties. And the first party, whether that be an employee or a student, they are not always aware who has access to their data for what reason. If there are collateral uses or commercial uses of that data being done. And the transparency, disclosure, as well as any type of third party auditing of practices for an institution, this has become the new Achilles heel in all of education and as we look at privacy. This has only escalated by recent disclosures of government breaches of privacy in citizens. This has only been escalated by retailers throughout the nation, especially during the holiday season that just passed, having security breaches where privacy and data was stolen. And then Sony Pictures recently had a hack of email that has just caused a lot of different people to have a lot of deeper understanding both for lay people as well as policy experts and leaders to start thinking about what is actually going on with my data. And when you are telling me that I can put more stuff in the Cloud and more things can be done mobile so that we can be productive, how exactly when I gain all of this efficiency, productivity and cost savings do you keep me safe? Do you keep me secure? How can I trust it? And this is the conversation for Microsoft that we have routinely all the time. One because we have had a long track record of having to deal with this back into the early part of this century with so many different malware and threats attacking Microsoft assets and technologies around the world. That we have actually made privacy of more than a decade ago, privacy, security, our business transparency, the pillars in the way we operate from a trustworthy computing prospective. And so for FERPA and HIPAA, the laws themselves have not necessarily matured with the speed of technology and so it is important and incumbent upon companies that provide technologies in the higher education to one, be ahead of policy in terms of how they are approaching keeping data secure, making sure that there are no collateral uses.

In fact, insuring that the institution themselves remain custodial control of all of their data and that they have access to withdraw their data at any time. And insuring that it is not outside of the United States so no other sovereign nation can lay claim to their particular data assets and say they are seizing all of the information of their employees or seizing all the information of their students. All of these things have to be thought out well in advance and oftentimes to raise point, people do not think about them until they are under threat or there has been a breach on a campus where people are starting to flip out. But as you start integrating more systems and as you start getting into this world where we talk about the internet of things, of connecting different machines and different points of data entry into a massive source of content for big data. Now we need to have a very fervent conversation about privacy because the integration and the linkages of that data are now able to tell a different story that humans can tell but now machines can. And this is super important that if you are moving to the Cloud, find a provider that you can trust and make sure that they have their business practices publicly documented and available for you to walk through. And have a third party audit so that you can have the confidence to go back to your stakeholders, employees and students and let them know that the business decisions you made are not jeopardizing their privacy today nor in the future.

Raymond Blackwood: Everything that Cameron said is right on, from trying to develop solutions and helping institutions manage these things. I know that we are spending a lot of time and investing a lot in making sure that the self-service capabilities that we provide for the data collection provide a level of safety for the submitter, because we do have to gather a lot of information, especially in medical programs and things like that, that can become very private. Especially we do not want people around the institution to get a handle on these things. So having multiple layers of authentication for some forms to be able to have these documents that we can set different permissions on where people cannot necessarily have access to what is in the document because if the document has been submitted and on file. And then just being very, very diligent about the roles that we enable our people to have at the institution. A lot of schools do not have the manpower to really break out a lot of these roles and responsibilities that we see in the corporate world, where you have these very strict rules for who can have access to what systems. It becomes very familiar. Learning is about open sharing so security is kind of like against what we think about when we go to college, about free speech and free thinking and openness. And so there is a real balance that has to be there. And we need to provide solutions for institutions that can navigate the tricky world that we are living in for sure.

One question that came up was about the Campus Management Solutions to adapt to future institutional and legislative as well as the strategic change that is happening in higher education and sort of looking at that and how that is being adapted.

"Institutions are looking for are solutions that are flexible, rule based, configurable."

Raymond Blackwood: Well you know I just read the recent Market Guide for Higher Education from Gartner. And what they are saying is that what institutions are looking for are solutions that are flexible, rule based, configurable solutions that provide a lot of self-service capabilities without necessarily the need to customize. They are looking for solutions that support flexible term structures like non-term borrower based for online or competency based programs and strengthening these ground programs that they have. They are looking for systems that can be deployed modularly so that they can pace the rate of change that the institution is going to feel while they see tangible benefits pretty quickly. So having access to the capability but choosing how you roll it out and the time of how you roll it out is really important to institutions, especially under funding pressures. And that is really why we partner with Microsoft. Their platform capabilities or their bench driven architecture, the workflow capabilities, along with their Cloud strategy and their BI tools are really poised well to meet the needs of what institutions are looking for today. And that is why I am really excited about everything that is going on with Campus Management and Microsoft.

Cameron Evans: All I will say is that we continue to spend a $9,500,000,000 a year on R&D so that Campus Management does not have to.

That knowledge gets passed on to higher education to make sure that as the things – the world is going to continue to change. This is a super important question. You looked at both strategic issues, legislative issues as well as just the market itself. As formal learning has to take its next evolutionary step, what we know today as higher education will not be the same education that I got nor will it be the education that my daughter is expected to get in 2021. And so technology has to be a lot more flexible and a lot more adaptable to both the people and the processes versus the people and processes always adapting to the technology. And I think with Campus Management and what they are doing with Dynamics AX so the CampusNexus is going to take higher education into an entirely new stratosphere so that they have the agility to move forward and do it quickly because we actually do not have a whole lot of time to make this transformation happen. We need to accelerate it.

You had referred to sort of a global landscape and certainly a lot of institutions are looking at international students and online learning as grown areas. And certainly that may factor into your consultation on privacy and some other issues as part of your solution. Have those two factors been prevalent conversation topics with institutions?

"Microsoft does business around the world so that we can help higher education continue to grow."

Cameron Evans: It comes up more than people realize, Gerry. As more universities partner with other governments, other ministries of education outside of the United States, the privacy dance becomes even more of a delicate ballet. As we look at other industries, especially in greater China, where you have people moving from rural parts of China into these cities. And now their economic systems and the economic base is actually growing, you have to have new jobs created for new places for tourism and new places for hospitality. And yet, they do not necessarily have a university’s tool to provide those type of skill sets for their own native citizens. So they are partnering with American universities and colleges in order to make that happen. And so as you do that, you are now providing both data services and systems for employees, faculty and students that are foreign born and also operating in a foreign nation. And so you have to think differently about how does the data and the rules in that country, the policy and legislation in those countries, work conversely with what we would have here in the United States. And does that global company provide me with the flexibility to make sure that I can have some type of wall between the data that I need to stay sovereign in the United States. Because I may have some federal requirements to make sure that that data stays in the United States versus data that stays in another country like China because I have the Ministry of Education in China that says I do not want any of my students’ data in America. And so all of those things come up far more frequently than people realize. And fortunately, Microsoft does business around the world so that we can help higher education continue to grow around the world.

Ray, I do not know. Have you talked about solutions that on the online learning or international side that would add to Cameron’s perspective?

Raymond Blackwood: No, just to reinforce it, I mean, we are a global higher education company and have implementations going on currently in Africa and in Malaysia implementing Dynamics there. And we definitely run across these issues, not only just the data but even in terms of implementation on who is implementing it and the different types of data that can be exchanged from country to country is definitely something that we face on a daily basis as we implement our solutions around the world.

Moderator: There was a news story recently just this week about a small college in Philadelphia that is now offering curriculum both in classroom and online as part of the entire package that you can choose and sort of flow from one to the other. And that seems to be to Cameron’s point about the next generation of students that are going to really be grappling with or embracing a completely different format of learning. So I think what you covered today has certainly touched on a lot of those essential sustainable needs for higher education. So certainly we would love to have you provide any final thoughts before we sort of wrap up today’s presentation.

Cameron Evans: Well, I will just comment on that last remark you made, Gerry. We still have a lot of non-traditional students that are Gen-Xers and Boomers continuing to go to higher education to find new skills, find new degree programs and just things of that nature so that they can continue to participate in society. But the Millennials that will be coming into higher education from this point forward, they really expect technology to be super personalized and adaptive to them. They have never had to wait for a modem to make a negotiated connection to the internet. They really never had to wait on a microwave to mis-pop popcorn. You just press the button and it is done. And so their upbringing and affect and views on choice and their view on waiting for things are fundamentally different from Gen-Xers, Boomers and the silent generation. And we have to make sure that as we look at that, that we are considering how we are really helping technology move people through in such a way that there is no waste of their time. There is no waste of employees’ time and everybody’s productivity from faculty to administrator is actually skyrocketing as we move further and further into this digital decade, especially as we get into the next digital decade. And as a personal plea for all of our educators on the line, my daughter graduates in 2021. I need you to have this all figured out by then so if she shows up at your institution, she is ready to go.

"Need to find a strategic way to responsibly look at the technology challenges that are out there."

Raymond Blackwood: Yeah, just to piggyback on that, absolutely right about the different generations of students and how they are learning, and the different learning styles and the expectations. We expect the change to continue. One of the things that we have been looking at as a higher education company is if you look at our industry compared to other industries like retail and mapping, there has been major transformation in the business. So where we had Yellow Pages to go look up information and now we have search engines online that basically give us the answer to everything of the world’s collective knowledge at our fingertips. We have Amazon. When they basically republished the catalog online, it changed the way that we shop forever. It is actually a measure of our economic success at the end of the year with Cyber Monday. We have not seen that type of transformational change come to higher education. And a lot of it is just because of tradition. I mean no one is willing to give up March Madness. No one is willing to give up our old alma mater and the memories that we have of college, even for the non-traditional students who I consider myself one because I went to grad school in my late 20's and early 30's. And even the bonding that you have and the projects that you do and the experience that you have. That is something that you take away with you. It is not like playing a game or achieving something online. So we know that there is change. And we know that with these new technologies that are emerging, that we need to find a strategic way to responsibly look at the technology challenges that are out there. Find the right balance between capital investment and operational expenses, getting more and more departments to collaborate across the aisle together to manage these implementations. And as that becomes more complex at the institutions, and it is not just a function of IT to solve a technology problem, but as departments come together and solve problems for the institution, we have to find ways of tracking that and allocating that and really calculating the return on investment. And so I would say not just as their change in the student population and the way that we deliver education, but we just need to be on the lookout for the changes that are there and how we are going to manage that change over time.

Products and Solutions

Campus Management’s software and services are in step with higher education’s demands for better service and accountability.