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Campus on Cloud: a campus management solution for Higher Education Institutions

Campus on Cloud is a Campus Management Solution which provides Higher Education Institutes with tools to monitor, analyze and manage the operations of the institute. These operations include organization of the Admissions process, Academic management, and handling of the Financial department.

Before looking what Campus on Cloud has to offer, let’s first take a look at what exactly is a campus management solution and why any institute would want to use it in Pakistan.

What is a Campus Management Solution?

CMS manages information for the entire life cycle of a student, starting from initial application for admission to enrollment and finally graduation.

A Campus Management Solution (CMS) is an integrated solution that manages nearly all aspects of a Higher Education Institute. It manages everything from admission applications, generating merit lists, notifying approved candidates, to calculating semester fees, fines and managing courses and their respective results for each student. To describe simply, a CMS manages information for the entire life cycle of a student, starting from initial application for admission to enrollment and finally graduation.

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Is there any need for CMS in Pakistan?

Similar to other Asian countries, people in Pakistan tend to spend a lot of money on education. According to an estimate, a middle-class family in Pakistan spends about 30% of its earning on education. This is in stark comparison to figures of 2% for American families and 17% for India. It is not a surprise that more than 88,000 private institutes are currently managing their operations at the local level in Pakistan. Out of these 88,000, more than 4,000 are privately run Higher Education Institutes.

These institutes are growing day by day. More and more students are opting for these private institutes to get the superior education which government run institutes have failed to provide.

Having such a large number of students attempting to apply and a small portion of them getting admission, it becomes difficult for institutes to manage their operations. The old pen and paper techniques of the past are simply not effective in this time and day. So it makes sense for such institutes to make use of developing technology to make both their own and students’ lives easier. This can be done by deploying a campus management software. The next logical step is asking which solution to use? To answer that question, let’s take a look at one of the options — Campus on Cloud by AlmusNet.

What is Campus on Cloud?

Campus on Cloud is a product of AlmusNet (a sister organization of Techlogix). It is currently being used in 5 different universities. It is known for its ease of use and modern design.

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By providing its services worldwide and to a vast majority of institutes, Campus on Cloud is seen as a direct competitor to PeopleSoft, owned by Oracle Corporation, which holds a distinctive place in providing campus management solutions to institutes all around the globe.

Before looking at how Campus on Cloud can prove to be the right CMS for an institute in Pakistan, let’s first take a look at what different features Campus on Cloud has to offer.

Main components of Campus on Cloud

Campus on Clouds caters to these four main areas:

1. Core

The core module of Campus on Cloud hosts the main definitions and academic structure. It defines policies and rules which are used by the other modules. This ensures that a change in institute policy is reflected across all branches of the administrative structure. A configurable security framework ensures access of functions and data is restricted to specifically defined user roles.

2. Academics

The Academics part of the Campus on Cloud software facilitates in setting up the course catalog and offers an intuitive user interface for offering new courses or managing existing ones. Enrollment of students in classes, adding, dropping or swapping courses, grading of courses, is handled by Campus on Cloud. It handles scheduling of classes, exams, and faculty. It automates the process of grade assignment and transcript generation.

3. Admissions

Campus on Cloud also automates the process of applying to the institute. It manages everything in the admissions process from online applications, through receipt of online and paper applications, the selection process, management of candidate offers and their acceptance and the collection of application and admission fees etc.

4. Financials

In addition to academics and admissions process, Campus on Cloud also keeps track of all financial transactions going on in the institute. It can automatically calculate tuition fees and other charges which apply to different categories of students. The collection of fees and recovery of late payments is also an integral part of its offering. It can also keep track of scholarships and waivers offered to students and adjust the fees generated accordingly.

Customer Support and Deployment Procedure

In a country like Pakistan, where technological expertise is a rare thing, customer support is a big thing to consider when buying a product of the scale of Campus on Cloud. AlmusNet prides itself in its superior 24/7 infrastructure support and rapid system deployment. Depending upon the size of institute and complexity of its current administration system, AlmusNet claims that they can go live in 3 to 6 months. In addition to this one-time deployment, Campus on Cloud also offers one major and one minor platform upgrades per year. The cost of these upgrades is included in the annual license fee so that users don’t have to think twice before upgrading their system.

Campus on Cloud offers 24/7 infrastructure support and rapid system deployment within 3 to 6 months

 

Benefits of using Microsoft Azure Cloud

Campus on Cloud is delivered on the Microsoft Azure Cloud. This means that all the hardware and technology required for Campus on Cloud is delivered as part of the solution and included in the annual subscription price.

When it comes to resource management systems of any kind and scope, security is a major concern for many. A lot of people think that using cloud services will put their data at risk. While this is true to some extent, by using Microsoft Azure as its cloud backend, Campus on Cloud ensures active management of cyber security threats by Microsoft itself. This means that the sensitive data will remain out of reach for hackers and other nefarious characters.

Campus on Cloud also includes disaster recovery environment and regular backups. All of this is included within the price of a single deployment. The system also has the option to scale both the hardware and technology according to current demand. This helps in situations where more resources are needed such as admissions process etc. Below is a price comparison of Campus on Cloud and the campus management solution by Oracle.
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To gain more insight into real world applications of Campus on Cloud and to learn from first-hand experience, an overview of Rehman Medical Institute, which started using Campus on Cloud in Spring 2016, is given below:

Views of a Campus on Cloud customer

Rehman Medical Institute is one of the 5 universities who has subscribed to the services of Campus on Cloud. RMI currently has over 1,000 enrolled students and this number is expected to double in the next two years. Before using Campus on Cloud, RMI had no centralized management system. It was using a combination of home grew and customized local solutions to manage their academic and financial functions.

The Admissions process was not supported digitally and was almost entirely paper-based. It was impossible to enforce business rules consistently because the three key offices i.e. Admissions, the Registrar and Finance had no mechanism for integrating and coordinating their data and processes.

RMI wanted to deploy a CMS to ensure that there was proper coordination between departments. This would result in low probability for error or miscommunication. Another major goal for RMI was that business and administrative processes of the institute should be automated to enhance their operational efficiency. This standardization would result in adherence to policies within the organization while simultaneously improving visibility for the management. Finally, automated processes would also result in better quality of service delivery to the students (from a reduction in the time it took to finalize grades, to prepare a transcript etc.).

Looking at different campus management systems and how they promised to integrate with their system, RMI decided to go with Campus on Cloud. It is fully functional in RMI from the Spring 2016 Academic session. The deployment was fast and smooth due to professional implementation and commitment of Campus on Cloud staff. Currently, All RMI academic programs, including their MBBS program, are running completely on Campus on Cloud.

While talking about why RMI chose Campus on Cloud, Shafique Ur Rehman, CEO Rehman Medical Institute said:

“RMI is looking to significantly expand its academic programs. With Campus on Cloud, we have a cloud based solution which has transformed the management of our academic function and made growth/expansion easier.”

Who should buy Campus on Cloud?

Campus on Cloud is flexible in nature. As is apparent from the case study of Rehman Medical Institute, it can easily incorporate multiple modules of any academic program and efficiently manage and schedule exams, deadlines and calculate results based on individual student performances.

It provides a great user interface along with the capacity to digitize the whole academic operation

Campus on Cloud’s ability to scale allows it to be much more affordable for new institutes or those institutes which work at a much smaller scale. Its backend services can scale according to demand and thus no resources are allocated unless deemed necessary. All of this makes it a perfect choice for Higher Educational Institutes of all tiers and scopes.

Source: Tech Juice

Byline: Shaoor Munir

December 14, 2016

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