6 Points to Consider When Investing in a Digital Catalog Management Solution
If you've decided to move on from the old paper catalog—or already have, but to an entry-level digital offering—good call! The challenge now is how to find the right digital catalog partner to support your growth. The software industry is so saturated, it's getting pretty loud in higher ed. So, how do you drown out the noise and zero in on not only the best in the market, but also what fits your institution's unique needs? In this blog post, we’ve laid out six considerations that you need to keep in mind while evaluating them.
1. Consider your vendor’s share of the market and years in business
Every vendor will tell you they’re the best, but when evaluating, go by numbers, not words. Some questions you want to ask and search about them are:
How long have they been in the market?
How many schools/colleges and universities do use their solution?
How many solutions have they implemented?
Answers to these questions will help you determine how much you can trust their claims.
2. Consider your institution’s unique database
All the vendors will tell you that their solution integrates with your Student Information System (SIS). However, what they might not tell you is how robust that integration is. Some questions you want to ask are:
Does their solution provide an out-of-the-box connector, or does it require third-party integration support?
Does that connector or support cost extra?
How frequently is that connector upgraded?
Is there a limit on the data that you can map from system to system?
Answers to these questions will help you uncover the hidden cost that vendors might not tell you upfront about.
3. Consider what schools similar to yours are using
The U.S. Department of Education tallies approximately 4,000 colleges and universities. Not even half of them are like yours. Catalog needs vary based on school size, student demographics, location and more such factors. You can learn a lot from the success (or failure) of schools similar to yours with a digital catalog management system.
4. Consider the time it takes to make changes
Higher education institutions must quickly adapt to the ever-changing landscape of course offerings. The point of moving to a digital solution is to be agile in responding to the changing expectations of students. Being slow in adopting the solution defeats the purpose.
When considering a Catalog solution, consider the support that your partner offers. Make sure they do the heavy lifting for you. Some important questions that you want to ask to ensure this are:
How long does it take to go live with the solution?
What is the extent of support offered with the implementation and maintenance of the solution? (Hint: read the service SLAs)
What technical expertise does the solution require to manage?
Does the vendor train your staff on using the solution? If yes, how much does it cost?
5. Consider how you will show students the ROI of higher ed
Students and parents want to understand the ROI (return on investment) of a college
degree. Make sure your course catalog shows them the information they need without
leaving your website. A great solution will help you with not just managing your catalog
but also with transforming your catalog into a marketing tool.
6. Consider your vendor’s breadth and depth of solutions
Technology doesn’t operate in silos. When you invest in a new solution, you want to see how well it integrates with your existing tech stack and how easy it will make to scale your ecosystem in the future. You do not want to overhaul your tech stack every few years. Therefore, you want to invest in a solution that you can further build your ecosystem around. Looking at what other solutions the vendor offers helps you understand their breadth of technology and vision for higher education.
Want to Invest in the Market Leader?
Modern Campus is the founder of the digital catalog—dating back to the founding of DIGARC in 2001. The trusted partner of over 800 institutions has published nearly 9,000 catalogs and has over 800 certified administrators. To see how Acalog can help you manage your catalog better and engage more students, request a demo today!
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Last updated: July 26, 2022