Campus Conversation

Transforming platforms for the future - with Managed Services

As many institutions throughout the world adjust to the new normal brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, The College of Health Care Professions (CHCP) is finalizing its student information system’s migration to the cloud. With nine growing campuses throughout Texas, as well as online and blended programs, the college turned to Anthology’s Managed Services team to help align and optimize the system based on CHCP’s goals. We recently spoke with CHCP’s CFO, JP Schippert, about the value Managed Services brings to the project.

Headshot of JP Schippert

JP Schippert

Chief Financial Officer
The College of Health Care Professions

Q: When and why did CHCP decide to migrate its platform to the cloud?

A: It was June of 2019. As a growing institution with nine campuses, we needed to further eliminate silos and automate processes that were still localized and manually intensive. This would free our staff to focus more on student-facing success. We also wanted to surface the data hidden in our systems to provide greater visibility into our operational and student needs.

Q: How is Managed Services making a difference at CHCP?

A: One of the key benefits to Managed Services is having a dedicated application expert who also knows our environment and business needs. He understands the web-client configuration and helps unify the project. Having been involved from the beginning, he acts as a translator when we need to bring in other consultants or professional services for special needs. I would not have been as comfortable plugging in other third-party resources without having Managed Services supporting us.

Q: So Managed Services works directly with your other solution providers and consultants?

A: It’s really a triangle of external resources that are driving solid value as the project moves forward. And Managed Services is the foundation. When you look at our financial aid processes, we’re not only bringing web forms online but also syncing CampusNexus Student with FAME, our financial aid processor. They’re sharing information back and forth, both the technology ‘and’ the vendors. That’s where Managed Services becomes the translator. He’s fluent in our business culture and needs.

Q: How do you see FA processes improving as a result?

A: Everything used to be in paper form. We would scan documents that were 60 to 160 pages long and attach them to the student’s file. And because the FA system and SIS weren’t talking to each other, there was a lot of double entry. It was a challenge just to run a simple traditional report such as the Remaining Balance to Schedule report. That’s part of this triangle I’m talking about. Managed Services is helping bring the forms online, but because the SIS will be synced with FAME, we can automate the reporting on the Anthology Student® side and eliminate duplicate entry. That not only saves time and frustration for the staff but also improves our compliance risk profile.

Q: How does this make FA processes and packaging easier on the student/staff side?

A: For FA, we’ve had staff on the web client since November of last year. In the old system, the student would have to sign, scan and upload paper forms. Now they electronically sign a document, and it automatically becomes an image in the database and updates the record, and that gets served up to the staff member.

We’re even looking at more sophisticated process where the forms are logic-based. For example, say a student gets selected for verification because the Department of Education needs more information. We want that conditional response to automatically serve up a document to the student or staff member that says, “this document now needs to be completed.” My vision is the system provides the right documents at the right time, so our team gets all required documents at the time they are needed.

Q: How is the cloud migration progressing?

A: We’ve already completed the migration to the cloud; that was the first phase. Managed Services helped us migrate from the thick-client/desktop environment to the web client by assessing our current processes, preparing the functional areas to move and identifying prerequisites. We had to fix these prerequisites before doing anything in the web client. We have now moved to Phase 2: optimizing. There was the way we “were” processing. Now let’s see how we can process more efficiently. It’s a matter of taking all those documents that we were managing manually and putting them into web forms and workflow. Business logic through workflows ensures that the process is scalable and replicated consistently. Web forms ensure that we do not miss critical signatures or information through field validation. The impact on lowering compliance risk is immense versus a paper-form system, and students and staff love it!

Q: You mentioned gaining greater insight from your data…

A: The next phase is visualization. We will have a much higher level of reporting through Power BI. We will now be able to build dynamic dashboards that allow us to see the information in real-time versus running reports. It’s the difference between a staff member always looking down for the data they need to do their job and looking up at the data being presented to them through a real-time, role-based dashboard. As a result, they can focus more time on students and their success. Power BI acts as a central informational hub, allowing you to grab data from other systems and present it alongside the SIS data to your users.

Q: How does aggregating data across systems and departments help from a strategic perspective?

A: For example, our Director of Education’s academic dashboard should include metrics on student retention and students at risk. However, I also want it to pull data from other systems, such as our payroll system, to provide the director insight around faculty scheduling trends in real-time on the same summary platform. Power BI becomes both the visual platform and the “plumbing” between all these systems that unites the data and enables us to present it visually in a dashboard. We can drill down into the root cause of retention issues.

That’s where we’re headed with Power BI. We can start looking at cycle times and asking questions. How long is it taking to move documents? How will this impact financial aid and academic services for our students? How can we increase the graduation rates and placement rates of our graduates by taking away process obstacles and having immediate access to data? That’s the definition of a dynamic student services model.

Q: Are there any unanticipated benefits to using Managed Services?

A: Another key point to highlight about Managed Services: the team becomes your advocate. When you’re dealing with professional services project to project, there isn’t the ownership in your business that you get with a Managed Services team. With Managed Services, you get a dedicated resource (over a year now for us) that becomes an advocate for your business. He’s able to think cross-functionally about all the different areas. You don’t receive that from consultants who are locked into a strict scope of work and budget.

Our sincere thanks to JP Schippert for sharing his experiences with us. If you’d like your campus to be showcased, reach out to your consultant.