The SIS Provider has Delivered a Powerful Tool Set to Support Custom Forms, Workflows, and Much More
As I write this, I am at CampusInsight, the annual user conference from Campus Management. Yesterday I had the brain-exercising pleasure of spending the day getting hands-on with the excellent Forms Buillder and Workflow tool set that Campus now offers as part of their Campus Nexus Student Information System.
I have to say I was impressed with the power and flexibility of these add-on modules. For schools to get the most our of their Student Information Systems, they generally have to extend native functionality with a fair amount of custom code. We've been doing that for well over a decade, with web forms, a custom integrated back end, and lots of code to process the data and create new records in the SIS database. Now with tools like Forms Builder and Workflow, those same requirements can be met with code that is supported by the vendor, and uses a skill set that is not as deep as that required for custom code development. This should equate to faster development at a lower cost.
No don't get me wrong, one needs a thorough understanding of the database tables, the data structures and information flow within the environment, and a developer's mind set to use these tools well, but that being said, they certainly appear to offer a number of advantages in terms of the speed, skills, and knowledge required to develop rich functionality custom to your institution.
My skills were stretched as I worked to keep up with the room full of experienced developers (I'm an IT manager, with a fair amount of exposure to coding and development over my 30 year career, but I have barely touched tools like this in the last decade or so). Nevertheless, I was able to complete most of the exercises and create functional forms and workflows. This is a true testament to the power of these solutions!
Power BI – Visual Reporting Dashboard Awesomeness
Before we dove into Forms Builder and Workflow, we spent some quality time with the integrated Power BI analytics tool from Microsoft, connected to a Campus Nexus data warehouse. Over the course of an hour or so, I created numerous sharp, informative visual reporting constructs and tied them together into a dashboard-style view that could be delivered directly to users' desktops in Campus Nexus. This capability is worthy of a post or two in and of itself. Suffice it to say that this is another excellent addition to the overall Campus Nexus tool set.
Campus Management has got it going on these days. If you are in the market to change your SIS, you”d do well give them a close look.