You don’t need a crystal ball to tell you that mobile tools and applications will play a huge role in the future of higher education. Students and professors virtually live on handheld devices. You can’t walk across campus without bumping into a student texting on a smartphone or doing coursework on a tablet.
Is your institution doing enough to ensure that students and faculty reap the full rewards of tools and services designed for use on mobile devices?
Deciding on the fundamentals of a proper long-term strategy is easy enough. Comprehensiveness and sustainability are two pillars no college or university can succeed without. But, when faced with the complexities of the devices and solutions that will inevitably make up your digital campus, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s in front of you.
To help your institution develop a more effective long-term mobile strategy, we’ve assembled 11 key considerations every administrator should heed. Each of these are fundamental to the success of any long-term mobile strategy.
- Baseline app delivery from day one
Make sure your applications can be effectively downloaded through native platforms, such as iTunes or Google Play. Many students will look at App stores first for information about your university. With one tap, they can download your app and use it on the go.
- Native integration to your ERP
Configure your mobile applications to work with your institution’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tools. Your college or university has invested heavily in its ERP technology and faculty and students rely on these resources to make more informed decisions. Extend the value of that initial investment by integrating your ERP solution with your mobile applications.
- Seamless single sign-on access to external web applications
Fast, easy access to information is the name of the game. Students and faculty should have single sign-on access to education-related web applications.
- App management that doesn’t overtax your IT team
Managing a mobile application often means learning new programming languages, keeping up with mobile operating system updates or hiring consultants to manage your application for you. Look for a solution that allows you to create a custom application without too much effort or maintenance on the part of IT staff.
- Delivery of all mobile functionality in a single app, for free, to end users
Mobile applications are an important part of your institution’s overall web/internet strategy. Websites are important, but they aren’t the only places that your stakeholders expect to connect with your institution. As smartphones become more prominent among students and faculty, mobile applications are the expectation. Students and faculty not only want free access to these resources, they demand it. Your next mobile application should provide approved users access to your mobile network from their device of choice.
- Optimal user experiences on all major operating systems
A good mobile application is compatible with different devices. A great mobile application is one that takes advantage of the native mobile operating system and user interface. Make sure your resources offer a seamless experience, independent of device or operating system.
- Total control of branding
Your mobile applications serve as an online gateway to your college. They are functional, but also work as important marketing tools. Make sure that chosen solutions let you design public areas in accordance with your current branding guidelines.
- Google Analytics inclusion
You can’t improve your applications, and the tools and services they offer, unless you know how and why people are using the technology. Make sure your network offers access to analytics tools to track downloads, time spent on web resources and other important trends.
- Thorough technical support, documentation and a user community
Mobile technology is a rapidly evolving segment. Make sure you have the right documentation, community and support team in place to manage ongoing maintenance to be sure you’re getting the most out of your mobile solution.
- Support from a clear migration path for ERP and mobile updates
Technology changes quickly. That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place to ensure that your application can evolve in lockstep with your ERP system. This will ensure that each new upgrade doesn’t have your IT staff scrambling to make repairs.
- Built to evolve and improve over time
When you plan the build-out of your network, make sure the plan features a robust foundation for evolution and growth. The further ahead you are at the start, the easier it will be to keep pace with evolving technology.
Looking for more advice to inform the purchases that make the most sense for your mobile strategy? Explore our Higher Education Mobile Application Buyers Guide.