Datamonitor Studies CRM For Higher Education
February 21, 2008
Lest we in the call center market get smug and start to think that customer relationship management (CRM) is all about us, let's not forget that "customer" can mean a lot of things: a patient in a healthcare setting, a driver broken down at the side of the road, a business-to-business customer, a patient filling a prescription, a publication's subscriber base, etc. So it should come as no surprise that CRM is beginning to catch on outside the call center, as well. This time around, it's colleges and universities, and the "customers" are students.
Higher education institutions are turning to CRM to help differentiate themselves in an attempt to compete for desirable students. A recently released report, "CRM in the Higher Education Market" by independent market analysts Datamonitor, has predicted that IT revenue from CRM solutions in the higher education markets of the US, UK, Germany, France and Australia will grow from $184.9 million in 2007 to $324.5 million in 2012. The growth is expected to be driven both by the purchase of new solutions and the expansion of existing installations.
“CRM solutions enable colleges and universities to significantly improve the quality of their relationships with students at every point in the student lifecycle, from a prospective student applying for admission to an alumnus making a donation to the annual fund,” said Nicole Engelbert, Lead Analyst for Education Technology at Datamonitor and author of the study. “The next five years will see a dramatic increase in the number of institution-wide CRM implementations in higher education in the US and abroad.”
Colleges and universities have historically targeted CRM to support specific processes, such as campaign management, in the admissions and development offices. Fueled by developments in the consumer market, student expectations for institutional services are rising fast and prompting institutions to extend their view of CRM to include a larger and more diverse set of processes and departments.
“Institutions increasingly recognize the value of creating a 360-degree view of the student experience to their recruitment, retention and development initiatives,” said Engelbert. “By capturing data and information about each student interaction, CRM provides educators with powerful insight and tools to ensure that future interactions contribute to rather than detract from creating more positive relationships with students.”
Translating a corporate sector CRM solution into one that meets the specific needs of higher education is a more complicated task than simply changing references to customers and sales to students and admissions in the end-user interface.
The degree to which CRM vendors have successfully made these changes varies considerably and has given rise to a large and diverse competitive landscape. The current landscape, however, is likely to evolve.
Said Engelbert, “Over the short-term, there is ample room in the higher education market for a diverse set of CRM vendors. But with the increasing adoption of more sophisticated CRM strategies, enterprise-class applications with strong analytics and the ability to support the entire student lifecycle are likely to prevail as they are better suited to long-term institutional needs.”