Lifecycle Engagement Platform℠: A New Category in Higher Ed

So, you’ve finally just settled on a CRM, upgraded your ERP and SIS, and you’re thinking about why your LMS isn’t more like Google Apps or Facebook.  You’ve probably got a portal, and if you’re lucky students think it’s not ugly.  Maybe your school just decided to go with Google Apps.  Let’s face it, your stack keeps getting more complex to meet the increasing needs on IT.  Now people keep talking about Cloud Computing in Higher Education, to boot.

But all of these major IT components are “Management Systems.”  They allow someone in some office to manage data, input forms, and process reports.  They allow professors to post documents and students to take assessments and check their grades.  They’re good at what they do –  allow people to “manage” stuff.

Lately, though, there’s lots of talk about Student Engagement in Higher Education.  You can check the data and see where they’re engaged online:  Facebook, blogs, Youtube… in effect: Social Media.  So where’s our Social Media in Higher Education?  Where’s that part of the IT stack?  What’s on the menu for CIOs to provide something that students will enjoy engaging with?

I’d like to introduce you to a Lifecycle Engagement Platform℠ service.  At Inigral, we think it’s the next generation component of your technology stack.   Unlike an LMS, our service focuses on social needs for connection and engagement, both across the student lifecycle and across the enterprise.  Our LEP service helps foster relationships and create results.

Lifecycle Engagement Labeled 1

Want to see which of your friends are going to be in your classes next term?  Want to find an alumni career mentor?  Want to see everyone on campus who’s from Boise?  Want to find people to help start a project based on your research interests?  Use the LEP service.

This need for an LEP service came out of conversations with over a hundred thought -leading institutions.  At Inigral, our charter since our founding was to figure out Facebook Applications for Higher Education. We’ve talked with administrators, thought-leaders, staff, admissions, student affairs, career services, alumni development, students, prospects, and alumni to find the intersection of desired and appropriate interaction.

We listened, and we came up with the defining set of criteria of our Lifecycle Engagement Platform℠ service:

  1. It needs to provide a destination for everyone from early stage prospects through to alumni, and it needs to intelligently handle who each user is and how they relate to the institution
  2. It needs to hook into and leverage the open social web in places like Facebook
  3. It needs to provide a private and secure and integrate into the core technology stack where appropriate, like getting enrollments out of an SIS or put activity data into a CRM
  4. It needs to focus solely on engagement and not on management or official communications; and the use cases should all revolve around internal communications and marketing rather than “administrivia”.

I believe that our LEP service will quickly become an important component of the technology stack.  It will drive a sense of community and belonging using online tools that were not possible before the innovation of the social web.  It will ultimately have an impact on efforts to meet goals in Yield, Retention, and Giving.

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Leave a comment and tell us your thoughts on the Lifecycle Engagement Platform.

  • http://www.alumnifutures.com/ Andy Shaindlin

    Interesting outlook on an important topic. The “constituent lifecycle” approach has been in place in higher ed for many years, and has several variants (“volunteer lifecycle,” “donor lifecycle,” etc.). This is the first time I've seen it described in terms of a platform within an institution's technology stack. It would be really interesting to discuss who would design which aspects of this. The non-IT folks (like us alumni directors) would have insight into user behaviors and engagement trends on the front end. On many campuses, however, it would be difficult for their input to make its way into the specs and product engineered by the IT experts from the back end. But if it worked…it would be an excellent step forward.

  • http://twitter.com/mpstaton mpstaton

    Hi Andy,

    Well, the way we're approaching it, we're working with the functional experts to design each aspect of the platform that relates to them. We haven't yet been able to truly focus on the alumni interface, though it does have some limited use cases already.

    We'll keep you up to date!

    Thanks for your thoughts and for checking in.

    Best,

    Michael

  • http://twitter.com/mpstaton mpstaton

    Hi Andy,

    Well, the way we’re approaching it, we’re working with the functional experts to design each aspect of the platform that relates to them. We haven’t yet been able to truly focus on the alumni interface, though it does have some limited use cases already.

    We’ll keep you up to date!

    Thanks for your thoughts and for checking in.

    Best,

    Michael

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  • Etrondsen

    The post, and comments, are over a year old, so what has happened since? I think the concept is great and I am very curious whether this is something that is gaining traction in the education community. And if it is an important “white space” in the “education IT stack”, are other players–existing or startups–agreeing and pursuing it? Look forward to hearing your comments, Michael. And, by the way, I just saw the video of the Education Innovation Summit, and greatly enjoyed it.