Technology Research

Technologies that Support the Student Journey: Five Vendors to Watch

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June 14-16, 2023

Boston, MA

As we enter 2023, our conversations with higher education leaders have become increasingly focused on how to best support the student journey: improving support for admissions, bettering onboarding, and streamlining transfer student pathways, for example. These conversations arise from the concern that misunderstanding the complexity of student journeys impacts enrollment, persistence, and/or the student experience.

We dedicate today's Wake-Up Call to help institutions think through this question and highlight a handful of vendors we believe are among the strongest performers.

What Is the Student Journey?

In an earlier Wake-up Call, we identified student journey mapping as the ideal way to represent the reality of student experiences and reshape these experiences from a student perspective. Pioneered initially in the corporate world as "customer journey mapping," this approach comprises five components—personas, stages, touchpoints, mindsets, and opportunities—which enable institutions to illuminate aspects of the journey.

While technology plays a role in each component, it is crucial for the “touchpoints” component. This component captures every point of contact between a student and the institution, such as websites, social media channels, advising support, and other technology solutions.

We could describe these touchpoints in terms of the segments in our 2022 Higher Education Technology Landscape (Landscape) that apply to the student journey. But research by organizations such as Complete College America indicates that it would be more helpful to view these touchpoints through the lens of the five critical capabilities institutions must have in place to support the student journey:

  1. Academic Mapping: Helping students understand the sequences of their courses
  2. Informed Choice: Allowing students to understand their course, program, degree, and career options
  3. Intrusive Advising: Enabling advisors to reach out to students if they demonstrate certain behaviors, such as missing milestone courses or falling behind taking courses on their academic maps
  4. Pathway Support: Having technologies that provide vital student data (grades, etc.) that give insight into students' progress along their journeys
  5. Student Experience: Creating an environment where students can access help and reach out to advisors, faculty, and others to stay or get back on track

As shown in Figure 1, we aligned our Landscape segments to each capability. Viewed this way, we can now understand which technologies support different capabilities and help institutions determine the best technology portfolio to help them improve their students' journeys.


Higher Education Technology Landscape Segments by CapabilityFigure 1.

Who are the Vendors to Watch?

Here are a handful of vendors we believe you should keep in mind as you reimagine support for the student journey this year:

  • Quottly (Academic Mapping): Founded in 2015, Quottly began as a vendor focused on course registration and degree planning. Its academic mapping solution allows institutions, systems, and consortia to share courses and program information, which helps students moving between institutions register for their classes more easily. Quottly, however, stands out from competitors because of its support for understanding and improving transfer student pathways. For example, it helped the University of Idaho understand that some of its community colleges did not offer the requisite courses for transfer students to stay on track for a particular degree.
  • ZogoTech (Academic Mapping): Founded in 2003, ZogoTech originated as an analytics vendor. Since then, ZogoTech has extended its product offering to include a powerful tool, Pathways Analytics, that allows institutions to understand how students progress in their journeys. This product stands out because it enables institutions to better understand which students are close to completion, which are off path, and which courses they most need to complete their degrees. While some other products enable degree audits, Pathway Analytics performs degree audits for every student, every term, in nearly real-time, which gives timely insight on student progression.
  • EduNav (Academic Mapping): A crucial part of student admissions is handling student transcripts, which varies widely in terms of data definitions, grade ranges, and the provision of personal information, making it challenging to compare student achievement. While some schools address this challenge by standardizing data, EduNav takes a different approach. Founded in 2013, EduNav offers a Unified Digital Transcript (UDT) product that provides an automated process to match course data for transfer students between the sending institutions and receiving institutions, which saves time and lessens anxiety in determining the course completion status of transfer students.
  • CampusESP (Informed Choice/Intrusive Advising): As indicated in our 2022 Prospective Parent Research™, parents play an essential role in the college search and prospective student decision-making. CampusESP is one of the only vendors that recognizes this importance. Founded in 2015, CampusESP offers several products, including CampusESP for Student Enrollment, CampusESP for Family Communication, and CampusESP for FERPA Management, that enable parents to support the success of their students.  Institutions such as Transylvania University and Georgia State University deploy CampusESP to help parents guide and advise their students.
  • Salesforce (Informed Choice, Intrusive Advising, Pathway Support, Student Experience): Although there are some products that aim to support more than one aspect of the student journey, Salesforce truly does and does it well. Founded in 1999, Salesforce didn’t enter the higher education market until 2016. Since then, it has expanded its product portfolio to support the entire student journey through its comprehensive and robust product, Education Cloud. Each component of this product addresses a different aspect of the journey, such as Student Success Hub (Student Experience and Intrusive Advising) and Portable Learner Records and Credentials (Informed Choice).

The Bottom Line

Supporting the student journey is challenging, and deciding which technologies play the most significant part in doing so may be daunting. Considering first which capabilities you need to provide this support, looking at the types of technology solutions, and deciding which product is the best sequence to ensure the greatest chance of success to support the student journey.

Never Miss Your Wake-Up Call

Learn more about our team of expert research analysts here.

Eduventures Principal Analyst at Encoura

Thursday May 6, 2021 at 2PM ET/1PM CT After a historic year, the proven and true recruitment strategies used by enrollment offices nationwide have been challenged. With many high school students now harder to find, how can institutions better evaluate the success of their search results and strengthen their engagement strategies for future years? In this webinar, Eduventures Principal Analyst Kim Reid and ACT | NRCCUA Senior Vice President Clint Chapman will identify what to look for in your funnel right now to improve yield and potential opportunities to strengthen your overall funnel in the years ahead. Sharing research on trends seen throughout institutions this year, we’ll provide practical and effective engagement solutions so that you can meet your students where they are right now, while also building a more sustainable model for the years ahead.  Additional topics include:
  • Successful funnel strategies and opportunities
  • Methods to improve your current yield
  • Creating messaging that resonates with students and families
  • New methods to engage harder-to-reach students

Eduventures 2022 Higher Education Technology Landscape (Landscape) visualizes 367 vendors and their products, organized into over 44 separate market segments rolled up into four major categories aligned to the student lifecycle.

Throughout the year, we analyze these vendors and products and make that content available to clients. Several vendors have multiple products in their education technology portfolios.

Never Miss Your Wake-Up Call

Learn more about our team of expert research analysts here.

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