3 Rivers Villa Maria final

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					                                                Microsoft Server Product Portfolio
                                                Customer Solution Case Study

                                                College Cuts Costs 50 Percent, Boosts
                                                Productivity 75 Percent, Enhances Marketing

                                                “With the CAMS solution based on Microsoft
Customer: Villa Maria College
Web Site: www.villa.edu
                                                technologies, we cut our costs dramatically while
Customer Size: 118                              expanding the ways we could support our
Country or Region: United States
Industry: Education
                                                administrators, faculty, students, and alumni.”
Partner: Three Rivers Systems®, Inc.            Christine Palczewski, Director of Computer Services, Villa Maria College
Web site: www.threerivers-cams.com

Customer Profile
                                                Villa Maria College tried both minicomputer-based and UNIX-based
Villa Maria College, a leading institution of   student information and administrative systems and saw high
higher education in western New York
State, serves both traditional and
                                                costs and inflexible performance. To solve those problems, it
nontraditional students.                        migrated to the Comprehensive Academic Management System®
Software and Services
                                                (CAMS®) from Three Rivers Systems®, based on Microsoft®
 Microsoft® server product portfolio           technologies. CAMS has cut IT costs in half while boosting
  − Windows Server® 2003 Enterprise
                                                productivity and enabling more effective communication with
  − Microsoft Exchange Server 2003              students, faculty, and alumni.
  − Microsoft SQL Server™ 2005
 Microsoft Dynamics™ GP
 Microsoft Office Professional Edition
  − Microsoft Office Excel® 2003                Business Needs                                        Custom reports were still slow and costly to
                                                In the late 1980s, Villa Maria College, a             obtain, and the proprietary database didn’t
Hardware                                        leading private college in western New York           integrate well with desktop software or other
 Gateway E-9510T computers
                                                State, tried to manage its administrative and         systems at the college. The time that the IT
                                                student information systems on a proprietary          staff had to spend on customizations,
                                                DEC minicomputer. Maintenance costs were              updates, and reports took away from their
                                                high, every database change and custom                focus on more strategic functions.
                                                report was expensive and time-consuming to
                                                obtain, and the system didn’t integrate with          Meanwhile, college enrollment grew, putting
                                                the desktop computers of administrators.              increased demands on the solution. The
                                                                                                      UNIX vendor suggested a costly upgrade, but
For more information about other Microsoft      In 1995, a move to a UNIX-based system                college administrators felt that an upgrade
customer successes, please visit:
                                                running on the Sun SPARC platform and                 would only deepen their commitment to a
                                                Sybase database made little improvement.              problematic technology.
The college wanted a solution that would                                The solution runs on two Gateway E-9510T          SQL Server, which Palczewski says is
provide the administrative and student                                  Intel Xeon–based computers. It is supported       virtually “trouble free”—the staff time needed
information functions of its existing system                            by the college’s Microsoft SQL Server™ 2005       to maintain the solution decreased by 50
but do so more quickly and inexpensively;                               database, integrates with the Microsoft           percent, compared to the UNIX solution.
scale to support continued growth; integrate                            Dynamics™ GP financial software used for
with the systems that the college was using or                          payroll and financial transactions and the        Productivity savings are being seen through-
likely to use; and enhance communication                                Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 software           out the campus. The use of the CAMS faculty
with students, faculty, and alumni.                                     used for e-mail and collaboration, and            portal to record student attendance means
                                                                        exports data to the college’s Microsoft Office    that the college no longer needs to input the
“We wanted a more efficient student informa-                            Professional Edition 2003 software.               faculty’s handwritten attendance sheets at
tion and administrative system—and more,”                                                                                 the end of the day. Records office produc-
says Kevin Donovan, Director of Enrollment                              The integration with Microsoft Dynamics GP        tivity is up 75 percent as a result.
Management and Marketing at Villa Maria.                                software supports several features of the
“We wanted a solution that would better                                 solution, including online student billing and    The time needed to process financial aid
support our mission to serve our students and                           financial aid reporting and the online dona-      applications has been cut by 50 percent,
our community.”                                                         tions capability. Integration with Exchange       allowing counselors to provide financial aid
                                                                        Server enables faculty and administrators to      packages to students more quickly. Through
Solution                                                                send e-mail from within the solution, rather      the student portal, students will be able to
To meet those needs, Villa Maria selected                               than having to exit the software and open a       view their financial aid package and
Three Rivers Systems, a Microsoft® Gold                                 separate e-mail program. Administrators use       determine how best to complete the
Certified Partner and full-service provider of                          the data export feature to manipulate data in     financial aid process.
solutions for higher education, based in St.                            Microsoft Office Excel® spreadsheet soft-
Louis, Missouri. Three Rivers Systems’                                  ware, where they can analyze information          Because business administrators and
Comprehensive Academic Management                                       and perform “what if” analyses.                   financial aid counselors can download data
System®—CAMS®, for short—was exactly what                                                                                 into Office Excel and create their own,
the college had been looking for. The college                           Benefits                                          custom reports—without having to wait for
deployed CAMS Windows® in 1999 and                                      Villa Maria College selected CAMS, in part, to    the IT department to run those reports for
upgraded to the completely Web-based CAMS                               reduce its IT costs while expanding its IT        them, as they did previously—reports are
Enterprise® solution in 2006.                                           infrastructure—and it succeeded.                  produced 90 percent faster. Reports are also
                                                                                                                          more useful because more up-to-date
CAMS Enterprise supports an array of services                           “With the minicomputer and UNIX system,           information enables better decision making.
at the college, including student recruitment,                          our costs were extremely high,” says              For example, at a recent open house for
registration, financial aid, billing, fundraising,                      Christine Palczewski, Director of Computer        prospective students, the college gathered
student housing, job placement, course                                  Services at Villa Maria. “With the CAMS solu-     data on which forms of advertising had
management, and integrated document                                     tion based on Microsoft technologies, we cut      attracted attendees. As a result, the college
management—all from a single, shared                                    our costs dramatically while expanding the        confirmed that radio was its most effective
database that eliminates the need for                                   ways we could support our administrators,         advertising channel and it was able to
synchronization among databases. A new                                  faculty, students, and alumni.”                   expand and refine its radio media buys in
faculty portal enabled through CAMS                                                                                       time to attract more prospective students to
Enterprise records attendance and grading. A                            Palczewski estimates that software licensing      subsequent events.
new student portal enables online registration                          and maintenance costs declined by 50 per-
and student-faculty interaction. A new alumni                           cent after the college migrated from UNIX to      “CAMS Enterprise enables us to com-
portal enables online donations to the college.                         the Microsoft-based CAMS. Because CAMS            municate more effectively with our entire
                                                                        uses Microsoft technologies with which the        community” says Donovan. “That makes our
                                                                        IT department is already familiar—such as         marketing programs more successful.”

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.

Document published November 2006

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