Arif Joarder, President
When senior administrators at the Florida-based career college, Bene's Career Academy started considering Student Information Systems (SIS), they faced a unique dilemma. While most SIS platforms served traditional four-year colleges and universities, Bene's Career Academy had very different requirements. Bene's is a clock-hours school—its students must satisfy a Federally-regulated, designated number of hours to graduate. Full-time students track on the order of thirty hours a week, doing hands-on work in addition to classroom attendance.
For years, Bene's was a mom-and-pop operation with two schools and all its administrative processes being performed manually by six full-time employees. Bene's primary objective was to automate all manual business processes. They also wanted the integration of workflows to make growth possible. Top targets for transformation were student registration, grades, and tracking each student's Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)—to ensure timely graduation and meet Department of Education standards.
“Key to our success is staying connected with the voice of the customer. What do they need from us next?”
For Bene's, the hunt for an SIS that could fulfill all these requirements ended at Orbund. Bene's gravitated to Orbund's Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Student Information System (SIS) upon learning that SaaS means no servers and automated, simplified software updates. Orbund's SIS automated Bene's marketing, student services, academics, and operations. Besides, Orbund's per student, per-month pricing model allowed Bene's to add locations and increase enrolment in a cost-controlled way.
Since implementing Orbund, Bene's witnessed improvement in attendance by 35 percent and overall GPAs by 10 percent. Orbund also solved multiple other issues for Bene's. Students previously had to reach out to teachers for every question about grades and hours. During peak periods like enrolment or mid-terms, Bene's front desk and the business office would be deluged with students seeking specific, time-sensitive answers. Now, students and staff access all the information using an academy issued Chromebook or mobile phone.
Using Orbund's SIS, the campuses can send SMS text messages for late-breaking news and updates. This enables each campus to announce things like weather-related alerts only to the students and staff impacted. Automated alerting also drove staff accountability. For example, the campus director could be notified when a student was close to graduating and when the student's graduation requirements have been fulfilled.
"We would recommend the Orbund SIS to other schools. The company also provides 24 x 7 support line where you get a staff member who can answer your questions," affirms David Bracken, the Chief Operations Officer of Bene's.
Our SIS platform is architected for the cloud, so it is more open to integrations and easier to use and maintain over time
The success of Bene's Career Academy stands as a testament to the transformation that Orbund has been bringing to a full range of training institutes, higher education institutions, and universities across North America and abroad.
Founded in 2003, Orbund serves more than 300 schools and institutions today with its cloud-based SIS platform. The company's SIS includes an integrated CRM and Learning Management System (LMS) which answers higher education's calls for a true, web-based, configurable, and automated system.
“Our solutions are built on the concept of making things simple,” says Arif Joarder, president of Orbund “They are built to be flexible, but powerful enough to handle complex business processes.”
First SIS on the Cloud
A pioneer in cloud-based SIS, Orbund is an expert when it comes to examining the benefits and risks and providing the best practices for cloud deployments in education management solution space. The company's Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product can accommodate clients' specific needs and manage complex business processes while requiring much less of IT’s time to support Orbund.
"Traditional systems that use client-server-based models and old technologies can use Orbund as a cost-effective means to upgrade to modern technology," adds Joarder.
At the core, Orbund SIS integrates online applications and lead forms, and portals for students' short course registration and instructor administration. The systems can be customized with customer-specific terminology, user interface, and language.
"Through Orbund, institutions can track and automate applications, as each student is created as a contact and their preferred workflow is configured in the system to manage applicant progress," says Joarder. "We help our clients by automating student-facing services and back-office processes, ultimately increasing student loyalty," he adds.
For Career Schools and Traditional Higher Ed
The products created by Orbund offer enhanced recruiting, retention, and reporting. Of these, Einstein, the higher education management system, is a cloud-based SIS for higher education institutions, while Edison is a student management system that caters to career-specific, continuing education, and other non-traditional institutions.
Both systems give the ability for users to access them from anywhere—on phones, tablets, and other devices.
"Older SIS technologies simply cannot keep pace in a mobile world, when people switch from desktops to devices," shares Joarder. Additionally, Orbund offers APIs—interfaces that enable integration to other systems without complex coding or maintenance.
While Edison delivers the ability to brand an application form to match the school website for continuing education, certification-granting, and other privately paid, non-Title IV programs, Einstein empowers the students, instructors, and administrators with robust self-service, communication, workflows, and dashboards.
The Einstein SIS automates the most critical administrative processes, helping to ensure that every student and instructor receive better services. Security is another value-prop of Einstein. The tool offers additional protection against cyber-attacks, data breaches, and other risks.
"The power and flexibility of our SIS, as well as the modern user interface, prove highly beneficial to our clients," says Joarder.
Another Orbund client, Bell-Brown Medical Institute, selected their SIS for its process automation, self-service, and cloud-based delivery. Before implementing Orbund, institutions used paper-based manual processes. Those struggles of making do by hand heightened the push to more efficiently serve students with limited staff.
Bell-Brown wanted a system that combined CRM, administrative, and academic process automation. Orbund managed the application process by seamless integration with Bell-Brown's website. Visitors could enter forms online—including financial information and aid—to make applying hassle-free.
Orbund's CRM-like features help them track and automate applications. Each prospective student is created as a contact, much like any CRM. The institute's preferred workflow is then configured in Orbund to manage applicant progress. When the applicant's status changes from a contact to a student, Orbund automated enrolment and course registration, so things don't fall through the cracks.
Supporting new customers
What is giving Orbund momentum in what has been a very entrenched, “old school” market for student systems?
Joarder credits a very agile engineering team who can produce more features to answer customer’s needs. Most senior team members have been associated with Orbund for more than a decade.
In recent years, the company has found ways to connect more personally with its base of users. Its second annual user group conference takes place in Kansas City in October. The conference brings together Orbund product experts, executives, college administrators and partners who integrate with Orbund.
Together, they present how to leverage systems and processes better, exchanging ideas and best practices to improve administration and academic delivery. New at 2019’s conference is a roadmap session, where Joarder will share what features the company intends to build—then listen for customer feedback.
"The Orbund Vision conference is invaluable, a key source for new ideas and input from our customers,” says Joarder.