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SaNS Expertisecentrum

SaNS: The management of student information systems in practice

‘SaNS systems’ (Samenwerking Nieuw Studenteninformatiesysteem
or Collaboration of New Student Information Systems) originally managed its
own systems. This went all well, until the number of users increased and the system’s
performance was put under pressure. The start of course enrolment became problematic: the system went down.

On this basis, but also because technology wasn’t the organisation’s forte, SaNS decided to outsource its management to an external party. Following a tender process MCX took on the role. “We had three important requirements for this new system administrator”, says Patrick Vogelaar, director of SaNS. “Performance had to be excellent, there was to be no loss of data and security, of course, was key.” In addition to these three absolute requirements, SaNS also preferred to engage with a party who didn’t aspire to a standard client-supplier relationship. It was considered equally important for the outsourcing partner to shares ideas about strategic choices. In other words, to be a real sparring partner. SaNS is very pleased to have outsourced the management of its IT.

“We have no regrets as performance has improved considerably. The migration to MCX servers was smooth. The students didn’t notice the change. One of the most important advantages is that our functional administrators no longer need to spend time resolving irrelevant problems. They can focus fully on improving the system, which in turn benefits the innovation level within the education institution. The challenge is no longer: how do I keep the system running? But: how can I use the system to better support students and employees?”

Johan van Veen, director of MCX confirms Patrick’s positive view. “MCX has truly become an extension of SaNS’ IT departments. By adopting a proactive approach with SaNS about strategic matters, such as in finding structural and scalable solutions for peak loads during enrolment periods, we work together to achieve optimum service for the end user. In the future this will only ensure higher student and employee satisfaction.” He continues: “We are investing heavily in the extension of our PeopleSoft expertise in order to use this with a larger group of clients. As a result a number of Regional Education Centres (ROC’s) have asked us to take on their technical management.”

MCX has significantly improved SaNS’ system performance. In the old setting the throughput time of “heavy” processes created a bottleneck which has been significantly reduced by MCX.

To illustrate:
  • Compared to before the time for synchronisation with Studielink has been reduced to 33%, completing the table reports (flat tables) has been reduced to 35% and the process of grade calculation to 60%.
  • The preparation of advisory reports takes up only 20% of the original time (from 107 down to 21 minutes).
  • The on-line performance for (end) users has improved considerably.

In addition to this gain in performance, the transfer to MCX is also positive with regard to
other aspects:
  • MCX is better at responding to changes relating to the infrastructure.
  • The number of technical issues requiring input from both the supplier and SaNS has been significantly reduced.