Why Chatbots are a Great Asset for Universities

Date: 14th January 2021
Post Type: Blog

Chatbots are programs that act as an additional communication channel between an organisation and its audience. If the audience has a question, Chatbots will automatically and instantly respond without human intervention. The technology is based on AI, natural language processing, and text analysis.

This technology is a boon for universities around the world. It can help with counseling, answering queries, and delivering helpful information to students and their parents or guardians. No longer do students need to wait days before an email is answered or a request is handled.

However, chatbots go much further than this. –  they are the outriders towards an intelligent student information system that supplies answers to any question a student may ask, 24/24, and 7/7.

The technology hasn’t made its way to the majority of universities yet, but it is slowly catching on. Education Technology firm Ellucian took a survey in which 52% of recruiters and 58% of students said they trust digital credentials.  And, of course, there’s no safer credentialing than with Blockchain.

Are Universities Using Chatbots?

According to Mark McNasby, CEO of Ivy.ai, chatbots were initially used to cover specific areas like financial aid or IT. However, institutions are now expanding their use for much broader functions.

Today, 35-40% of questions asked by students to different departmental chatbots relate to other departments. For example, a college admissions chatbot may be asked about the career options of a specific field. That’s the domain of the placements and careers department.

To solve this, companies have started to develop university-wide chatbots AdmitHub is an example and their chatbot now covers  6,500 discrete topics.

At the moment, chatbot use is still low, but the results have been very promising. Institutions like Herriot-Watt University, George Washington University, and Chung-Ang University have begun experimenting with AI chatbots to assess an application, student reaction, and effectiveness.

Chatbots Allow for Better Communication

Chatbots have already shown promise for better communication with students. At George Washington University, the MARTHA bot generated 4,500 conversations in a month. The bot was shown to improve its functionality as conversations increased.  

At the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Interactive Computing, a chatbot called Jill Watson was introduced by Professor Ashok Goel. His students didn’t know that she wasn’t a human being till the end of the course. That speaks to how seamless and effortless communication with a chatbot can be.

At Chung-Ang University, students benefitted from a new chatbot introduced in 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it provided guidelines for online class attendance and safety around campus. Plans are now being made to add support for more languages and providing more information.

Not only do chatbots encourage communication due to this seamlessness, but they also generate more conversations. With an increase in communication, students can develop better relationships with their university, and of course, get answers more quickly.

Chatbots Improve Student Retention

According to the National Student Clearinghouse, only 61.7% of all US students continue at the same college they enter originally. In Germany, 28% of students give up their studies at the institute they began in the first year. However, the introduction of chatbots has yielded some improvement in these figures.

Take, for example, Bethel University. It’s a small liberal arts college in Mishawaka, Indiana. For three years, first to second-year retention was on the decline. When they tried Wilhelm, a chatbot AI, their retention rate went up by 4%. Also, 85% of the students that used the chatbot gave it favourable ratings.

Chatbots can Handle Student Counselling for Academia and Campus Life

Not only are chatbots are a great way to engage with students for academia, but for campus life as well.

At Georgia State University, chatbots were successfully utilised to reduce ‘summer melt’(lost students), guiding students that were unsure about which courses to take to select their subjects. It also helped students process financial aid applications and placement exams. This resulted in a 22% reduction in summer melt and 324 more students attended class on the first day.

Chatbots have also been shown to help students with mental health issues. An experimental study was carried out with Chatbots in the University of Tsukuba. The study compared the effects of a chatbot course with a self-guided mental health course. Participants at the university exhibited lower stress levels with the chatbot programme.

Conclusion

Chatbots, though still limited in their use by universities globally are gaining a greater market share as the convenience and cost-savings slowly become apparent. And there is anecdotal evidence that COVID 19 restrictions are accelerating this take-up, for students, faculty, and parents. And they can do this across the entire student journey from admission through to certification.

Contact us to find out more and if you have a few minutes please click here to answer a brief survey.

How Blockchain is Helping Universities Be Digital and Improve Trust

Date: 16th December 2020
Post Type: Blog

Blockchain has been hailed as the best tamper-proof technology in the world. There is no known way to fool it. The decentralized ledger system is being experimented with around the world in many sectors, including Education.

For example, the Central New Mexico Community College provides new graduates with a diploma that is authenticated and recorded on a Blockchain., reducing fraud, improving validation responsiveness, and reducing costs.

The technology hasn’t made its way to the majority of universities yet, but it is slowly catching on. Education Technology firm Ellucian took a survey in which 52% of recruiters and 58% of students said they trust digital credentials.  And, of course, there’s no safer credentialing than with Blockchain.

So here are just a few ways that Blockchain can help universities around the world. 

Blockchain Credentials 

In 2018, the University of Basel in Switzerland issued certificates with Blockchain. They were registered on the Ethereum Blockchain. The technology comprised two parts; the first component would create the certificate and register it to the Blockchain with a unique hash identifier. The second component was a public tool for anyone (student, recruiter etc.) to use to verify the certificate

Muroran Institute of Technology in Hokkaido Japan did something similar. They have piloted a Blockchain initiative to authenticate their students’ academic records. The project was scheduled to begin in March 2020. Five other Japanese universities are set to follow suit.  

Another example of this technology came in 2019, when 9 of the world’s top universities gathered together for academic credentialing. The challenge was issued by MIT vice president Sanjay Sarma. He highlighted that students would always have to look to their university for credential verificationAs a result, employment, placement, and admission processes would be held up.  

To answer this challenge, UC Berkeley, MIT, Delft University in the Netherlands, Hasso Plattner in Germany, and several others came together. They’ve vowed to develop a free service through which students can store and share their academic credentials through Blockchain.   

The initiative has caught on in India as well, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Hyderabad. The university has deployed Blockchain in its academic credentialing system as a response to forgeries. Students were applying for visas using fake certificates in the state of Telangana.  

Blockchain Student Records  

For universities Blockchain can be more than just a way to improve how credentials are provided. For example, the University of Nicosia in Cyprus is using Blockchain to record students’ achievements and is proving very popular. The same is being done at the Holberton School of Software Engineering in San Francisco. The school announced that it would share academic certificates through Blockchain from 2017 onwards.  

ECPI University in Virginia has done the same thing. They’ve partnered with a Blockchain digital credentials start-up and had uploaded over 1000 diplomas as of August 2018. This has allowed students to share digital certificates with employers and recruiters without the need for them to send the certificates through mail.  

Examinations 

At least one major country has made use of Blockchain to make examinations tamper-proof. In 2019, the Russian Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Education and Science announced that they would use blockchain technology for the graduation exams. They would use it to ensure quality control for the Unified State Exam in the country.   

In Conclusion 

It’s still early days for Blockchain use in Education but as summarized above, the potential is clear right across the student lifecycle – from admissions to assessment and certification to student records. Legacy investments in integrated Student Information Systems (SIS) are not the barrier they may seem as Blockchain can naturally play a role of bridging the information gap between students and the institution, their potential employers and the many other untrusted parties in the student eco-system such as banks, accommodation providers and public authorities.  

If you’re looking for a partner to explore how blockchain could be put to use today to increase trust, create value and differentiate your institution then contact us. 

If you have 2 minutes, please help us better understand the state of Blockchain in your institution and country by answering these questions. Please click here to fill out the survey.

Pansoft Technologies Achieves CMMI Level 3 Appraisal

Date: 20th July, 2020
News Type: Press Release

Pansoft Technologies, a leading IT products, consulting, and services company, has been appraised at Level 3 of the CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration).

After successfully completing the SCAMPI appraisal, Pansoft Technologies was verified to have been operating at Level 3 of the Maturity Levels defined by CMMI; this level indicates that Pansoft is performing at a “Defined” level.

Considered to be the highest form of third-party validation, the CMMI Institute’s maturity levels attest a company’s ability to deliver products, services, and solutions reliably and securely keeping in mind all the best practices. The CMMI’s maturity program offers an integrated set of best practices to lay guidelines for organisations to enhance performance improvement and achieve operational goals.

“As still a very young team of dedicated and passionate professionals, we are more than thrilled and proud of having received the CMMI Level 3 appraisal. It reaffirms my faith in my team and also gives our clients another reason to have faith in our services. It’s really gratifying to be one of the few companies globally to have achieved this appraisal. We always have and will continue to operate at the world’s best practices and ensure quality deliverables with our offshore global delivery model,” said Nazim Shaikh, CEO at Pansoft Technologies.

About Pansoft Technologies

Founded in 2010, Pansoft Technologies is a leading Information Technology products, consulting and services organisation, with a global footprint. It extends value to enterprises using Oracle, Ellucian, Blockchain, Analytics, and Cloud technologies either isolated or as an integrated platform offering. Pansoft has its operations in India, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, USA and Europe.

About CMMI® Institute

CMMI Institute enables organisations to elevate and benchmark performance across a wide range of critical business capabilities, including product development, service excellence, workforce management, data management, supplier management, and cybersecurity.

A Primer on Reducing Operational Costs with Oracle

Date: 16th July, 2020
News Type: Digital Transformation

In 2018, the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) took a major decision. They were looking to reduce their expenses by optimising their IT infrastructure. They also wanted to improve their online systems so that their faculty, staff, and teachers could become more productive.

Eventually, they opted for Oracle Cloud and moved to the cloud with a secure, robust, and unified platform. Within months, the institutional reduced cut costs to a considerable extent and saved almost $50,000.

The Indirect Stakeholder Cost

Despite the widespread adoption of Oracle tools, not many companies are utilising it properly. Countless inefficient Oracle systems out there eat up a vast chunk of revenues of their enterprises. Why is it that even after choosing a leading solution like Oracle, enterprises still can’t get the most out of their databases?

While optimising the business operations for a wide range of organizations, we, at Pansoft, recognised that many organisations fail to account for the underlying organisational costs.

Here’s a brief overview of how these stakeholders interact with IT tools:

  • The payroll department must process payroll on schedule. Delays can cause uncertainty in the organisation, especially if it occurs during an economic recession.
  • Call centre staff needs optimal speed, .i.e. their CRM application screens need to be loaded lightning fast.
  • A slow website can result in the loss of several potential clients.
  • Executive management is in need of timely, accurate, and real-time dashboard reporting.

In many companies, these stakeholders and departments normalise the high Oracle total cost of ownership (TCO). More often than not, the in-house IT teams do not have the expertise and fluency to manage and monitor tools.

But is it really acceptable to allow an executive dashboard to take more than 40 seconds for loading a report on the company’s supply chain processes? What if it could be loaded in less than 5 seconds? This reporting system alone is causing a significant amount of losses to the company over the year as it directly affects the organisation’s decision-making.

Is it acceptable that the company website’s bounce rate is high and customers are moving to other sites due to poor website responsiveness?

It’s tough to measure the indirect cost of these tools on business operations in financial terms, but it’s certainly not negligible. Performance costs are mostly assessed in technical terms and direct financial expenses for remediating a system measurement.

It’s important to understand that the investment going into IT is not the only consideration. You also have to take the intangible stakeholder cost into account to determine the remediation of performance issues.

To help you reduce operational costs, we, at Pansoft, recommend you to look into the problem through the lens of an indirect stakeholder. This is a beneficial approach due to two reasons:

  • You get to spot and resolve performance issues that affect your business processes.
  • You get to increase the IT budget for resolving performance issues.

The Analytics Dilemma

At the moment, data analytics/business intelligence platforms are the only tools that help managers and executives view a vast amount of data, interpret it, and make decisions accordingly. However, even if these insights are shown and delivered perfectly, they must come at the right time.

Generally, analytic rollouts happen on an incremental basis as the platform continues to become refined. Users ask complex questions as the analytics functionalities are updated. But, if the system isn’t bottlenecked, and the solution can’t return quick responses, these insights don’t offer any use.

Alternatively, businesses that keep up with their user requirements and optimise performance accordingly benefit a great deal; executives receive timely insights, improve decision-making and expand business performance.

Long-term performance tuning of the analytics platform ensures that it can address user requirements and reduce operational costs, thanks to performance upgrades. We have been doing it for a long time with Oracle E-Business suite.

Remote Oracle DBA Services Are Trending

Remote database administration is all the rage at the moment. When you limit your database infrastructure with an in-house team, you can only reduce costs to a certain extent. Getting offshore services are crucial as they facilitate you to explore a wide range of prospects that are made possible with remote DBA.

Over the last ten years, there has been a massive increase in the outsourcing of database services. Around two million database jobs have been outsourced to India and China. The trend became popular because companies found remote DBA services, like that of Oracle, to be much more efficient and cost-effective than their in-house infrastructure.

The biggest advantage of getting remote database administration services is that it cuts operational costs while raising profits simultaneously. With remote Oracle DBA, you acquire improved access to resources and take advantage of the best professionals in the industry.

In addition, you can also free up internal resources. The project execution speed gains a significant performance boost via remote DBA. Large enterprises employ hundreds and thousands of employees, and to manage the end-to-end user lifecycle you need support from experts like Pansoft who not only overlook multiple areas such as user access management and authorisation, provisioning and deprovision, certification and decertification, reporting and auditing but also provide you with remote oracle DBA services, optimising your database design and queries for better results.

How Oracle E-Business Suite Can Improve Your Productivity?

Do you know that Wells Fargo, one of the largest banks in the world, heavily relies on Oracle EBS?

Oracle E-Business (EBS) comprises of a wide range of software. Here’s how business owners can leverage Oracle EBS’ modules:

  • Streamline your cash flow management and financial management with customisable and user-friendly Oracle Financials. Modules such as Financial Analyzer, Property Management, Treasury, Fixed Assets, Receivables, Payables, Cash Management, and General Ledger enhance your financial processes.
  • From recruiting new hires, managing the current workforce, and retiring old employees, you can handle your HR processes effectively with Human Resource Management System (HRMS).
  • If your organisation is having difficulty with storing and shipping goods, it’s recommended to use Oracle Logistics. It can predict future demand and plan for safety stock in the warehouse. Develop in-depth, tailored material plans and create production schedules.

Moving to the Cloud

A few years ago, Oracle recognised the growing adoption of cloud infrastructure. As a result, it allowed companies to migrate their legacy systems to the cloud with Oracle Fusion Applications. Fusion refers to the underlying technologies that allow organisations to use Oracle’s cloud offerings. For instance, you can use Oracle Fusion Sales Cloud to move your sales workflows to the cloud. Similarly, you can improve customer relationships by integrating your global team with Oracle Fusion CRM Base Cloud Service.

Complying with Data Privacy Regulations

Oracle Identity and Access Management enables organisations to streamline and automate the end-to-end lifecycle of user identities. They can use it to provide authorised access and protect:

  • Confidential data related to businesses, suppliers, and customers, whether it is stored in the cloud or on-premises.
  • Applications used by employees, suppliers, and partners.
    Devices, such as smartphones, desktops, laptops, and IoT.
  • Integration—Information stored, sent, received, or exchanged between different systems.

Using Oracle Identity and Access Management is crucial because it allows you to comply with modern regulations such as GDPR (EU), CCPA (U.S.), and the Privacy Act (Australia) to name a few. In this way, you can prevent data breaches and avoid hefty fines. Get in touch with Pansoft and use the following Oracle IDM tools:

  • Oracle Access Manager
  • Oracle Identity Manager
  • Oracle Internet Directory
  • Oracle Entitlements Server
  • Oracle Privileged Account Manager
  • Oracle Web Services Manager
  • Oracle Identity Federation
  • Oracle Identity Analytics
  • Oracle Adaptive Access Manager
  • Oracle Enterprise Single Sign-On

Do you want to leverage these Oracle solutions to take your business to the next level? Reach out to Pansoft and simplify your business processes with Oracle services.

Pansoft Partners with C-BIA Consulting Ltd to drive digital transformation across industries in the UK and EU

Date: 10th July, 2020
News Type: Press Release

Key takeaways

  • Through this partnership, Pansoft offers an integrated platform of enterprise resource planning, blockchain, and analytics tailored to help enterprises across industries to embark on their digital transformation journey while staying compliant with the regulatory framework.
  • This partnership will help address the specific and significant market opportunities and strengthen the joint value proposition through closer proximity to customers in the region. 
  • Pansoft will focus on the key areas of driving digital transformation and change management for organisations across varied sectors.

Pansoft, a market leader in implementing digitised solutions, is pleased to announce its partnership with C-BIA Consulting, a Business Intelligence and data analytics expert, to help enterprises reduce operational costs and bring more value through its comprehensive bespoke integrated solution.  

Pansoft’s expertise in the Oracle arena, Ellucian services, Blockchain development and Analytics enable it to provide customers with a unique solution that combines these technologies to solve use cases. Making business functions more efficient through enterprise resource planningautomating digital credential verification and validation through blockchain, helping information drivers make informed decisions through data-driven insights and analytics.

C-BIA Consulting helps customers to identify valuable insights and gain business value from their data assets, make informed business decisions that deliver better outcomes, and enables all stakeholders to seamlessly work together. With this partnership, Pansoft and C-BIA aim to leverage their expertise to offer a wide range of services and consulting to clients in the UK and EU. 

In partnering with C-BIA, Pansoft will be able to extend its services to clients across the UK and EU. It will also enable us and, simultaneously, our clients gain access to C-BIA’s exceptional knowledge in data science and BI. By combining our expertise in implementing digitised solutions with C-BIA’s data-driven digital products, we will be able to add value to our clients’ businesses by delivering much more intelligent solutions to them, commented Nazim Shaikh, CEO at Pansoft. 

This partnership means we can extend our services to existing clients and craft new offerings that combine our joint sector and technical knowledge, particularly around Oracle and Ellucian products and Blockchain. Demand has never been higher for cost-effective solutions that enable faster decision making and automate business processes and remote working. I look forward to working with Pansoft to build the next generation of advanced analytics solutions, lower costs and improve customer satisfaction,” said Brendan Dunphy, CEO.

About Pansoft

Founded in 2010, Pansoft Technologies is a leading Information Technology Products, consulting and services organisation, with a global footprint. It extends value to enterprises using Oracle, Ellucian, Blockchain, Analytics and Cloud technologies either isolated or as an integrated platform offering. Pansoft has its operations in India, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, USA and Europe. 

To know more about digitised solutions, visit Pansoft Technologies on https://www.pansoft-tech.com 

About C-BIA Consulting Ltd  

Founded in 2006 as Genisys Consulting Ltd., C-BIA Consulting specialises in intelligent application development, BI & data analytics using Microsoft and Open Source platforms. C-BIA’s focus is on health, education, research and retail sectors and includes the joint development and marketing of applications such as laboratory management, clinical collaboration, performance assessment and safe staffing in these sectors.  

To know more about BI and data analytics, visit C-BIA Consulting on https://www.c-bia.co.uk/ 

Pansoft partners with Ellucian to drive digital transformation for higher education providers

Date: 6th April, 2020
News Type: Press Release

Key takeaways

  • Through this partnership, Pansoft offers an integrated platform of Enterprise Resource Planning, blockchain and analytics tailored to help institutions stay compliant with the regulatory framework, embark on a digital transformation journey and drive student success.
  • This partnership will help address the specific and significant market opportunities and strengthen the joint value proposition through closer proximity to customers. Pansoft will focus on the key areas of digital transformation and change management in the higher education sector.

Pansoft, an expert in the implementation of digitalisation technologies, is pleased to announce a new partnership with Ellucian, the leading provider of software and services built to power higher education, to bring its flagship Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Ellucian Banner to more institutions.

This move brings Ellucian and Pansoft closer to customers. Pansoft’s experience in database management, identity and access management, blockchain and analytics and provides Ellucian’s higher education customers with a proven implementation partner.

Ellucian Banner enables the delivery of a coherent student experience and facilitates better organisational alignment through data integration across departments. The solution creates a central repository for student information, enables easier access to information from mobile and other devices, as well as provides tools to improve student success rates. By freeing up time and resources in the planning process, students and staff will be able to better focus on their mission of boosting the economy through education.

“Pansoft partnered with Ellucian as it provides us an opportunity to grow organically without changing our business model. The strategic collaboration helps us blend our collective expertise in shared technology platform and the higher education arena. Our Professional Services Practice is a natural fit into Ellucian Partner Program” commented Nazim Shaikh, CEO at Pansoft.

“Alongside competencies and capabilities, Pansoft shares Ellucian’s Customer First vison, having implemented a strategy of customer proximity and intimacy. This, coupled with Pansoft’s existing portfolio of complementary offerings and a track record within higher education makes this an exciting partnership that will further add value to our customers in the Middle East” said Maged Fahmy, Global Head of Alliances and Channel at Ellucian.

About Ellucian

Ellucian is the market leader charting the digital future of higher education with cloud-ready technology solutions and services, Ellucian serves more than 2,700 customers and 20 million students in over 50 countries.

To find out what’s next in higher education solutions and services, visit Ellucian at www.ellucian.com.

To know more about Pansoft and Ellucian’s collaborative offerings, visit Pansoft at
https://www.pansoft-tech.com/home/ellucian-banner/

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