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In an interview with CIO Applications, Jim Hoefflin, President of CBORD, talks about this application and the various capabilities it brings to enhance the overall student experience on a campus.
What motivated you to venture into the education technology space?
CBORD has a history of 44 years, and it has been providing education technology since its inception. Other than supporting the higher education institutions, we also cater to acute healthcare and elderly care segments; however, higher education remains our biggest market. Our partnership with these institutions helped us move forward, and being a solution provider for such institutions has earned us a remarkable position in the industry. We provide auxiliary services to colleges and universities, who groom the leaders of tomorrow, and this is one of the key reasons that we work toward empowering them.
What services does the company offer to the higher education institutions?
We are transforming these institutions not only from the departmental perspective but also from the students’ perspective. We offer an application that allows students to access various services through their smartphones. For instance, when students arrive on a campus for the first time, everything is provided to them through our mobile app—from their preferences for housing and meal plans to accessing accounts and making purchases. We have developed this app with the aim of improving the student experience by making all auxiliary services easily accessible for them.
We provide campus card and food ordering services to students at their fingertips. With our technology, students can do anything from doing their laundry to getting a soda at a vending machine. We have another program that can track students as they walk across campus, and notify the authorities if they don’t reach their destination. This way, we also ensure a high level of safety and security for our customers. We also offer technology that makes it easy to develop and manage a campus loyalty program. Students love getting free stuff and higher ed institutions want to increase retail purchases and boost event attendance.
We provide campus card and food ordering services to students at their fingertips
We provide a student card system that understands all the preferences of the students including their housing, food habits, and places they want to visit. An extension to the card system is the access-control system that provides access to dorms, labs, libraries, and other areas on campus. One area we excel is in our integrations with third-party vendors. We understand that our student card system is at the heart of campus technology and the need for students to be able to use their card for everything.
There is a tremendous amount of configuration involved as per the requirements of the university. We configure the solution to address specific needs of institutions for their students. Our long history of product development creates positive experiences for the students while also allowing universities to manage their campus operations efficiently.
Could you share a success story where your company helped a client in streamlining their operations and increasing their productivity?
We worked very closely with a university to revamp all their food ordering and retail operations. The university wanted the retail and restaurant offerings to be more traditional. They opened Italian cafes, grab and go lunch counters, and a deli sandwich shop, giving the university a wide variety of restaurants and retail operations on their campus. The customer needed a partner to help them manage the ordering process, point-of-sale, and transactions when they turned to us. We offered them a complete dining solution and made mobile food ordering possible for their students.
We are helping them combine their retail and restaurant experience to provide an improved level of service to their students. This will also increase their revenue, which can be used by the university to offset the rising tuition cost. Student satisfaction and retention are crucial, and if universities can provide such a level of service to its students, it becomes a positive differentiator.
How has the company’s journey been so far?
In the fall of 2017, we announced and showcased the next generation of our campus platform—a single mobile app for all campus card activity. We have a long history of providing card, commerce, and food solutions, and we will continue to provide all these solutions as they help different departments of a university to run and operate efficiently.
Now, CBORD has delivered capabilities for students directly into their hands, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. We have combined all the different departmental solutions through an AWS infrastructure and microservices connectors. We have created the connectivity that allows us to collaborate with all the key operational pieces and bring them together on one operating platform. Historically, we have had tremendous strength in access, dining services, and housing but we will now be helping our university partners to create a broader strategy across all auxiliary services. Universities are seeking more centralized strategies to help them differentiate.
What is the roadmap for the company?
As a global organization, we have customers in the Middle East, Australia, and New Zealand, however, much of our focus is on the US as it has the largest concentration of residentially-based campuses. In the future, our focus will be on creating a much broader selection of services and bringing them to the campuses. We will continue to collaborate with partners with a vision to improve the overall student experience.