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University Web Developers

If you use Datatel Colleague at your institution, which portal have you selected to integrate with it? We are currently using CampusCruiser, however I am reviewing CampusEAI, Datatel and Blackboard as viable replacement options. Any feedback would be appreciated!

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We don't currently have a portal, but are evaluating our options. Currently I'm leaning toward incrementally building one in-house, as you've seen in another thread.

Sharepoint didn't pan out well in our initial requirements (it seemed much more office focused, and not enough community focused), and Datatel Portal relies heavily on Sharepoint.

CampusEAI is still very much on our radar, as is uPortal.

As for Blackboard, I'll just say if they're not responding to you well during the sales process, I can't imagine they'd do better during the following years of support. Your description of their response to you fits my experience with them as well. We are a Datatel school, but we never really integrated Blackboard LMS and Datatel -- everything had always been done through import/export scripts.
We are using myCampus. We don't do much integration, outside of Single Sign-On and in the near future probably deep linking SSO. But it works well for our purposes in that regard.

One thing I must say, if you can't get a good response from a sales team, their support staff probably isn't going to be any better. So I think you must take that into consideration.

Paul

We are currently in the same process, Datatel shop needing to upgrade our portal. We are looking at Campus EAI, the Datatel portal and possibly building our own.

I would be very interested in any feedback about choosing a solution.

Hi Marilyn,

 

I'd be happy to share my thoughts with you on this one!

 

I reviewed Datatel, Campus EAI and Blackboard quite extensively from September 2010 through December 2010. I assembled a team of about 30 staff & faculty members from around the college so folks could represent each of their area's specific needs (announcements, targeted content, streaming media for classes, a well-designed CMS, clean navigation options, robust controls for content owners, 3rd party integration, SSO, etc). After assembling a list of specific needs, and pairing them with some technical requirements, we invited the vendors in to present their products. Afterwards, the group unanimously voted for the Datatel Portal (including me). We passed our recommendation along to our College Technology Council, which is made up of VP's who approve all strategic technical projects, and they gave us the thumbs-up to proceed.

 

After going through the process, here are some thoughts:

 

CampusEAI seemed to be heavily focussed on marketing (which is good and bad). For instance, the prices for their packages seemed outrageous, but then they give you a grant to help with the costs -- I felt it was just a sales ploy; smoke and mirrors. As for their product, if you have a web development team in place to really dig in and edit the code, you'll likely do well, but we don't have those kinds of resources. I didn't get a feel from their demo they had an "out of the box" option either, unless you again had extensive development resources handy. I will say there is fantastic collaboration between colleagues who use CampusEAI, which is a plus, but again, it just didn't feel right for us. We're currently using CampusCruiser, and CampusEAI didn't appear to be a vast improvement. Also, their mobile capabilities seemed to be lacking. But again, if you have the resources in place, this may be a decent option for you if your #1 priority is having a unique design.

 

Blackboard I'll skip this one as it doesn't seem to be one you're looking at, but if you do want info let me know.

 

Datatel Between their out-of-the-box options, tight integration with Colleague, 3rd party integration, and admin control options just to name a few, this one made the most sense for us. It met all of our technical and generic requirements, and MOX (their mobile app) has incredible features that tie directly into the portal (notifications, course lists, news, announcements, directories, maps, etc). Though we of course wanted a sleek UI that we could brand, our main goal was to find something that leveraged our ERP system in the best possible way, and allowed our users to get the information they wanted, when and how they wanted it, in a reliable way. 

 

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other Q's.

Thanks so much for your response!

We are currently in the needs analysis phase, using focus groups with current students and all of the administrative departments to define the top priorities.

Here they are so far:

Federated search
Federated Mail
ease of use of Blackboard
Ease of use of webAdvisor
Federated Calendar/timetable/schedule
Platform/devices independent
Browser compatibility
Targetted News/events
Trentdirectory
Access to Fees/finances

 

We are demo-ing Datatel portal on the 31st but basically need to decide in first week of February which way we are going. As far you know does the Datatel product fit the above list of priorities? The salespeople always say "oh sure we can do that" but history says otherwise.

 

Thanks again for your time!

Marilyn

 

I'll get the easy stuff out of the way first:

 

WebAdvisor: Yes

Access to Fees/finances: We grant users access to view their fees and budgets through WebAdvisor screens. I'm assuming that's how you would set it up as well? Or are you using a different method? I may not have an answer for you on that, but when we had Datatel come we asked them to show us specific things. Make a list and send it to them in advance; ask them to demo exactly what it is you'll need the portal to do to verify it can do it. Seeing is believing! 

Targeted News / Events: Yes. You can really drill-down to configure who sees what based on someones user role (i.e. Student, Student in HIS101, Faculty, Executive, Executive in Payroll, etc.)

Browser compatibility: Yes. We're a Mac school and we had Datatel demo their portal in various browsers - Safari, Firefox, etc, and it worked like a charm. I also took the Portal Admin training on a Mac and VPN'd into their system. That also worked fine.


Platform/devices independent:
Yes. The portal works on a wide array of devices (is that what you're asking here?)

 

As for the rest of the items, the Datatel Portal is extremely secure, and though it does offer it's own calendar system for events / courses / web pages within the portal, you might also want to link an external calendar to it, or a calendar from your LMS, which it can support; I'm pretty sure you can have multiple calendar options linked. As for email, we're going to use Gmail for students, so we'll be hooking that up for users. But either way, since all authentication is done via SharePoint which hooks directly into Colleague, everything is secure and safe.

 

Is Blackboard your current LMS that you plan on using? I'm not 100% it can integration with that, but I would imagine it could. We'll be using Moodle. 

 

 

 

Thanks again! I am going to share this with my team on Monday and we are gathering a list of very specific questions for Datatel. The team is the "Integrated Web Presence" and originally started out looking at MashUps but seem to be leaning towards buying vs building. If I think of anything else specific to our project I might bug you again. You have been very helpful.
Anytime! I'm more than happy to chat.

We're on Colleague and so we also went with Datatel's Sharepoint Portal ... as far as I'm concerned, it's been an unbridled mess, and I'd wager that everybody agrees with me, but because we're still in the midst of an implementation that continues to grow longer and longer, we've gotta keep plugging away happily.  Students, staff, faculty, and, those in IT working on the implementation are frustrated beyond comprehension.

 

I'll be honest though, I'm the outward-facing web guy, so I'm sure that others at my institution have had positive experiences with it.  I can wager, though, that it is not as bad as Datatel's CMS product.

Hi Mike,

 

I'm recently joined University Web Developers when searching for some information about Datatel's Sharepoint Portal.  We are a Datatel shop and are considering Datatel's portal.  The other portal solution we are evaluating is CampusEAI's portal. 

 

We've had bad experiences with other Datatel products, such as Active Admissions, so implementing new Datatel products aren't typically on the top of my list.  But the one thing that scares about not choosing their portal product is the inability to incorporate MOX (Datatel's mobile apps) without purchasing and using their Sharepoint portal.  MOX is basically useless without Datatel's portal.  Students expect to register, get grades, check schedules, etc. using their mobile devices.  Have you made it to the point of rolling out MOX and was that a contributing factor when you made your decision to go with Datatel's portal? 

Lauren,

...and I'm curious to know if you eliminated uPortal for a reason, or if you never had it on your list. We're down to CampusEAI and uPortal at the moment.

Hi Mike,

 

We are still evaluating both portals. We have not made a decision.  Do did you initially choose Datatel's Sharepoint portal and then switch to CampusEAI due to issues you had during implementation?  Based on your response above it sounded like you had chosen Datatel's portal.

 

I was just curious to find out what types of problems you experienced and if you had any experience with Datatel's MOX product.

 

Lauren

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