Student recruitment and retention is big business for colleges and universities. Without recruitment and retention, student populations will shrink to the point that institutions can’t afford to stay open. Competition for students is fierce, making recruitment and retention critically important.
Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) is a private Catholic university sponsored by the Sisters of Divine Providence. OLLU takes student recruitment and retention very seriously. Since 2008, enrollment has increased by 8 percent, retention by 7 percent and graduation rates by 10 percent. OLLU isn’t stopping there. The university’s strategic five-year plan (2013-2018) aims to further increase enrollment, retention and graduation rates. OLLU wants to become one of the top 20 Catholic universities in the United States.
Between fall 2014 and fall 2015, OLLU’s freshmen retention rate was 59 percent. The national average was 71 percent among private universities according to ACT, Inc. The percentage of students who graduated within five years of entering OLLU was 33 percent in 2015. The national average was 44 percent.
To improve enrollment and graduation rates, OLLU uses customer relationship management (CRM) software designed specifically for higher education. CRM helps the university find, engage, recruit and enroll students. To keep enrolled students on the path to graduation, OLLU uses enterprise resource management (ERP) software. ERP helps the entire university community stay engaged and productive.
When unreliable recovery of the IT components supporting CRM and ERP jeopardized recruitment and retention efforts, OLLU’s IT department purchased Veeam® Backup & Replication™.
“Our job is making sure all critical systems, including those supporting CRM and ERP, are running 24.7,” said Jeffrey Allen, Manager of Infrastructure Services at OLLU. “If CRM and ERP are unavailable, we’re not doing our part to help the university meet recruitment and retention goals.”
If the university didn’t meet recruitment and retention goals, the student population would decrease to the point that OLLU couldn’t afford to stay open. Students would lose the opportunity for a faith-based education suffused with service to others, environmental preservation and advancement of the disadvantaged, minorities and women. The surrounding community would lose thousands of hours in student volunteer services including a speech and hearing clinic and a women’s center. Moreover, the United States would lose a top Catholic university dedicated to gospel values, a global worldview, a reverence for life, collaborative partnerships and social justice.
Veeam helps OLLU meet recruitment and retention goals by delivering 24.7 Availability of the IT components supporting CRM and ERP.
“Recruitment and retention are critical to the university’s long-term sustainability and success,” Allen said. “Veeam plays an important role in our strategy to find, engage and enroll students plus keep them motivated and on track for graduation. Veeam is the benchmark for Availability in the IT industry.”
Prior to Veeam, system availability was inconsistent. OLLU was backing up to tape, and recovery from tape was slow and unreliable. Adam Herman, Systems Administrator at OLLU, is responsible for backup and recovery.
“Legacy backup to tape appeared to complete successfully, but then recovery was hit or miss,” Herman said. “If backups were recoverable, time was an issue because recovery could take hours. Scalability was another problem. Our virtual environment was growing, and legacy backup couldn’t keep pace. We were relieved when we switched to Veeam because Veeam has enterprise scalability. It doesn’t matter how large our virtual environment grows because Veeam will back it up. Veeam backups are recoverable too, every time.”
One of Herman’s goals was to create a Grandfather-Father-Son (GFS) backup rotation scheme with Veeam for long-term tape archival because legacy backup was unable to support GFS. Yearly backups are known as “grandfathers,” monthly backups are known as “fathers,” and daily backups are known as “sons.”
“Veeam backup is reliable, and Veeam copies backup to tape, so GFS is possible, helping us to store backups more effectively and recover faster for the university,” Herman said.
OLLU purchased Veeam through Scholarbuys, an IT consulting company comprised of academic technology experts. Scholarbuys has provided technology procurement expertise and support to OLLU since 2007.
“It’s no wonder Veeam is the ideal fit for OLLU,” said Mike Brown, Higher Education Sales Team Lead at ScholarBuys. “Veeam is the leader among Availability solutions because it increases responsiveness to the university community.”
In addition to helping support CRM and ERP, Veeam supports additional systems serving OLLU. Veeam delivers 24.7 Availability of web servers, file shares, email and the IT components supporting campus-wide security cameras.
“Veeam helps us meet the daily needs of everyone on campus and protect their safety,” Herman said. “We know we can recover critical systems in minutes, which gives us tremendous peace of mind and puts OLLU one step closer to becoming one of the top 20 Catholic universities in the country.”