UM launches mobile app project
The University of Montana will be on the move soon—in backpacks and in pockets. Maybe even dangling on wrists.
Last month, UM signed a contract with Ex Libris CampusM to provide the technology platform for a suite of mobile applications for smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, as well as a portal accessible on the web.
Several UM departments have been investigating mobile app projects. This project will bring all those efforts together.
“The reality is that more and more people are using mobile these days,” says Mario Schulzke, UM’s assistant vice president for marketing. “That’s how we get directions. That’s how we find information and increasingly that’s how we’re looking to complete transactions. As a University, we're aware of that shift in consumer behavior, which is why we’re trying to build this platform. To better serve our students and their needs.”
CampusM provides integration capabilities that will allow UM to bring existing technology systems like Banner and the Moodle learning management system into the mobile app. Project leader Jeff Abbott from Information Technology has formed a steering group to gather requirements and prioritize development. Abbott expects to have the mobile presence ready for beta users by the start of fall semester with a full release later in the fall. The project, though, will never really end.
“This is a living, breathing, ever-evolving thing as we find applications we want to put on and take off,” Abbott says. “The main goal for the summer is thinking about what we want to roll out first. I lean towards things that are going to be exciting for students. We want to make this a tool students are going to download and be enthusiastic about using.”
The project team is engaging with students now to understand what functionality might have the biggest early impact.
“We are going to get their input and then prioritize our tech roadmap accordingly,” Schultze says. “We won’t be able to tackle all the problems at once, but our goal is to launch an app that delivers immediate value and then build from there.”
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“We won’t be able to tackle all the problems at once, but our goal is to launch an app that delivers immediate value and then build from there.”
- Mario Schulzke,
Assistant Vice President for Marketing
One the back end
Administrators will have several tools available to develop and manage UM’s mobile app environment.
- The App Manager, where apps, interface, branding, and access are controlled.
- The App Extension Kit that allows for in-house development of custom apps and functionality.
- Insight Analytics, an analytics tool that will allow UM to assess the use and impact of all aspects of the mobile app experience.