1.1What is a system?The system is capable of converting thecollected data from the routine user and machine interactions in to theeffective information which later on is used by the decision makers to makeefficient decisions. In the management information system, the most importantentity is system itself which is set of defined and interrelated componentswhich are generally described as all of the direct or indirect complexcomponents or elements that are related in a casual network. Within anyparticular time period, all of these complex components are related in more orless stable way with at least some other components (Thierauf 1984). So a welldeveloped and interactive system is one which provides best and usefulinformation to the managers at all levels. 2.2.
2 What is an Alumni system? Alumni systems are web-based information systems which aremade by an academic institution to keep up relations with its students afterthey graduate. Institutions utilize the system to gather graduate informationand sort out outreach exercises. These systems gather data about the presentarea, work environment, work data and even side interests of the graduatedclass. Below are some core concepts of an alumni system. · Informationabout the University · Gettingmembership in the site · Invitationto events · Pledgingmoney for the university · Receivingnews letters · Somespecial benefits 2.2.3 Traditional Alumni Systems Prior to the internet revolution, institutions had limitedways to engage their former students.
Communications were through postal mail,letters or magazines and since the alumni are likely to be geographicallyscattered in search of their own careers, the institutions ‘efforts to reachalumni was affected by publication and mailing costs. Most communication were informativein nature and not interactive. Alumni interest and participation in universitynews or its affairs was usually higher in individuals who were stationed withina geographic proximity to the university, or in people who se family or friendsstill study at the university.
Following the internet revolution, though official alumnisystems were put in place, most of them were an add-on to university websitesand not a lot of alumni would get involved with it. These early alumni systemssuffered from sever al drawbacks. The focus of early alumni systems was mostlyfor collecting university funds and due it its rudimentary structure offeredlittle to no channels for interactive communication. In addition, the number ofalumni actually participating or retaining university relations was only afraction of the total alumni population due to limited access or technologicalmeans to use alumni systems. Currently the existing system of managing the alumni ismanual in nature, college people wants to maintain the information about thestudents who have passed from the college but it getsvery complex doing it. The challenges faced by current alumni systems are: · Toorganize and enhance the stature of the application to make managemnt lesstedious and time consuming.· Totransition from a manual based management approach to an automated informationmanagement system.
· Todisseminate information across alumni through an online communication system.· Tocollect useful data related to alumni from social networks and financialapplications · Tokeep privacy and security a top priority for this system.· Toget current students involved through the easiest possible way. 2.2.4 Why the need for Alumni System? Determinants of AlumniSystemThe need for maintaining alumni systems has been highlightedby Arceo in his study on the role of student and alumni. According to Arceo,student and alumni associations serve as a bridge or boundary spanners betweenthe educational institutions, their people (students, alumni, professors andpolitical sector) and the job market. Eventually, these associations grew intheir presence to decision – making bodies which helped retraining of theunemployed youth and thereby contributed towards development of people’s livesthrough decreased unemployment.
One of the early efforts to establish an interactive alumniassociation is due to Spasi? and Pejak 26 at Faculty of MechanicalEngineering, University of Belgrade. Based on experience with previous alumniassociation Spasi? and Pejak established an interactive alumni system calledALFaMEB or ?ME?, which would cater to quality assurance in higher education.Feedback information was collected through various activities as well asquestionnaires about industrial expectations; knowle dge obtained at university,and need for improvement in teaching and research activities. The alumniALFaMEB activities helped continuously improve the teaching and researchundertaken at the university and thereby broaden the limits of universityeducatio n. Although the work discussed above makes novel a ttempts toimprove alumni based networks systems, they are severely limited in theircommunication capabilities and fall short of harnessing the full potential ofextensive interactions between alumni themselves and the university.
The two factors — relationships with alumni and marketing —can be seen as some of the many reasons to initiate alumni systems. Withchanging times , the perception of universities with regards to the use andscope of alumni systems has also evolv ed . It is envisioned that such alumni systemsare beneficial not only to the universities but also to alumni.
It could serveas a platform for current students to interact with their senior alumni andreceive mentoring from them with regards to career paths, real worldexpectations and so on. A noteworthy work in the present context is by Barnardwho proposed an online community portal which is beneficial to both alumni andhigher education institutions in South Africa. The portal was a web – basedsecured database which allows f ree sharing of information between alumni managementteams and its members. From the alumni point of view, benefits of participatingin alumni groups allow them to stay in con t act and meet their fellow classmates, professors and university personnel , even after several years beyondgraduation. It also allows alumni to shar e professional or personal advice,explor e mutual interests and exciting new opportunities in a collaborati veway. Anothe r important factor which necessitates alumni systemsis the university’s need to market itself as a leading place for education andto attract new students.
Given the tre mendous amount of competition inattracting good caliber students from around the worl d , universities arecompeting to stand out as leading educational institutions that produce qualityprofessional s and successful pioneers. Prospec tive students , on the otherhand , could use it to learn more about courses, college routi ne from currentstudents.Most universities tend to boast about their alumni ‘s research worksor achievements as one of their own. It is not surprising that some of the highprofiled universities have most structured graduate follow – up programs, whereemployment of their alumni and their achievements are tracked continuously. Many factors necessitate the alumni systems.
In view of manypotential benefits, some universities initially set up alumni systems as ameans to collect funds from the alumni. Looking at the educational system inGhana, has led to severe cuts in government support for development andeducational activities at most universities. Educational institutions need tosecure alternative sources of cash inflow to avoid being victims. It isbeneficial to the university to maintain healthy relations hips with the alumniwho have the financial solvency to donate to their home university. Hence, thereis the need for a system in place to support and manage these finances.
The foundation of any successfulalumni relations program is an accurate alumni record database. Gaskins exploresan alumni network formation for a university’s recreational sports departmentand emphasizes the constant attention alumni record-keeping requires and thesteps to expanding it through existing alumni connections acting as ambassadorsto their classmates (2006). Along with current contact information and jobtitle, alumni records should include student affairs data such as affinitygroup affiliation to better provide specialized messaging and programming basedon identified interests (Rissmeyer, 2010). Determining the factors thatlead to high post-graduation engagement is the first step in successful alumniprogramming. Across the reviewed literature, authors overwhelmingly agreed thata major factor in alumni generosity is a positive and successful undergraduateexperience (See e.g.
Monks, Rissmeyer). Conley states that alumni who continueto have a strong connection to the institution may be more likely remain themost engaged (1999)