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CBORD becomes latest campus card provider to join cloud

Andrew Hudson   ||   Jun 26, 2014  ||   

The CBORD Group has added the new Odyssey Direct solution to its portfolio. A hosted campus card system that offers full services without the IT complexity or workload, Odyssey Direct addresses a growing need for universities to focus more IT resources on academics and student success, and less on system maintenance.

A major driver behind the Odyssey Direct offering is a trend where more IT resources are being focused on projects tied directly to retention, engagement and academic success. CBORD has hundreds of customers that are already using the company’s on-premise campus card systems, and while those systems aren’t going anywhere, the addition of Odyssey Direct to CBORD’s portfolio fills a gap for universities that may lack the resources to support an on-premise system.

Odyssey Direct’s hosted format relieves university IT departments from system maintenance, and instead, places it in the cloud. Odyssey Direct is hosted by CBORD and accessed through a web browser. Moreover, with no software to install, no server to maintain and no database administrator required, IT personnel are free to shift focus from maintenance to academic priorities and student success.

“More and more universities are shifting system and server maintenance from the campus to the cloud,” says Max Steinhardt, president at CBORD.

Based on CBORD’s Odyssey PCS technology, Odyssey Direct marks the latest addition to CBORD’s suite of hosted offerings that already includes cloud-based solutions for commerce management, access control and nutritional education.

Integration with CBORD’s Odyssey PCS campus card system means that Odyssey Direct offers the same range of services that are already powering campus card programs at more than 400 organizations. The solution’s web-based sales interface supports dining halls, retail venues and off-site events from a smartphones or other mobile device.

Odyssey Direct also offers the same support for meal plan management, discretionary spending, vending, copying and printing, laundry, attendance tracking, activity processing, card production and access control integration.

Verifying eligibility and tracking attendance is also easily processed online, and with CBORD’s GET hosted commerce platform, Odyssey Direct offers students a user-friendly mobile experience for deposits, food orders and account management.

The system is already in use at Barton Community College in Great Bend, Kan, where campus administrators are taking advantage of Odyssey Direct’s benefits.

“We don’t have to care for servers or keep up with frequent upgrades. Our foodservice director can look at our counts for breakfast or lunch from his smartphone, no matter where he is,” says Mark Dean, dean of administration at Barton County Community College. “But most importantly, when looking at the solution we asked ourselves, ‘Can we make our data more accurate? Reduce our overall costs? Reduce the time we spend tracking students and meal plans?’ Odyssey Direct helps us do all of those things.”

The hosted format addresses many problems including:

  • Disaster recovery. Because the solution is based in the cloud, data and transaction processes are protected from local disasters since there is no on-site card system server.

  • Software updates. With a web-based format, all Odyssey Direct users are always running the most current version. There is no need to spend time or resources installing system updates, as customers will benefit from each new release immediately, without any manual intervention.

  • IT and personnel constraints. Devoting employees to system maintenance is not realistic for many institutions, and a hosted solution like Odyssey Direct alleviates this need, as there is no server to maintain and no software to manage. Administrators and end users have continuous, direct system access without extra IT or technical support.

Odyssey Direct eliminates time spent applying patches, running health reports, or monitoring other diagnostics. Moreover, these functions are managed by CBORD directly, which both alleviates university personnel and also ensures that it’s card system is being managed by qualified professionals.

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