Don't be Misled:
Totally Integrated vs. Interfaced

CAMS® Enterprise is a totally integrated academic ERP.

Others may claim to be totally integrated, but in truth, their products aren't integrated at all; interfaced. These are two strikingly different approaches to system design that have tremendous implications for costs, infrastructure requirements and usability.

What is total integration?

A totally integrated academic ERP solution like CAMS Enterprise uses shared applications and data to provide consistent, reliable, real-time information throughout the solution. With the shared applications and shared data of an integrated solution, the need for duplicate data entry is a thing of the past, and institutions have confidence that the information staff, students and faculty are using is up-to-date.

Without shared applications and data, you can't get the level of automation, communication, deep business intelligence and verifiable ROI found in CAMS Enterprise.

Using shared applications and shared data gives you functions like admissions, registration, financial aid, course management, portals, billing, development and more that all work together seamlessly.

What does 'interfaced' mean?

Unlike integrated solutions, interfaced systems do not use shared applications and data. Many times they use completely different technologies written at different times by different vendors. While interfaced systems may have the appearance of an integrated solution, what you see is not what you get.

Interfaced systems are typically composed of many stand-alone applications that have been knit together behind the scenes with processes to copy the data periodically back and forth between each application’s database. Unlike integrated solutions, significant lag time with interfaced systems may occur while the data is copied. This can lead to situations where, for example, registering a student for a class may not be reflected in Financial Aid for hours or even days.

In most cases, the behind-the-scenes processes also requires additional staff time, more equipment, added maintenance fees, decreased or non-existent automation, lower user satisfaction, lengthy and complex implementations and a diminishing ROI. In short, headaches you don’t want.

How is CAMS different?

CAMS is designed using a master-and-detail relationship so our data is always available in real-time, in unlimited detail, and without a need for term- or year-closing. With CAMS, you don’t have to wait for overnight batch processing to keep your data fresh and up-to-date.

Most products are designed as flat-record databases, so every time you need new information you have to add a new field. This causes table-size issues, performance problems and much unnecessary grief.

Even when some vendors migrate their data from this older architecture to a relational database, the data still inherently follows the original design — these systems still depend on batch processing and much manual intervention via the database administrator and other professionals to keep them in synchronized.

CAMS is in its third generation and with every new version we have redesigned the system — and especially the data structure — from the ground up to keep up with our clients’ requirements and to accommodate higher education’s most-pressing problems and most-current needs.

Twenty years ago, for example, most systems were designed to handle only traditional semester or quarter system schools. Today’s non-traditional, multi-campus, multi-program institutions, and programs in which students can start and end classes anytime while overlapping with the traditional terms make those solutions obsolete. Many systems claim they can handle these complex situations, but they are actually managed with workarounds because the system wasn’t designed for today’s environment.

CAMS handles today’s higher education needs naturally with a totally flexible calendar-driven term that accommodates any type of course offering and billing, and matches it to the federal and state requirements.

Three Rivers Systems brings more than 25 years of expertise in building systems based on the latest technology, and we deliver the institutional best practices requested by our clients.

CAMS meets the current and future needs of institutions right out of box, and our ongoing support ensures your product is never obsolete. With CAMS you have everything you need to manage your institution now and in the future.

What total integration looks like...

Our innovative, totally integrated approach results in essential functions that interact seamlessly with each other. Unlike interfaced systems, CAMS Enterprise is elegantly designed as a singular solution providing institutions and end-users a variety of benefits:

  • Each function looks, feels and operates the same way. Users who master one function can quickly master all other functions of the solution.
  • You eliminate the need to interface multiple, disparate solutions, saving manpower, reducing the need to acquire additional hardware and expediting implementation.
  • As your institution grows or adds campuses, your system can be easily and efficiently scaled.

When referring to shared data, functions found in totally integrated solutions like CAMS Enterprise store and retrieve information from one place. Doing so results in end-users having:

  • One-time data entry. That same data is then made immediately and automatically available to all other functions and users.
  • Real-time and complete access to information.
  • Powerful, accurate, and immediate reporting.



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About Our Clients

Three Rivers Systems proudly serves colleges and universities around the globe in all major Carnegie Foundation classifications: Associate’s Colleges; Doctorate-granting Universities; Master’s Colleges and Universities; Baccalaureate Colleges; Special Focus Institutions like law, medical and business schools as well as faith-based institutions and theological seminaries; and Tribal Colleges. From premier institutions like Baylor College of Medicine and Andover Newton Theological School, the nation’s first graduate university, to the prestigious American University of Paris and Sotheby’s Institute of Art, we help our clients manage the entire student lifecycle effectively and efficiently. A full-service provider, we develop and deliver software and all implementation, training, project management and support services.



About Three Rivers Systems, Inc.

Three Rivers Systems Inc. is a privately owned company creating and delivering high-quality ERP solutions exclusively for higher education since 1985. Our Comprehensive Academic Management System, called CAMS®, consistently improves operational efficiencies while saving our clients as much as 75 percent a year in IT expenditures. From our headquarters in St. Louis, our business model is structured to work in tandem with your higher education institution, supporting your efforts to ensure student success and satisfaction; to increase enrollment; to boost revenues; to be more efficient and to manage the entire student lifecycle more effectively.