The University of South Africa(Unisa) has partnered with FrontRange Solutions to introduce students to the discipline of CRM.
Unisa hopes to complement the theory currently received with a method of practical implementation to better equip students for the business world.
This makes six universities currently using FrontRange, according to a release. It’s also the first time in South Africa that its software is being used as compulsory courseware.
Students will receive a subsidized CD of FrontRange’s GoldMine application as part of their study pack. According to Professor Johan Strydom, Marketing Professor at Unisa’s department of management, this will be used to “facilitate their studies, complete their assignments and ultimately walk away from their course with a certificate and the tool required to implement their knowledge.”
The CD given to students will contain demonstrations of program implementation, along with a working copy of the software. Strydom says the application will help students “learn the value of forming a prospecting database, how to implement, execute and measure the returns on their marketing programme and in the process acquire a sound fundamental understanding of how technology can be used practically to reduce the costs and increase the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.”
Goldmine is apparently easy to use, therefore usable for students with basic computer skills. Indeed, the “ease-of-use” consideration is important, given South Africa’s low level of computer penetration and the non-technical foundations of marketing courses.
Initially the programming package will be used for Unisa’s three-month Customer Relationship Management Diploma and the six-month Customer Relationship Marketing Diploma. It may later be included as a module in the B Comm degree programme.
Course material will be a collaborative effort between Unisa and FrontRange.
Academia has long been a lucrative market for book publishers, dominated by a few companies that got a foothold and managed to protect it. Software is, or soon will be, as essential as textbooks to modern students. As with the paper publishing industry, those bits-and-bytes publishers that can establish a foothold early should be able to protect their markets from all-comers, leaving them sole providers to a profitable niche.