Part 3: a Logic Apps case study

Has there ever been a better time to automate everything?

This is the last of a three-part series of posts on Cloud-based integration in response to the New Normal’ of IT.

In the first post, we looked at the business case and benefits of using the latest technology to automate everything, cloud or on-premise.

In the second post, we took a closer look at the leading iPaaS solution from Microsoft – Microsoft Logic Apps.

Below we present a case study using Logic Apps to automate student onboarding in the Education sector.

The Challenge of Student Onboarding

In a competitive market, student onboarding is a critical task for all higher education institutions. Ideally, student data is captured at the source and only once. Data then flows smoothly through the institution’s integrated systems. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. To extract, edit and upload data between siloed systems, requires manual intervention. Typically using Excel. This takes time and effort and can cause delays and errors. In this case study, we show how Logic Apps can automate the flow of student data between two popular student systems – Slate and Canvas.

In this case study, we show how Logic Apps can replace Excel and automate the flow of student data between two popular student systems – Slate and Canvas.

Slate and Canvas

Slate is a market leader in student information systems widely used in North America and increasingly in Europe. Canvas is a leading Learning Management Systems (LMS) used in the Education sector and elsewhere by many organisations. Both have the option to extract and upload data via published or bespoke API.

using Logic Apps to automate slate and canvas workflow student data

Note: The functionality demonstrated here is valid for any two systems, only the data transferred, event triggers and workflow will vary.

The current Process

The Canvas Learning Management System needs updating with new or changed student data to ensure students can access their online program and course content. Every time the Canvas system needs updating with data from Slate, an existing manual process of 6 steps is triggered:

  1. Extract Newly Admitted Student from Slate in Excel;

2. Append data in the Consolidated Canvas User List;

3. Create Data upload Script for Canvas (User);

4. Create Data upload Script for Canvas (Enrolments to Course);

5. Verify the Excel upload in Canvas;

6. Flag the Consolidated Canvas User List with the date/time of import.

In our example, the upload cycle repeats 4 times for each cohort of students on a course. These occur at predefined intervals before the commencement of the online course in Canvas, plus ad-hoc uploads as required.

Each upload cycle takes a minimum of half a day, though it could be up to one day – an average of three days per cohort. Additionally, there are quality issues through incorrect data and failed uploads. These require effort to correct from across functions and process/system owners, often part-time or remote.

The automated process

The video below shows how Logic Apps can automate this process saving up to 60 days of effort every year.

Want to know more?

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