What TERMINALFOUR 8.2 Offers to Higher Education Institutions
TERMINALFOUR, a provider of Digital Marketing and Web Content Management Solutions to higher education, today announced the latest release of its platform TERMINALFOUR 8.2. Due to significant improvements to its API and integrations with 3rd party systems, 8.2 is considered a huge leap forward.
“This is the motivation behind TERMINALFOUR v8.2, to help our clients perform better online. Whether it be by enabling them to embrace the potential of accessibility, the power of smart and impactful forms or by enabling them to pull all their content from multiple sources together to allow them to put a cohesive and compelling story together for prospective students,” says Piero Tintori, CEO and founder, TERMINALFOUR.
According to the vendor, many universities are moving away from Open-Source alternatives that don’t offer ironclad support agreements; risky in relation to security and accessibility obligations. The CEO indicated that decision makers in higher education need to unify all the technological components of their digital and content strategies as well as a better end-user experience. At the end of the day, in a nutshell, one of the most desirable institutional outcomes from a content management system is growing their student recruitment pipeline through improved online engagement and amplified marketing messages.
Before diving into what benefits the new release will bring to content creators since this is the first time TERMINALFOUR has made an appearance on CMS-Connected, I’d like to give our readers a glimpse into some background information on the vendor and its offerings. TERMINALFOUR is a digital engagement and web content management platform designed to help universities and colleges navigate the changing landscape of higher education. TERMINALFOUR enables universities and colleges to drive student recruitment, retention, alumni fundraising and research promotion by maximizing the effectiveness of their digital and content strategies. Having a client base of more than 200 universities and colleges around the world, the platform empowers universities and colleges to:
Optimize student recruitment and retention through digital marketing and content activities
Unify on-line brand and increase awareness of the institution domestically and globally
Build engagement online and deliver personalized web experiences
Unify and integrate disparate technologies including CRM, Alumni, and Student Management Systems
Manage a sheer volume of content from various content authors
Founded in 1996 by current CEO Piero Tintori, TERMINALFOUR has offices in key locations such as Boston, European, Dublin, London, and Sydney. Here are some technical details of the platform:
Deployment Types: On-premise, SaaS
Operating Systems: Windows, Linux
Mobile Application: No
Supported Countries: All
Supported Languages: Unicode languages support. Admin interface available in English, Irish, Welsh, Spanish, French, German & Arabic.
I stumbled upon a review on TrustRadius saying: “It's an extremely flexible solution. It can be a nightmare to work with if not properly planned out or fantastic if well thought out. If you have a team and an application owner with a plan it's a great option.”
What TERMINALFOUR v8.2 will Bring to Content Creators
According to TERMINALFOUR, with this new release, 500 feature enhancements and new functionality particularly focusing on the key areas of accessibility, migrations and integrations, performance and form submissions have been provided. Now it is easier to integrate with the existing systems prevalent in institutions e.g. CRM, Student Management Systems, alumni donation platforms etc. According to the survey TERMINALFOUR conducted, 65% say leads generated on website are measured but only 41% have real-time integration between website and CRM. Another interesting finding from the same study is that 39% of respondents stated that their institution has a centralized approach to website management whereas 37% stated decentralized.
Here are some of the new features content editors will see in the Site Manager when they upgrade to TerminalFour version 8.2.1:
User interface changes in Site Manager
View "broken" section or content links in Preview mode
Easier creation of accessible tables
New features in Form Builder
What I really liked about the new release is that users can make their tables more accessible by adding a caption and/or a summary. Why it is important because table captions and table summaries are considered as "metadata" which is populated based on institution and process definition, meaning that unstructured information turns into structured information that can be sorted, searchable, or referenced. More importantly, it can be read aloud to users using a screen reader to provide context and other helpful information to derive meaning from the table. You can now easily add a table caption or summary by selecting Tables > Table caption/summary. At the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to ensure content is findable, filterable, searchable, accessible and easy to display and ultimately consume. Although metadata is not typically displayed on the page it pulls the strings behind the scene to make content more visible.
Some customers had some issues with the platform’s media library. Since the new product upgrade has been driven by client feedback, partner collaboration and by market demand, the vendor made enhancements in that area too. Speaking of listening to their audience, the vendor also found out that 78.8% have no web-based personalization at all on their university/college website. As we all know by now, the first step to deliver consistent and personalized experiences is gathering the most relevant data in real-time. Therefore, TERMINALFOUR’s form builder feature continues to underpin the product’s emphasis on conversion. The latest version, however, has enhanced the ability to create forms (on websites powered by TERMINALFOUR or other platforms), to easily add links to forms and to improve form performance by enhancements on page analytics i.e. better data relating to form abandonment and submissions.
When we compare the current state of content management practices in higher education and how they underpin customer engagement and experience with other types of enterprises, it is unfortunate that leveraging digital content, technologies, and practices to interact with prospective and current students, who are the most tech-savvy and digitally sophisticated audiences, hasn’t been very successful. This situation is steadily improving though. Having content management systems exclusively focused on the higher education sector like TERMINALFOUR in the market is also helping universities and colleges mitigate the impediments to improve their digital competitiveness. It also feels like these solutions are underutilized because many content creators in institutions are tasked with pushing content to inform their audience and mostly they are under-resourced thus they fail at unlocking the potential of these systems and digital storytelling.