Credential Management System (CMS)

Last Updated 11/20/2023

Credential Management System (CMS) is a broad term that refers to the software used for issuing and managing credentials. Governments and other enterprises employ CMS software to issue and manage credentials using an array of devices, including laptop computers, smart cards, smartphones, and USB keys. (Wikipedia)

In the higher education and third-party credentialing arena, the term is commonly used to refer to integrated Credential Management Systems (Credential As You Go, Playbook on Technology-Integrated Credential Management). Integrated CMS use a comprehensive solution for managing a variety of credentials. The system streamlines the entire life cycle of credentialing—from a credential’s proposal and development to its issuance and verification. CMS operations typically include: conducting academic program reviews and documenting approvals; creating catalogs and marketing materials; processing learner applications; managing scheduling and enrollment; handling finances/billing; tracking individual learners’ progress; providing counseling/advising; conducting audits; issuing credentials; managing learner transcripts; facilitating graduation communications; and generating internal and external reports.

To support these operations, many credential providers rely on a variety of IT systems and applications. By leveraging systems effectively and ensuring their seamless integration, entities can streamline credential management processes, enhance data accuracy, and improve overall operational efficiency. The most commonly used systems and applications include:

  • Student Information Systems (SIS): Platforms used to store and manage learner data, including enrollment, academic records, and personal information.
  • Learning Management Systems (LMS): Platforms that facilitate online learning and course management, enabling institutions to deliver educational content, track learner progress, and assess performance.
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems: Systems that help credential providers manage interactions with current and prospective learners and other stakeholders, including tracking communication, managing inquiries, and supporting enrollment processes.
  • Document Management Systems: Systems that provide a centralized repository for storing and organizing credential-related documents such as transcripts, certificates, and other supporting materials.
  • Financial Management Systems: Systems that handle financial transactions related to credential offerings, including billing, payment processing, and financial reporting.
  • Human Resources Management Systems (HRMS): Platforms that support employee management, including credential-related roles such as faculty and administrative staff.
  • Reporting and Analytics Tools: Tools that enable credential providers to generate insights from credential data, track performance, and make informed decisions.
  • Collaboration and Content Management System (CMS) tools: Tools that facilitate communication among stakeholders involved in the credentialing process, including websites, resources, email, messaging platforms, and project management software.

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