A university’s legacy is part of its appeal: we all expect a place of higher learning to have a timeless look, feel, and ethos. The prestige of many universities is intimately tied up with how long it has been around, and how well it has weathered changes from generation to generation.
But legacy systems of administration – the machinery that nobody sees – don’t age quite as well. And as more and more universities are discovering, the challenges of the present and future require forward-thinking solutions. Rapid expansion has outstripped the capabilities of outdated support systems, forcing many to rely on makeshift solutions, and partial adoption of automation. Thankfully, tech tools that have been designed to enhance business operations can also be used to radically improve the efficiency of university administration.
These tools also enable universities to become more student-centric, gaining a competitive edge in the process.
Here are steps that universities should all be adopting in order to thrive in the digital native world their future students already inhabit.
Spread the word: adopting social and marketing channels to enhance recruitment
People whose lives are shaped by digital experiences tend to be young – and they’re the natural audience for any university’s recruitment outreach. Attracting the students of the future calls for being present, accessible, and responsive in digital forums and social media platforms. That’s where prospective students are, and it’s where an increasing number of institutions are moving to capture valuable attention.
Providing an engaging experience before your students even become your students all but guarantees the success of the retention solutions you implement later on.
Clearing the runway: fast, simple application and enrolment
Enabling online form submission was once the cutting edge, but it isn’t anymore, especially for digital savvy prospective students actively comparing different institutions to find the right fit. An increasing number of universities are leveraging integrated Student Information Systems (SIS) to offer radically simplified application and enrolment journeys that can happen almost anywhere: social media platforms, messaging services, or other web-based applications. Automating this process reduces administrative load, reduces error and makes a positive first impression on prospects and applicants.
Going remote: embrace the “new normal” of blended and asynchronous learning
The campus – like so many other aspects of our lives – has gone digital. Campus management systems now need to integrate their students’ digital learning journeys, wherever they may be. Cloud solutions enable institutions to melt away physical distances by providing webinars and simulcasts to deliver content. Crucially, to create online learning solutions that don’t feel (and function) as a bolt-on to the “real thing”, universities need a way to integrate this experience fully into their broader systems. This is where cloud-based Student Information Systems come into their own.
Making the data talk: make sound decisions based on reliable and relevant data
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software has enabled large businesses to break the barriers that have always existed between different sources of business-critical data. Universities should avail themselves of this technology to turn all the interlocking sets of data they store into an actual resource. In addition to radically improving the efficiency and profitability of institutions themselves, this enables students themselves to access and engage with their own data, year on year, from application to graduation.
Maximizing the value of research: enhance project efficiency from initialization to closure
Research management is dogged by a range of inefficiencies that slow the pace of research and prevent efficient allocation of funding. A majority of researchers themselves report that their institutions use multiple research management systems through the research lifecycle. In order to keep pace with increasing competition for research, and ever-shifting compliance standards, universities must transition to solutions that can offer a single source of truth to track, monitor and manage research projects.
EDU365: transforming university administration for a digital future
EDU365 is a comprehensive Student Information System that empowers universities to accomplish these transformation goals, among many others. By leveraging Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Microsoft Higher Education Accelerator, this solution supports the entire student experience from admission to graduation and beyond.
With approximately 80% of universities still relying on outmoded legacy systems, those who adopt systems like EDU365 will gain a significant competitive edge. And institutions who are already using EDU365 are reaping the benefits of digital transformation.
To learn more about how EDU365 can move the dial on your Digital Transformation goals, get in touch. Our team is ready to answer your questions.