5 ways to speed up digital transformation in higher education

Students seated outside their campus.

We’ve been hearing – and talking – a lot about digital transformation in the education space. In order to enable true and full transformation, institutions are looking at upgrading key campus administrative systems: the heart of their operations and central to the student experience.

Why modernize your administrative systems? You do it to address the pressures you are facing today: the development of nontraditional academic models, increased competition for students, declining budgets and the difficulties of increasing tuition fees. Universities and colleges have been underinvesting in foundational systems for years, but the good news is that now is the time to leapfrog other industries to become champions for innovation and support the economies of the future.

From embedded CRM to virtual personal assistants for students, digital transformation enables institutions to better serve their constituents. Below are five ways you can speed up transformation at your institution.

1. Improve student success and retention with predictive analytics

Predictive analytics help you determine which students are most at risk of dropping out. They can support retention strategies and degree completion. They also improve operational efficiency and identify opportunities for growth.

2. Tap into AI capabilities in enterprise resource planning or student information system applications

Intelligent capabilities, such as digital assistants, can transform your environment. The steps of applying to college, arriving on campus, declaring a major, signing up for courses and eventually graduating, can all be streamlined by bots that help students navigate their journeys. Through a natural language user interface, these personal assistants simplify campus life for students. Faculty and staff can use digital assistants to automate manual tasks, freeing up time for high-value work that fosters student success and helps your school achieve its strategic goals.

3. Manage the entire student lifecycle

Traditionally, institutions have used CRM for the bookends of the student lifecycle: admissions and advancement. But higher levels of service via digital engagement with students throughout their entire educational journey means a better experience and higher likelihood of success. A 360-degree view of students through registration, academic advising, student billing and continuing education shifts you from an institution-centric mindset to a student-centric one.

4. Support nontraditional programs

Catering to nontraditional learners with part-time, continuing-education, competency-based, online/distance-learning, or workforce development programs is a key growth factor for almost all institutions. Ensure your student information system (SIS) can serve your institution and your students with integrated capabilities for managing all types of learners.

5. Fully leverage mobile across the institution

Mobile is no longer a requirement for students only. Administrative users of ERP and SIS systems also need the freedom to work on the go with a consumer-grade experience.

Unit4 applications are built on Microsoft technology to support higher education institutions in transforming quickly and effectively. Unit4 Student Management and Unit4 Business World On!are hosted on Microsoft Azure, and the solutions embed Microsoft technologies such as Cortana analytics, machine learning and Bot Framework to make them intelligent and self-driving. For institutions using Microsoft Office 365, Unit4 integrations allow a seamless end-user experience.

For more information, contact robin.schaffer@unit4.com.