Putting the student experience puzzle together

In a continuously evolving higher-education landscape, institutions need to differentiate themselves by leveraging new digital capabilities to remain competitive and relevant.

Today’s tech-savvy students expect the services and facilities provided by institutions to be on par with the level of accessibility, connectivity and interactions available on social media. Meanwhile, technology plays a crucial role in institutions becoming operationally efficient, while also delivering the superior service students seek.

Think about your institution as one big puzzle and each department as an integral part of it. Technology has the power to impact every single facet of the institution, whether directly or indirectly.

With the right tech solution, all the puzzle pieces fit together, enabling the effectiveness and efficiency of your institution to increase exponentially. This, in turn, meets the digital expectations of students and ultimately impacts student retention and success rates.

What does operational efficiency look like?

While most higher-education institutions are focusing on ways to improve their operational efficiency, many have trouble visualizing what efficiency really looks like or how deep an impact digital technology has on it.

So, what does operational efficiency actually look like?

Since the advent of the digital revolution, the ways we access, store and share information with one another – and those outside our institutions – have changed substantially. Today, leveraging the right technology goes a long way toward making your internal operations more efficient, while serving your students better.

Technology can become the ‘wings’ that will allow the educational world to fly farther and faster than ever before — if we will allow it.

Jenny Arledge, director of college and career readiness, Sulphur Springs High School, Texas

A holistic tech platform like content services enables your institution to transition into a paperless office that allows faster and easier access to information and processes. Such solutions also improve information security, facilitate transparency and provide easy navigation, not only for your staff and faculty, but also for students.

But more than anything, it frees time for your staff and faculty. Instead of searching for information, a content services solution empowers them to quickly find that information, so they can focus on being strategic and responsive to students. This reinforces the importance of using technology to improve the student experience — via digitized content, automated processes and integrated systems.

From another perspective, with digital technology connecting the large volumes of data, your staff and faculty get to work directly with real-time information, empowering quality interactions with students or aiding their decision-making processes.

How are you using data today?

Every institution deals with a deluge of data in the form of incoming documents and information across the campus.

For instance:

  • Your ERP system contains enrollments, profiles, staffing and financial documents, among others.
  • The student information system (SIS) involves data about student course registrations, grading, transcripts, assessment scores, attendance records and other student-related data.
  • The customer relationship management (CRM) system keeps track of communication style and interaction channels with various audiences.

All these systems that are available across departments hold a piece of the puzzle that could help you identify opportunities to improve operational efficiency. The importance of all the data your institution collects, and your ability to analyze this data, will enable you to identify places where you can intervene to make the most difference.

A smart technology solution provides predictive analytics capabilities that allow you to make data-informed decisions on vital issues – like how to reduce student dropouts, or how to personalize interactions, which ultimately drives student retention.

This begs a series of gut-check questions:

  • How are you using this data?
  • Is the system you currently have recording data in an accurate and consistent manner?
  • Do you make decisions based on analyzed data?

So, if you are on the quest for operational efficiency, answering these questions will provide a better frame on where to begin. If you have not already started, now is the time to undergo a digital transformation and start leveraging your data with the right kind of tech solution.

Where do efficiency opportunities exist?

For your institution to survive in the current digital world, you need to embrace new technologies and capabilities quickly and effectively. A robust content services solution provides your institution with a range of intuitive products and creative capabilities that are secure, easy to configure and integrate seamlessly with your core systems, all on a single platform.

You can roll out an innovative solution like this across various departments – namely admissions, financial aid, student affairs and the registrar’s office, as well as multiple departments and administrative functions. The use of technology to refine processes and enhance collaboration across the campus not only creates a superior environment and experience for students and staff — but a puzzle-perfect institution.

For more specifics on how higher education institutions can leverage tech solutions, download our ebook, Unlocking the value of content: A strategic guide to campus transformation.

Michele Allen is Hyland's global program manager for government and higher education.
Michele Allen

Michele Allen

Michele Allen is Hyland’s global program manager for government and higher education.

... read more about: Michele Allen