7 Things to Know About Automation in Higher Education
As the world continues to adopt new technologies in every sector, higher education is faced with an enormous amount of pressure to adapt and remain competitive. The technological investments by higher education institutes are showing a steady positive trend each year. The threat of competition from EdTech, alternative education companies, and increasing student demands are causing many colleges to embrace technology within their internal processes.
In the last three-decade, colleges became technology-centric. Today, the focus has shifted to a new paradigm: Colleges are moving toward becoming process-centric. Rather than merely investing in the latest technology in and out of the classroom, universities recognize the need to transform how their institutions engage and complete work digitally. Workflow automation that helps improve internal processes is the answer to the pain points heard in many higher education institutions.
- Acceptance for transformation is a must
“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” These are the words of tech giant Bill Gates. In higher education, mistakes or hold-ups during processes can create havoc; it can become costly and disastrous to the student — especially in Fee Departments, Examination, Results, and Admissions. A higher-ed automation platform such as Education ERP can only bring process enhancement if the workflow is clearly defined, and staff members are ready to accept the technological change.
Automation holds the potential to accelerate a university’s / college’s communication, inter-departmental processes, cross-campus collaboration once above mentioned two factors are available. And education leaders of higher institutions play vital roles to make the transition happen. The staff and other stakeholders need to have confidence in the technology they are going to use in their day to day lives. That’s why the decision-makers/leaders must come forward to share how workflow automation can simplify their work, give them the luxury of time, and is fruitful for the growth of the institute.
2. Betterment of Millennials and Generation Z Education Journey
Poor student experience by the volumes can make or break a college’s enrollment rate and credibility in future applicants’ eyes. According to a study published in May 2018 by Civitas Learning indicates that “nearly one in five students who left higher educational institutions without a degree had completed at least 75 percent of their program requirements. Nearly 1 in 10 had completed at least 90 percent.” Among the significant reasons for these dropouts is a lack of student support, usually as students do not find the college helpful or slow to respond to manage their queries.
The leading cause of these problems is the lack of advanced management in higher education. The demands of millennials and Gen-Z students are changing, their environment is highly dynamic & fast, and they look for a system that can match their lifestyle.
There are proven studies that show that teachers can enhance students’ experience even by using technology in their work process. EdTech, such as ERP, AI, etc. automates tasks between teachers and students, brings real-time communication among them, and can support students 24X7 wherever-whenever. Colleges can use the automation to get a centralized system that is tech-driven & student-centric, and that will ultimately get better student retention.
3. A Shift from Manual Processes to Automated Management
Though colleges and universities are trying to implement technology at a basic level, yet if we look closer into the departments and their day-to-day operational activities, we find that the workflow processes being adopted by them don’t match technological advancements. The methods in many departments are still highly manual, and this massively impacts their operational efficiency. Critical document management processes are still handled manually by admins, faculty, and library services. This outdated workflow environment impacts prospective students and other stakeholders negatively.
Automation in university administration can make things easier for staff & students, but it shows the seriousness of management towards the betterment of students. Due to the least manual intervention, faster & flawless document management, on-time support & response; it enhances the institute’s reputation and represents a smart place for learning & teaching.
4. A smarter way to increase administrative cost-saving
The higher education market is a million-dollar industry and it’s expected to grow in the near future. Here comes the competition, struggle for administrative cost-savings, increasing return on investment (ROI). With paperwork, delayed responsive time, and manual intervention; higher education incurs direct & indirect costs. Moreover, the cost of Harvard, software, IT infrastructure, storage; also costs very high when compared to a tech-enabled organization.
Automation in higher education enables education leaders to save costs in all directions. ERP for higher education institutions reduce the cost of IT, stationery, data storage, communication, etc. It also allows staff to save time in admin processes that indirectly help to increase productivity and bring high ROI.
5. Improved Student Acquisition
The student recruitment or acquisition process involves a number of labor-intensive tasks. The staff has to go through individual application forms, evaluate and validate the documents, check their eligibility, shortlist candidates, etc. The admin staff might also find themselves loaded with multiple roles during admission seasons. Also, manually performing these tasks sometimes result in errors, delayed responses, depending on the size of work on that particular day and the available capacity.
Automation can help lessen this workload. With defined parameters for evaluating, it simplifies processes such as cross-checking application forms, checking the eligibility criteria, and shortlisting applicants. These features empower elastic scalability for staff. This automated process gives faster turn-around time compared to manual processes and helps save a significant amount of cost while ensuring process accuracy.
6. Pathway to 360-degree development of the institution
In an increasingly competitive higher-education ecosystem, changing student demographics, and pressure to innovate on academics and student experience — both public and private higher education institutions are seeing expenses not just to grow faster in revenue but in the overall academic experience. Simultaneously, expectations for students and parents for “premier service quality” continue to rise. These cost pressures and increased service expectations are encouraging HEIs for multi-faceted objectives.
Universities are implementing automation for a range of in-house processes, that allow them to develop advanced administrative operations while avoiding the disruptive and costly process of implementing an all-new core system.
Here are the benefits of educational institution automation:
- Near-zero data processing error
- Enhanced student and staff experience
- Reduction in man-hours
- Avoiding multiple administrative costs
- Improved job function and productivity of faculty and staff
7. High-level understanding of the future of HEI via an advanced reporting system
It would be injustice if we don’t mention the reporting management in higher education. The amount of paperwork for all the courses, various student programs, research, patents, faculty management, university infrastructure management, and whatnot. An education leader such as Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Registrar, etc., has to give a long decision-making process on a day to day basis. That sometimes goes sideways due to a lack of proper information.
Digitization of colleges and universities helps a lot in these reporting systems. Its understanding of data and analytics which gives a broader picture of the entire administration. With visualization of all day-in/ day-out entries in graphs & charts, assists in understanding what is wrong for the organization, what is working best for it, where to focus investment, where to direct faculty’s time, etc. This helps in making a data-informed decision and guides institute administration toward a better future.
Higher education institutions are ready for innovation, primarily on the internal process level. It’s important to put greater emphasis on improving collaboration between faculty staff and management to enhance the student & institution journey. Colleges & universities are moving ahead not just by having the latest tech but by becoming process-driven and problem-solution oriented to achieve the ultimate goal.