How universities can accelerate their digital transformations

Sep 28, 2022
Digital TransformationEducation and Training Software
Credit: getty

University leaders have long understood that the future is digital, but there’s now added urgency to modernise. The pandemic is in part the cause – highlighting that true business resilience and digital transformation are inseparable. But there are longer-term factors at play too, including the expectations of digitally native students and the requirement to provide them with work-ready skills. For these and other reasons, universities across Europe are looking to migrate to modern, cloud-based Student Information Systems (SIS) and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms to improve user experiences.

However, there remain significant barriers to the digital transformation of universities. For one, many institutions have expanded rapidly over the past two decades, while their supporting operations have developed more organically. Often this has led to the proliferation of operational workarounds rather than a cohesive operating model. This challenge is exacerbated by the complexity of existing CRM and SIS implementations and the usual budget challenges. Additionally, some universities don’t want to risk a wholesale digital transformation – there is simply too much at stake should something go wrong.

Fortunately, the concept of “composable” business presents universities with an opportunity to overcome these barriers. As Gartner defines it, a composable business “exploits the disruptions digital technology brings by making things modular – mixing and matching business functions to orchestrate the proper outcomes.” Composability enables organisations to structure and restructure to achieve results in face of disruption in a volatile world.

For universities, composability means considering SIS and CRM functions as part of holistic business capabilities, rather than simply IT applications. The focus is on all key elements needed to deliver a required capability, while facilitating overall governance. Doing so reduces complexity, breaks down data silos, and ultimately delivers a better user experience.

However, while composability de-risks and simplifies digital transformation, it can be challenging to achieve. The types of challenges faced by institutions include:

  • Complex requirements: implementation at universities can be complicated by the deeply ingrained legacy of universities (e.g., complex hierarchies, strong rules, and the need for accreditation).
  • Configuration-heavy systems: these can make updates and upgrades difficult.
  • University cultures: decision-making processes can make adapting at pace trickier.

It is for these reasons that working with an higher education expert brings significant benefits. For instance, Ellucian’s flexible, cloud-based student information systems (SIS) and CRM solutions  are designed to support the simplification and adaptability of technology architectures used by universities, enabling them to evolve at pace. Meanwhile, the Ellucian Experience solution provides universities with the opportunity to integrate their chosen digital services in one place quickly and easily.

Partnering with Ellucian also significantly reduces the time to complete a successful digital transformation. With our modern implementation approach, organisations are transitioned to a proven next generation cloud platform that delivers a modern student experience in just 12 months, which is more cost and time efficient than the industry standard 36 months. What’s more, Ellucian’s solutions are based on the industry leading Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud, which means that universities benefit from a global, scalable, highly secure, and innovative platform.

For more information on how Ellucian can help drive change in your organisation click here. And to learn more about how Ellucian’s cloud-based SIS and CRM solutions can support your success click here.