Many higher education institutions are now embracing digital transformation to maintain a competitive edge. Why? Because today’s students have an immense amount of learning options to choose from and institutions need to become more flexible, affordable and accessible to meet increasing consumer and environmental pressures.

Digital transformation offers institutions exciting possibilities and opportunities to enhance their teaching and learning and the ability to effectively manage their operations – all of which are key to better serving students. Despite this, many colleges and universities still aren’t digitizing, or are falling short in their attempts, which is causing their technology spending to rise, with little return on their investments.

This is partly because there are misconceptions about what digital transformation is and how to do it. In this article, we’ll help you better understand what digital transformation in higher education is and examples of how your institution can successfully embrace it.

What is digital transformation in higher ed?

To invest in digital transformation initiatives that produce tangible benefits on strategic, operational and financial goals, it’s helpful to first establish a working definition. Digital transformation in higher education refers to an organizational change realized by means of digital technologies and business models with the aim to improve an institution’s operational performance. In other words, it’s the transformation of entire business model through digital technologies to better serve customers and streamline business operations.

Examples of digital transformations in higher education include:

  • Using more digital channels and tools like websites, social media, chatbots and email marketing to recruit and retain students
  • Collecting, connecting and activating data from across campus to inform decisions
  • Enabling students to complete tasks such as class registration, transcript requests and financial aid requests on their own through self-service capabilities
  • Automating cross-departmental workflows to complete tasks faster and more accurately

5 articles on how to effectively redesign the campus experience through a digital lens

The examples listed above are just a small sample of opportunities a digital-first approach to campus operations and student experience offers higher education. See tips below for how your school can successfully plan for and realize the benefits of digital transformation to meet mounting revenue, pedagogical and operational challenges.

1. How Higher Education Can Overcome Barriers to Digital Transformation

As colleges and universities invest in digital transformation, they must overcome four barriers and move through four key stages to succeed. Read More

2. Technology Requirements for Digital Transformation in Higher Ed

Institutions that prioritize technology and elevate their IT department’s role as a strategic partner within the institutional ecosystem will be best positioned for long-term sustainability. See key considerations for the tech requirements and initiatives that drive effective digital transformation in higher education. Read More

3. What Are Shared Services in Higher Education?

Much of the technology needed to support, run, manage and drive an institution is the same. Why does that matter? Because many colleges are needlessly spending money and resources to own and manage their core technologies and infrastructure. Consortial/shared services offer a cost-effective solution to quicker digital transformation. Read More

4. 9 Steps to Implementing an IT Strategy That Enables Digital Transformation at Your College

Now is the time to proactively embrace technology’s role in helping your institution refocus on its academic mission by alleviating administrative burdens and delivering a supported and robust technology experience to students, faculty and staff. See guidelines for implementing a proactive IT strategy that will help your institution achieve digital transformation. Read More

5. Making Higher Ed’s Back Office More Efficient and Student-Centric: A Guide to Process Automation

By automating manual, repetitive tasks, colleges and universities can reallocate staff and faculty talent into more meaningful activities, deliver faster student experiences and even lower operating costs. Learn more about what process automation is and how to determine opportunities for reducing workflow inefficiencies. Read More

Are you ready for digital transformation’s technological, operational and strategic changes?

Higher education is no longer immune from students’ high expectations and preferences for digital service. Most other industries interact with consumers digitally, and students now bring those expectations of simplicity, personalization, self-service, automation, and customer service with them to their educational experience. To thrive in the future, institutions must embrace and accelerate the process of digital transformation to optimize operations and lower operating costs, improve student experiences, and expand their reach.

If your college or university lacks the IT resources, governance or expertise necessary to support your digital transformation journey, Collegis Education can help. Talk to us about how our services can help you stabilize, standardize, optimize and transform your technology systems and operations to deliver near-term results and long-term growth.

Author: Elise Povejsil

Elise Povejsil is a former marketing manager (content and communications) for Collegis Education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Conflict Studies from DePauw University.