In recent years, digital transformation has been on the agenda for businesses across all industries and sectors, helping them to keep pace with technological change and adopt new, more efficient ways of working.
As universities look to cater to the needs of their students in the digital age, it’s essential they follow suit and begin to embark on their digital transformation journey.
I discussed the many reasons behind the need for universities to embrace digital transformation in the first blog in this series, but let’s look at this from another angle – why should higher education institutions invest in this process and how can they maximise these investments?
Why invest in digital transformation?
Many universities are currently operating with a number of different applications and systems which have long been in need of a refresh. The legacy systems often prevent data from being shared between applications, resulting in inefficient processes and a poor user experience for both staff members and students. Digital transformation offers an opportunity to improve efficiency, link up systems and provide a better experience.
Tight budgets coupled with the current climate mean higher education institutions need to be able to maximise any investments they make. In order to do this, universities should look to host workshops with both employees and students to identify the most important issues or problems they are facing – something that can also be done remotely! These should then form the main priorities for digital transformation, with each issue being looked at in turn, rather than trying to solve all the problems at once.
This slow and steady approach will allow these institutions to implement change efficiently, therefore, helping to release funds which will allow them to move on to the next department. This will also allow them to potentially run further workshops to gain valuable insight from end users to ensure each stage has been implemented effectively before moving on to the next priority.
Getting the most from digital transformation
One thing universities and other businesses undertaking digital transformation must be aware of is that unless they commit to the investments they are making, they won’t get the returns they are expecting. Giving the process the time and resources needed will provide long-term benefits. For instance, by modernising core services, systems and applications, universities can gain a competitive advantage in areas like recruitment and service delivery to students. This will also provide them with the tools needed to support academics in their teaching and research, and in time, could allow institutions to provide more comprehensive digital-driven or remote learning offerings.
Additionally, by implementing data platforms and systems it will be possible to better facilitate connectivity and collaboration across the institution, allowing different departments to share relevant information to make processes such as enrolment smoother for all involved.
However, perhaps more important than implementing the chosen technology, higher education institutions must realise that any digital transformation project will require a culture change in order to be truly successful. By helping staff members embrace a new digital way of doing things, universities will be able to optimise the use of the tools and systems they introduce and increase efficiency. This culture will then also filter down to students, highlighting that the organisation is digital-first and able to keep up with any changes in demand or pace of technology.
Ultimately, digital transformation can help universities become more agile, innovative and efficient organisations and enable them to increase the value they are providing to students. At InterSystems, we have the tools and expertise to help higher education institutions get the most from their digital transformation investments. Our cloud-first InterSystems IRIS® data platform helps universities to rapidly develop new applications and processes to be used across their network. We conduct business directly with institutions in line with their budgets and requirements to ensure the needs of each organisation are met. Discover how we can help on your digital transformation journey here.