It’s no secret higher education in the US is facing a rapidly changing landscape and new challenges. The move to remote learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated a trend toward online and distance learning, while mounting student debt has led some to question the value of a university education.
To offset these challenges, it’s become critical for universities to find new ways to engage and create value for their students; streamline their operations; and rapidly respond to new opportunities and challenges.
The most forward-thinking higher education institutions now recognize that fragmented technology systems are preventing them from achieving their biggest strategic goals and are increasingly looking to best-in-class integration and automation platforms to help them evolve.
Here’s how a platform like iPaaS (integration platform as a service) can help such institutions achieve their most impactful goals.
1. Student success, engagement and retention
Universities often use a large array of applications to reach out to students, provide learning support, offer career readiness programs and manage the end-to-end student experience at the university. An iPaaS solution can help by connecting these applications (imagine bringing together Banner, SalesForce, your LMS, data from your parking apps, advisor meetings and financial aid for a true view of the student). Create a cohesive experience for students, all while helping university staff develop a single view of their student data. For instance, university administrators can use iPaaS to seamlessly connect their SIS with their Learning Management System (LMS) and their Financial Aid systems, integrating their outreach and student lifecycle management with the delivery of top-tier learning solutions. Staff can also integrate the many departments with whom students interact across the course of their studies to provide a higher quality of service management outcomes for their students. A better student experience results in higher retention and graduation performance, making a direct impact on university rankings and revenue.
2. Streamlining operations
Modern higher education institutions are comprised of many different departments, institutes, alumni bodies and student groups, along with operational activities that span hundreds of applications and legacy systems. For example, a key task that many universities undertake is the hiring of their students as campus ambassadors, dining hall staff and research or teaching assistants. This process is extremely manual and prone to errors, as staff have to onboard the student to multiple applications and run scripts for the provisioning of accounts. This can lead to a bumpy experience. An iPaaS solution that is easy to use by non-technical users can help. With iPaaS you can instantly trigger an onboarding experience and save your staff members valuable time and effort.
3. Enabling state-of-the-art research and development
Universities advance the state of knowledge by conducting cutting-edge research funded by grants and donations. In an increasingly competitive world, with universities facing declining student enrollment, institutions must find new revenue channels through alumni relations and engagement; donor management; and brand/IP licensing. An iPaaS platform can transform the way universities approach this issue by helping them streamline their operations and develop insights in a changing landscape. For instance, universities can use iPaaS to manage their donors by connecting their CRM with online fundraising tools and finance apps. Development staff can free up a significant portion of their work week by automating manual tasks in order to spend more time on building strategies and relationships with their most supportive donors.
4. Hiring and retaining the best faculty, staff, and researchers
One of the most impactful ways a university can raise its national profile and rankings, thus attracting more students, is by hiring and retaining a world-class roster of faculty, researchers and staff. An integration and automation platform – like iPaaS – can help universities in streamlining their hiring operations, delivering a great experience to candidates and building a reputation of nurturing top talent, all while reducing the cost and headcount needed to staff their hiring processes.
If you want to learn more about iPaaS, check out the What is iPaaS? eBook from TeamDynamix.