Vincent MartinezMay 10, 2022

Three Ways Higher Education Institutions Can Digitally Integrate to Better Compete

If there was ever a time to digitally transform higher education, it’s now. Digital dexterity has dramatically increased among users as a result of virtual learning, post-secondary alternatives are exploding as tuition costs climb, and enrollment issues persist as the student debt crisis grows — all sharpening competition for traditional colleges and universities. In a post-COVID world of higher education, institutions must focus on reinventing versus merely recovering to retain students and maintain fiscal continuity.

Here are three examples of how higher-ed institutions can digitally integrate to accelerate innovation and maintain a competitive edge.

  1. Streamline and enhance processes with automated, data-driven workflows.

Institutions can create data-driven workflows to automate routine tasks (with higher accuracy by minimizing manual errors) and boost efficiency, while also doing a better job of anticipating students’ needs and delivering more personalized experiences.

For example, a workflow can be configured so that anything less than a D that is entered into a college’s gradebook system triggers an automated notification to the advisor of the student who received that low grade. The advisor can then decide on the next best course of action, such as recommending tutoring or providing 1-1 mentorship. The use cases here are endless. Accounting departments can configure workflows to stay on top of tuition payments. Institutions can provide a personalized, guided admissions experience to fully support students during campus tours. They can also identify an attendance issue across the student’s entire course schedule which assists with student retention. A total experience platform has a visual drag-and-drop design approach for making it easier to bring the right resources, content, and context together across systems to configure these automated, data-driven workflows.  

  1. Provide more accessible, individualized support with proactive notifications.

Colleges and universities can deploy a cloud-based, AI-enabled service that is able to seamlessly send notifications across various channels including voice, SMS, and social messaging apps. This interoperable mass notification system can be used for scheduling appointments, conducting surveys, and for alerting students, faculty, and staff about active shooter or weather-related threats. In the example above, where the advisor has been notified of a student’s low grade, he or she could send the student a proactive SMS notification with resources for support, such as the following:

“Professor Smith here, hope all is well! I see in my gradebook system you have been receiving lower grades than normal. If you’re interested in extra help, click here for list of recommended tutors including their availability to schedule your first session.”

These types of workflow processes dramatically improve customer service and enhance the student journey. They are also prepackaged for quick and simple deployment, so there is typically no need for custom application development. Institutions can automate two-way interactions to save time and improve efficiency while delivering a personalized experience that keeps the student engaged (and enrolled!).

  1. Better engage with prospective students via social listening.

There are several factors that play into a student’s decision to attend a college or university. Institutions can get a better understanding of what those are, and start establishing relationships with prospective students right away, through social listening applications.

Let’s say someone posts a photo on Instagram of them touring your campus with a caption about your business program. Social listening apps can grab those insights and present them in an easy-to-understand way so you can immediately act. For example, you can send the person a text message or direct message on Instagram thanking them for touring with links to contact your admissions office or to learn more about your business program. It’s these small but strategically orchestrated efforts that put institutions a step above the competition.

Getting started

Success with digital integration and transformation lies in taking a holistic approach. There are many different stakeholders within your institution who have different perspectives and desired objectives. It’s crucial that you get all the right people in the room, from C-level executives to Administration and IT to actual users, including students and professors. From here, you can conduct a discovery workshop to get ideas flowing that eventually will turn into implementation phases. Avaya can help you develop a strategy that takes these various stakeholders into consideration, with the ability to design and implement an outcome-based approach.

See how Avaya is helping transform higher education.

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Three Ways Higher Education Institutions Can Digitally Integrate to Better Compete

Vincent Martinez

Vincent Martinez brings 25 years of experience working in information technology to the role of Executive Government Advisor at Avaya. He has a unique combination of working as a state government executive, a small-business owner, a sales leader in the technology sector, and serving as a state legislator.

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