Creating an Agile Digital Campus at EDUCAUSE 2013
It’s time for our annual EDUCAUSE (#EDU13) conference! Soon we’ll assemble in Anaheim (or online) to watch some of the brightest minds in higher education engage in deep discussions with their peers and vendors as they figure out how to strategically move their respective institutions forward.
Facing complex technology during a time that demands agility is not an easy place to be for organizations that often pride themselves on their traditions. As it turns out, our CIOs must be as savvy technologically as they are politically. They must provide leadership and accountability on campus as higher education reinvents itself for the next decade: flipping “traditional” classrooms to support expanded programs to reach students using every conceivable technology – on a budget that sees such minimal increases year-over-year that it’s almost ridiculous.
I see what keeps these CIOs up at night and naturally I’m looking for ways that OnBase can help them get a good night’s sleep. A quick review of the EDUCAUSE Top 10 IT Issues leaves me confident that implementing a robust ECM solution is just what institutions need as a next step.
The number 2 issue on the list addresses leveraging technology to improve student outcomes. I’m glad that it’s second on the CIO list because it has such a huge domino effect on campus. Admit faster, award financial aid faster, determine equivalencies faster and you will increase your yield rate, improve academic advising and retention, and move students through to a degree faster. Faster admissions decisions and faster transcript articulation are good examples of the impact OnBase has on student outcomes. OnBase clients can potentially lessen the number of add/drops and have a better understanding of how many course sections they need.
Number nine on the list looks at transforming business processes with information technology. Now we’re talking! Working smarter, not harder, OnBase clients evaluate their business processes and introduce automation and technology to increase efficiency. The most important aspect of business processes is making sure they utilize people on campus in the most strategic way possible. I often say, “Transcripts don’t need human attention. Students do.” Think about the time that it takes your staff to manually sort through transcripts and key the data into your system of record before making copies of those transcripts to send around campus. What if you could redirect all of that staff time to student service? That could be truly transformational.
Now, whether your ERP is two years old or 25 (or even still in development), it serves as the system of record on campus and it’s vital to day-to-day operations. OnBase leverages your ERP, extending the value of this significant investment.
Here’s an example: OnBase seamlessly pulls relevant data from your ERP to create electronic forms for grade changes or academic program changes. Once those forms are complete, OnBase then writes the information back to the ERP. It also sends the information through a series of smart business processes to note what approvals are required, sending notifications and putting email reminders in place. Auditing reports show who approved it and when.
OnBase also protects your system of record, updating the admissions or employee checklist when vital documents are received. OnBase even enhances access to your ERP by allowing users to have the strategic documents they need at their fingertips available while working within their familiar PeopleSoft, Banner, Colleague or Jenzabar (to name a few) systems.
The Campus Computing Project’s latest survey will be released at EDUCAUSE 2013. In mid-September, Casey Green of the Campus Computing Survey was the featured speaker at our CIO Executive Forum for OnBase clients. He said something that had everyone in the room nodding: Technology is a metaphor for change. CIOs must lead strategic change on their respective campuses while navigating the need for ongoing technology support every time an IT project is crossed off the list.
I don’t have all the answers, but I believe that aggressively eliminating paper, manual forms and manual data entry to create a true digital campus is key. It leaves us with a secure, agile institution ready to meet the challenges of the next decade.
If we can do that, we can all sleep better at night.
See you in Anaheim!