A deliberate legacy for 2018

Do you remember how we started 2017 with the loss of some major Hollywood and music stars? People kept talking about what a terrible year 2017 was.

Soon, I would agree with them. I would face the news that a friend from my childhood was losing her fight with cancer and by early July, I would be at her funeral. She was a mother of three young children, married, and bravely fought her cancer to the end. In the past three months, three of my close friends have lost their mothers. Events like this cause you to look at the legacy people leave and, in my case, caused me to ask myself what my legacy will be in the eyes of those around me.

That’s the personal side.

What new traditions will you bring to Higher Ed?

On the professional side, let’s plan for 2018 with the goal of leaving a positive legacy on our campuses. In my case, that includes the Hyland “campus” and our expanded customer base. It’s my job, for example, to keep my eyes on trends in higher education and ask what we need to anticipate in higher education.

What will matter most in 2018? How do we make a difference? How do we show real improvement?

There’s no better time to be deliberate about the legacy of your role in higher ed – no matter what it is. We all need to work together given the challenges we are facing. We have to be wildly creative. We have to be innovative.

And, we have to let go of old traditions. Our students continue to be non-traditional. They’re bringing more devices to campus, and demanding more of us in their complex situations.

2018’s new traditions

When I focus on 2018, I’m focusing on the following things to shape my legacy:

1. The highest transaction count activities across the student lifecycle.

Over the last two years, our clients have delivered presentations about business processes like change of major, course waivers, and transfer equivalencies that measure in the thousands at peak periods. In every case, they demonstrated how they were improving these processes by using OnBase higher education software.

Do you know, in your department, what are the highest count transactions that impact the student? What tasks students perform multiple times across their years on campus? What do they do every semester?

In 2018, I’m on a mission to find out and present my results.

2. The roles that interact with every single student.

If your department has to interact with every single student, there have to be things you can improve. In 2017, I studied Financial Aid Advisors with the impossible job of awarding aid and scholarships to ensure students can afford higher education. I shared what I learned in my blog post that talked about financial aid being the toughest job in higher ed.

But it doesn’t stop there. The Registrar’s office, Academic Advising, and countless other offices on campus face a requirement to interact with every single student every semester.

Are you meeting that goal? Can those interactions be more efficient? More productive? Better documented?

I’m on a mission to learn that as well.

3. Getting to know today’s CFO.

In 2017, I attended NACUBO and the blog post I didn’t have time to write is about how dramatically the role of CFO – at least the glimpses I’ve had into it – has changed over the years.

CFOs are rising admirably to the challenge. But it isn’t easy. They have to be: technology savvy; experts on finance, administration and compliance; people savvy; leaders with conviction who inspire those around them; open to mergers and acquisitions; and able to filter passionate presenters needs and wants to sort out what is really best for their institution.

That’s a lot. But it doesn’t end there. CFOs also have to foster relationships with the businesses and communities around them. They have to protect the bottom line. They have to say “No” to people when they really want to say yes.

Meanwhile, employees are counting on them to keep the institution thriving. Students are counting on them. In reality, I’m counting on them. I have this wonderful job because CFOs know they need to bring content services platforms to campus and digital transformation to the institution.

One of my goals is to take some CFOs out for coffee in 2018 and understand how we can serve them better.

4. Leveraging our Higher Education Advisory Board.

Back in 2016, we formed a group of CIO-level folks from institutions of every size and type. Their job was to be honest with us. To sharpen us. To hold us accountable as a vendor. To tell us what we can do better.

And boy did they do that in 2017. In an April meeting, talking about dual-factor authentication, they told us how critical it was to include it in our next release.

We responded by including it in OnBase 17. Because when our customers tell us they need something, and it makes sense for us to do it, we do it.

As we expand our vision as the leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Content Services Platforms, we’ll be turning to our board for accountability on what they need to see in the next six months – and in the next five years.

The list is long, but those are my highlights. While 2017 was challenging, I learned to cherish my friendships – both personal and professional – more than ever. We have a lot of work to do to support our CIOs, our advisors, and our students. To support each other.

But together, we’ll do it.

What are you focusing on in 2018 to leave a lasting legacy of positive change in higher ed? I’d love to hear!

Laurel Stiller

Laurel Stiller brings her passion for helping institutions strategically maximize their efficiency to Hyland as its marketing portfolio manager for Higher Education. A graduate of Miami University, Ohio, with more than 20 years of experience working to map proven solutions to higher education challenges, Laurel implemented ERP solutions at Dickinson College and University of Oregon Foundation before joining the sales and marketing team at Datatel, now Ellucian, Inc. Laurel offers a deep understanding of higher education, dedication to transparency and a fondness for candid conversations about the solutions Hyland develops and delivers to the market. You may reach her at Laurel.Stiller at onbase.com.

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