Does your campus admissions tour include your technology stack?

The campus tour – held by formidable and knowledgeable student tour guides – is incredibly important, well planned and designed to entice the prospective student and parent. Prospective students see residence halls and dining rooms, rec centers and state-of-the-art classrooms and labs. They tour stadiums, learn about activity options and meet the advising center staff.

Typically, they do not stop at the IT office and learn about all the technology used across campus. Why is that? Isn’t technology there to serve the student?

Isn’t it there to ensure you anticipate questions, provide answers faster and give the student a simple experience as they register for classes, quietly use their debit card, change majors, schedule appointments, engage with faculty, turn in assignments and learn what they need to know to change the world?

While you don’t list your technology during the campus tour, your students expect its presence through each aspect of campus life. Prospective students find campus Wi-Fi before their parents do. And a perfect-fit institution may one day form positive impressions allowing students to submit an assignment for class through the LMS on their smartphone while playing Frisbee in the quad.

Student success relies on technology – which means it’s relying on you

So many aspects of student success rely on the seamless operation of technology across campus. As IT leaders, you know it. You orchestrate the technology.

You secure, integrate, maintain and support it, handle emergencies, anticipate changes and back it up all with the goal of never being noticed (because you are only noticed if technology is unavailable or doesn’t work well). You fund it – which is turning out to be harder and harder – you influence and guide technology selections as best you can and you make the hard choices.

You have implemented technology around the student ID card to function like a passport within campus borders, allowing students to swipe their attendance at class or the rec center, access the residence hall and books in the library, go to the grocery store and attend movies and sporting events. What students don’t know is just how powerful that student ID is – that number randomly assigned to follow them on their college journey – and how you strategically use it to protect them, secure their data and act as the key to a seamless experience from CRM to SIS to Wi-Fi to portal.

When you tour campus with an eye towards technology, what do you see?

You tour your campus daily – just not necessarily following an articulate admissions rep. To see the real story, you probably observe student/staff interactions.

How manual is the work? How tedious? How many systems do staff interact with in an hour? Did the student really have to step into that office to begin with? How many are waiting in line and how many leave frustrated? What’s the turnaround time?

Your goal is to shift away from requiring a student to come to any office towards maximizing the interaction those few times when they do. The answer is not just technology. The answer is actually the best business processes that you can imagine – and those you can easily change that readily facilitate continuous improvement.

Technology supports this but it’s not the win in the end. Thinking outside the box and anticipating student needs and preventing serious problems are some of the winning elements to an IT organization.

Using technology to build better business processes across the campus

The thing is, students don’t care if your systems are on-premises or in the cloud or whether you have the option to change. But you do.

Students don’t mind if it takes three systems to store their data and define the strongest business processes for them or 3,000 systems. Or if your systems integrate to create a more seamless experience for staff and students. But you do.

They don’t worry if the data is secure for today and tomorrow – until it’s hacked. But you do.

They aren’t concerned if admissions docs, financial aid, transcripts, special disability needs, advising, grade changes, change of major, academic petitions, graduation exceptions and awarding degrees are processed manually or with technology – just that they are processed quickly and accurately. But you do.

Because underneath every successful course, every registration, every awarding period, every new student and every new hire to campus, in every library, lab and residence hall, there is technology bringing it all together.

Learn more at Educause – booth #101

Schedule a Hyland Campus Tour at #EDU17 in Booth #101 and let us show you how Hyland’s technology impacts the most important business processes on campus. Because our campus tour does include technology – the technology you have and how to make the most of it across the institution with better business processes.

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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