Three Ways Cloud Technology is Transforming Higher Education

There is a call for transformation across all higher education campuses. In a world where there's an app for everything, higher education institutions are facing internal and external pressures to leave legacy systems behind and embrace modern technology.  

So where does higher education transformation begin? The answer is in a unified cloud-based system.

With growing pressures to improve student outcomes and experiences, as well as meet requirements for performance-based funding, higher education is turning to the cloud to drive improvements and transformation. A unified cloud-based system provides the ability to use modern technologies that students expect, while also providing the data and transparency that supports the needs of both the institution and its leaders.

True transformation happens when cloud technology is leveraged to achieve a completely connected campus. A completely connected campus starts behind the scenes, uniting the core systems— Human Capital Management (HCM), Financial Management, and Student Information—that are the foundation for a successful student experience and thriving institution.

Below we highlight three ways a unified cloud-based system helps to transform higher education:

1. Builds the Foundation to Student and Institutional Success

As the demand for outcomes-based accountability grows and traditional revenue resources decline, higher education understands the importance of data-informed decision making for the institution. However, many higher education institutions still struggle to achieve efficiency in its operations due to data residing within multiple, disparate systems.

Unifying HCM, Financial Management, and Student Information systems provides a powerhouse of data for the institution. With cloud technology, higher education gains the ability to unify data in one place, increasing productivity, visibility, and reporting capabilities. More accurate data and transparency leads to better decision making.

For example, cloud technology helps to collect accurate data on course delivery and completion rates, allowing institutions to understand program effectiveness, measure student performance, and track what programs deliver financially. This improves the institution’s ability to gain crucial insights that help to build a strong foundation for student and institutional success.

2. Improves Student and Faculty Experiences

With multiple audiences to consider, higher education institutions need a solution that resonates with each stakeholder. Cloud technology addresses the unique needs of both student and faculty audiences that span multiple generations.

To help students reach graduation and successfully join the workforce, higher education needs to provide students the tools they need for a positive college experience. Most students are digital natives who are accustomed to using their mobile devices to do everything from checking a bank account to ordering a coffee, and they expect resources to be available at their fingertips.

Cloud technology meets this need by offering a mobile, self-service solution that delivers students a unified place to access all their information, including course schedules, graduation statuses, financial aid disbursements, and more. For student workers, cloud technology can consolidate both worker and student data, so the student can access pay stubs and other work-related information in one place.

When it comes to faculty and staff, higher education faces unique challenges with hiring, retaining, and engaging employees. Faculty and staff greatly impact the success of the student, so it’s important for institutions to keep employees engaged and turnover low. With a unified system, the institution can provide faculty and staff the tools to do their jobs, manage their tasks, grow professionally, and stay engaged.

More so, a unified system provides the institution the decision-making data to ensure that faculty and staff are engaged and enables visibility into employee retention rates. According to a report by the American Council on Education, increasing retention rates leads to institutional savings, in which the University of Iowa reports an average employee retention savings of more than $83,099 when employee engagement is increased.

3. Increases Transparency and Visibility

Having a completely connected campus in which the three core systems of HCM, Financial Management, and Student Information are tied together brings a strong story for board members and key stakeholders.

The need for transparency and a unified cloud-based system go together: cloud enables data gathering to understand ROI in terms of the impact of programs, both financially for the institution and for the academic life of the student. With accurate, combined data that measures financial and student outcomes, institutions can understand effectiveness at a granular level in terms of finance and student success.

More so, cloud enables ease of reporting, so data can be presented effectively and efficiently to address the reporting needs of varying audiences—board members, faculty, staff, students, graduates, and more. With visibility into data and analytics, institutions gain powerful insights that drive future decisions and institutional effectiveness.

Today’s cloud technology has the ability to transform higher education by enhancing student and faculty experiences, enabling decision-making with real-time data, increasing accountability and transparency.

If you are planning a technology deployment for your institution or looking to increase adoption of your current cloud technology, check out our recorded webinar on how to maximize your cloud investment with change management and training.

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