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4 Key Challenges of Digital Transformation for Higher Ed

June 14, 2021

Colleges and universities all over the globe seek to increase profitability, provide a better student experience, and boost agility in an ever-changing world. Digital transformation allows them to do just that. Institutions that embrace digital transformation early on gain a competitive edge and will be well poised to thrive in the future.

Despite the obvious benefits of digital transformation for higher education, many organizations are slow to make the shift. In fact, just 13% of institutions today have a digital transformation initiative in the works.

Clearly, there are certain challenges that have stalled many colleges and universities on their path to digital transformation. So what are those challenges, and how can they be overcome?

Check out our guide to learn more about the issues surrounding automation and digital transformation for higher education, along with suggestions on resolving those issues and enjoying the full benefits of technology today.

1. A Cultural Shift

One of the biggest challenges higher institutions face when it comes to digital transformation is the cultural changes that come along with the shift to digital technologies. Staff members will need to change behaviors in order to adapt, and this change often comes with some resistance.

Fortunately, workflow automation is one of the best ways to face these barriers, helping administrators and staff members see the advantages of digital transformation. Once these new workflows are in place, your employees will enjoy the benefits of more time and resources to dedicate to important aspects of their job.

In order for this shift to go smoothly, organizations should have open communication with employees, set clear objectives, and carefully plan the timing of the transfer to workflow automation.

Gamification is another winning strategy to help both students and staff adapt to new technology. By using game-based mechanics to engage and motivate, institutions will have a much easier time teaching and problem-solving during the digital transformation process.

2. Lack of Strategy

Digital transformation is somewhat of a buzzword in the higher education realm today, and many institutions are eager to get in on the action. But a lack of forethought can cause problems when it comes time to implement the tools.

Thorough strategizing can help institutions avoid these issues. A tool may seem alluring on the surface, but does it meet the unique needs of your organization? What metrics will you use to measure the success of the tool? What are your top priorities, and how will digital transformation serve those needs?

Make sure you’ve defined your markers for success before you dive into the digital transformation process. Having a well-planned strategy will keep you on target and set you up to achieve your goals.

3. Outdated Technology Infrastructure

Many higher education institutions rely on outdated, clunky technology that can be difficult to integrate with new IT infrastructures. Those tasked with digital transformation may not have the power to upgrade outdated systems, since the switch can be costly and time-consuming.

Luckily, the best workflow automation software programs are designed with this challenge in mind. This software is easy to integrate—whether the institution is working from modern cloud software or older legacy systems.

4. Restraints in Organizational Structure

If your institution is like many others, you may struggle with maintaining the flow of communication between stakeholders, administrators, and other departments. The registrar’s office may have limited contact with the IT team or research department.

This lack of communication can cause major challenges for institutions in the process of digital transformation: data isn’t easy to access across departments, feedback is minimal, workflows are inefficient, and progress is stalled.

These problems can be greatly alleviated by designing more agile, efficient workflow systems that work across departments. Again, workflow automation software can help with this challenge, providing new systems that make it easier for the college or university to adapt, communicate, and resolve issues as they arise.

Start Your Digital Transformation Today with Kuali

Starting the process of digital transformation for higher education may feel like a big undertaking, but Kuali can help you simplify the process.

We build software specifically designed for higher education institutions like yours, ranging from private colleges to small liberal arts schools. Our business continuity software and workflow automation software will give you the competitive advantage you need to stay relevant and profitable in a digital age.

Learn more about how to kick-start your digital transformation plan today by checking out our ebook Higher Education’s Guide to Digital Transformation.

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