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Top 5 Benefits of Workflow Automation in Higher Education

August 31, 2021

The higher education industry has grown more competitive in recent years, and 86% of higher ed leaders expect competition to further intensify. 

Not only do institutions need to control their costs and improve operational efficiency, but they must also deliver an outstanding student experience to increase enrollment and retention.

Yet, archaic processes and paper-heavy administrative workflows make navigating the complex interactions among multiple individuals and departments slow and cumbersome.

Nearly 20% of students who left college before graduation have completed over 75% of their program requirements. Many cited the perceived lack of student support, such as slow responses to requests and questions, as the reason for discontinuing their enrollment.

Workflow automation is the key to replacing tedious, time-consuming, and error-prone manual processes so higher ed institutions can improve their cost-efficiencies and focus on delivering an outstanding learning experience to attract more students.

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Here are the top benefits of using higher education workflow software:

1. Increase Enrollment Rates

Workflow automation helps streamline the admission process. Prospective students can get the information and responses they need promptly to complete their applications and enrollment. Higher education workflow software allows you to:

  • Automatically respond to inquiries and send the most relevant information to prospective students immediately.
  • Segment applicants based on the programs they're interested in, geographic locations, or other attributes to deliver a personalized experience.
  • Build touchpoint reminders for prospective students into the application process to keep them engaged while communicating the highlights of your programs.
  • Streamline the application process by making it faster and easier for students to fill out forms and for the administration to make decisions.
  • Deliver quicker responses to applications, which helps increase the likelihood that students will enroll in your program.

2.  Improve Attendance and Retention Rates

Delivering an optimal learning experience and meeting student expectations is key to boosting attendance. This, in turn, will help you provide the most value to students and increase your retention rates. Workflow automation can help you:

  • Track the interactions of each student with your institution’s forms to analyze potential issues or problematic behaviors, and take the appropriate actions.
  • Follow up with students who may be experiencing challenges that are keeping them away from classes to ensure that they get the assistance they need.
  • Leverage segmentation strategies and email automation to send students the most timely and relevant updates.
  • Facilitate the course evaluation process so student feedback can be handled and addressed promptly to improve the learning experience.

3. Streamline Facility Maintenance

Maintenance requests, which often require approval from multiple departments, can make the upkeep of physical infrastructure slow and cumbersome. Yet, poorly maintained facilities impact the student experience, while paper-laden processes reduce employee productivity. You can leverage workflow automation to:

  • Eliminate bottlenecks in the approval process and ensure that requests don't fall through the cracks. 
  • Notify maintenance crews of issues immediately to prevent them from festering into costlier problems.
  • Allow students to report issues or submit maintenance requests, then notify them when the problems are resolved to improve student satisfaction.
  • Collect and analyze data to understand usage trends and identify areas for improvement that will make the most difference in the student experience. 
  • Enable administrators to track costs, make accurate budget forecasts, and allocate resources effectively.

4. Boost Administrative Cost-Efficiency

Higher ed institutions have to coordinate numerous departments and manage many employees. Processing paper forms manually is tedious, time-consuming, and error-prone. Not to mention, it takes employees' time and attention away from strategic initiatives. Higher education workflow software can help you:

  • Eliminate errors caused by manually entering data from paper forms or transferring information from one system to another.
  • Ensure timely processing of timesheets, time-off requests, payrolls, etc., for a satisfactory employee experience.
  • Improve productivity of the administrative staff so you can run a leaner team and reduce overhead costs.
  • Free up HR staff from chasing after the paperwork so they can focus on high-value activities, such as recruiting high-quality faculty.

5. Drive Marketing ROI

To reach prospective students and engage them throughout the application journey in today's digital world, you need to implement a seamless omnichannel marketing strategy. Workflow automation can help you manage all the moving parts cost-effectively to drive results:

  • Stay connected with other departments through automatic notifications, informing admissions or curriculum managers when campaigns are launching.
  • Set behavioral triggers to send the most relevant information (e.g., via an email drip campaign) based on a prospective student's previous interactions with your institution.
  • Enable marketing personalization to deliver the right content to the right people through the right channel and at the right time at scale to improve cost-efficiency.

Unlock Workflow Automation Success

Higher education institutions have unique needs and goals, and your workflow automation platform should be designed specifically to meet those requirements and support your overall digital transformation strategy.

To get the most of workflow automation, implement a cloud-based platform that offers an easy-to-use interface, seamless integration with your existing applications, robust reporting features, identity management functions, and customizable workflows.

Kuali Build enables non-technical department users to set up automated workflows in minutes without waiting for IT assistance. You can leverage the power of automation to improve staff productivity, operational cost-efficiency, and student experience without straining your tech resources.

Learn more about Kuali Build and get started today.

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