If you work in higher education, you know that the pandemic hit higher education institutions particularly hard. Colleges and universities had to scramble to educate students in a virtual environment when in-person classes weren’t feasible. They also needed to move hastily to more online communications and interactions with applicants, students, and alumni.
As we emerge from the effects of the pandemic, higher education institutions have a choice: Go back to business as usual or continue the momentum of digital engagement.
Let’s consider three post-pandemic trends and what they mean for the future of digital engagement in higher education institutions:
The pandemic jump-started a period of rapid digital transformation. Today, as our world continues to change, higher education institutions can build on the momentum of their early pandemic digital transformation. By continuing to think, plan, and build digitally, higher education institutions can:
Here’s one example of taking digital transformation further: Most higher education institutions have huge amounts of data about potential students, applicants, students, and alumni. However, these data points exist in various places across the institution and as such are providing limited value to the campus. By integrating data from these multiple data sources (online, offline, direct, and third party) using a customer data platform (CDP), colleges and universities can connect data points to drive more sophisticated marketing and advancement analytics and techniques. For instance, with a robust collection of consolidated data points, you could identify segments of alumni and non-alumni who would be most interested in, and able to afford, a specific program for executive leadership. Or you could better pinpoint groups of alumni most likely to donate to a particular fund and launch a campaign targeted at them.
Another example: Many higher ed processes – such as enrollment applications and student onboarding – have multiple complex steps that can be dynamic, changing based on each students’ profile – such as program of study, degree plan, part-time/full-time status, and more. By automating manual steps in each process, you can improve the student experience and have more time to focus on more strategic value-added efforts.
Digital transformation can seem vague and overwhelming. However, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as it might seem. You can take an incremental and focused approach based on your institution’s goals and resources. The important thing is to not lose momentum.
Here at Heller Consulting, we keep a close eye on the trends that impact the technology needs of the organizations we serve. Here are some of our resources for higher education institutions to help you dive deeper into the next step in your digital transformation journey: