May 6, 2024

Embracing Technology to Modernise Higher Education

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With the types of technology available to automate and streamline processes, the integration of technology into higher educational institutions should no longer be viewed  as a choice, but a necessity.

The perceived cost might be what is hindering its uptake, but it is important to note that with the right technology and implementation partner, the benefits often far outweigh the costs in the long run.

There are a multitude of touch points where a single technology solution such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 can impact a university, Technikon or TVET campus

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Simplifying student registration

For many institutions, the registration process can be tedious and long-winded with reams of paperwork and room for error. Simplifying student registration using the right solution can decrease this duration from a matter of weeks, to one that takes a mere few hours. Streamlining this process also reduces the need to employ temporary staff, an added resource often needed to manually process the annual influx of applications and registrations every year.

Seamless communication

Enhanced Customer Engagement

In terms of communication between departments, a unified technology platform can enable real-time insights across finance, students, academics, human resources, campus access, accommodation and faculty to improve operational efficiency. In fact, a lack of integration between departments is often the primary motivator for institutions and organisations to begin their digital transformation.

Data-Driven Decision Making

Consistency and accuracy across the board

From a finance and operations perspective, all finance processes and expense management can be integrated into a single solution. This enables reconciliation across multiple systems, ensuring consistency and accuracy from all departments, with robust reporting and analytics capabilities able to track key performance indicators, monitor budgets and identify trends and anomalies.

Driving economic efficiency

Cost reduction is another welcome benefit of integrating digital tools. Reducing time and resources leads to cost savings on labour and operational expenses, with the costs associated with printing, storage, and distribution of documents also decreasing.Implementing a Microsoft solution can also lead to cost savings by reducing the need for multiple software licenses, maintenance fees, and integration costs associated with disparate systems.

Data integration for students not only enables real time access to their statements and financial records, but also access to their required course materials and academic resources, student support, schedules, campus facilities and services.

Enhanced security

Educational institutions face a multitude of security challenges, both internally and externally. From a physical access point of view, student profiles can be linked to biometric data for quick and convenient authentication to improve campus security.

Given the enhanced security capabilities when shifting from a traditional on-premises IT model to a cloud solution, an institution can also significantly improve its security score, better protecting sensitive financial data and ensure regulatory compliance and more effectively mitigate risks and safeguard against security breaches and data loss.

Increased access to education

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Something of particular relevance within the South African context is the ability of digital integration  to enable more students to access tertiary education. The ability to offer online courses and degree programmes allows students access from anywhere with an internet connection. This type of online learning facility also often means lower tuition fees, and a reduction of costs associated with commuting, housing, and campus amenities.

These are just some of the many examples of how higher education can be transformed through the use of technology that is ready and available in South Africa. In fact, this type of solution could benefit any educational facility where the registration of students and the operations of the organisation need to be integrated and automated, a move that will enable schools and centres of learning to thrive.

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