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Intelligent Process Automation for the Smart Campus of Tomorrow

Higher education has turned into a technology-driven industry. The pressures of digital transformation coupled with global competition and digitally native customers have left the industry with a do or die decision – disrupt or be disrupted.

A 2017 Gartner survey of 3,160 CIOs across 98 countries, including 247 higher education CIOs, found that, “59 percent of higher education CIOs expect significant business model change due to digital transformation.”

Moreover, higher education CIOs listed digital business/digital transformation as their fifth most strategic business priority behind enrolment, student success, growth/market share, and retention.

This is where the Smart Campus by Ignia can help. The Smart Campus is an end-to-end digital experience for students and staff that provides a holistic solution for the higher education sector. The complete digital experience links all aspects of university life for students, staff, and the wider community. Smart campuses take advantage of mobile devices, cloud-based technology, AI and powerful analytics to improve the day-to-day operations of universities, make them competitive in a global market, and drive their bottom line.

Institutions are rapidly moving towards smart campuses, as evidenced by initiatives launched by establishments such as the University of Western Australia, who are evolving with a fast-moving technology landscape.

Below, we discuss the two main functions of a higher education institution that smart campuses should address – staff operations and the student experience.

Staff Operations

It the whitepaper “Automating Education: Workflow automation’s impact in universities” Nintex identifies seven departments that can benefit from workflow automation, including processes for administration, library and information, human resource management, public relations and marketing, student welfare and support, financial management, and health and safety.

For example, University College utilized process automation to transform its paper-based payroll and expense reporting processes so that it is centralized and streamlined. The automated solution resulted in significant time and administrative costs savings, as well as overall improved data quality.

Smart campuses include Connected Workplace solutions to empower educators and operational staff with the automation and digital tools needed to drive productivity and agility.

Student Experience

A smart campus should implement modern technologies in order to improve the student experience. This can include anything from AI-powered presentation translators, which help foreign students hear lectures in their own native language, to the automated and predictive student applications to make the process more seamless for potential students.

Higher education institutions need to actively engage with their students. A successful smart campus solution will improve recruitment and the retention existing students.

Connected Campus 

A smart campus should also leverage Internet of Things (IoT) technology. The applications of IoT in the university setting are almost endless. Universities are actively seeking advice on how to develop the IoT strategies to move to the connected campus of the future.

A connected campus includes buildings which constantly adjust living conditions (light, temperature, air quality, etc.) to optimize for studying and operational cost savings. Student could also use smart NFC chips to automatically register their attendance for class or to book a study room, freeing university staff to focus on higher value work.

Embracing Smart Campuses

Envisioning a new way of doing things is the challenge for many universities. IoT and smart campuses provide new, innovative ways of operating and generate the potential for new business models in education.

Educators and university administrators who have been operating a certain way for a number of years may struggle with the change in technology, but any organization, including universities, have to embrace innovation or face becoming obsolete.

Interested in Learning More About Smart Campuses?

Join Nintex and Ignia for our breakfast briefing “Creating a Campus for the Future” on Thursday, May 31. We’ll discuss how higher education organizations can leverage new technology to build the smart campuses of tomorrow, today. The event will feature speakers from the University of Western Australia, Ignia and Nintex. Learn more and register here.

 

 

David Goad

David has over 25 years of industry experience, having held senior leadership roles with recognized IT brands such as KPMG Consulting, Microsoft, and Hitachi Solutions. Currently, he is Head of IoT Strategy at Ignia, an Insight Company and a post-graduate fellow at Sydney University.