By John Kopcke, SVP & CTO, and Ellucian.
Higher education is facing an unparalleled level of change and challenge. Colleges and universities are under intense pressure to make education more affordable while being held accountable for measuring outcomes and improving student success rates. If this were not enough, they must meet these challenges in the face of falling enrollment, decreased funding, rising student expectations, and disruptive forces like edX and Coursera. More and more, we are seeing that higher education leaders recognize that the only way to navigate these challenges is through the strategic and innovative use of technology and data analytics. Specifically, we are seeing three major trends:
Reducing administrative costs and driving IT efficiency
Just as the insurance and banking industries realized the need to reduce administrative costs and streamline the customer experience, higher education institutions are looking for ways to automate routine processes, eliminate paperwork, and enable more self-service. One of our clients was able to process an additional 32,000 applications with no additional staff and free up hundreds of finance-related work hours by putting technology to work. These cost savings help reduce the rate of tuition growth and allow staff to focus more on educating students and less on bureaucracy.
In a world marked by shrinking budgets, IT departments need to free up the time and resources from core activities to drive these valuable new initiatives. Many forward-looking CIOs have found freed up capacity and resources by using standards and APIs to enable faster system integrations, and are pushing their software vendors to deploy more flexible and modern architectures. Recognizing this new reality, we have doubled our investment in modernizing our core student administration systems. And customers are starting to see the benefits. Our customers are deploying our mobile solution in hours using our new extensible architecture and pre-built APIs.In the past, this could have taken months.
And of course we are seeing more interest in cloud solutions and services. Today, institutions can host entire software systems in the cloud, as well as discrete services like the electronic sending and processing of transcripts. As a result, every one of Ellucian’s new solutions is built for cloud delivery. We are also seeing increased interest in managed