The PSC news-insights: entry

20/06/2022

How can Higher Education institutions set themselves up for success in digital transformation?

The PSC consultant Phillipa Geering shares top tips for how to ensure that students, staff and your organisation reap the full benefits of investment in digital transformation, using learning from her recent work with a major higher education institution.

As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, we’re at a critical juncture when it comes to the use of digital technologies in Higher Education (HE). Institutions know they need to transform – the expectations of tech-savvy Gen Zs are high and increasing, and the marketplace for education provision is ever-more competitive.

But at the same time, there is uncertainty over what this looks like – as we heard at our recent digital education event, the pandemic saw technology ‘quick fixes’ being met with mixed responses, resulting in confusion over exactly what students want.

So how can we ensure that future investment in digital transformation is indeed a success and that students, staff and the organisation reap the full benefits?

How can Higher Education institutions set themselves up for success in digital transformation?

Based on recent experience, here are some tips from us at The PSC:

Embed digital transformation into your organisational strategy

Digital transformation needs to be an integral part of your overall strategy rather than just a sidepiece. The first step is to identify the goals you are trying to achieve at an organisational level. The second is to work out how digital technology can support delivery of these.

Be clear on your priorities

You are unlikely to be able to do everything and serve everyone. Identify who your primary users are and which areas you will strive to build a USP in.

Assessing the digital maturity of different aspects of your organisation can be a useful exercise in informing your priorities. For example, during recent work with a leading HE institution, we used a maturity matrix to identify which areas the organisation could choose to be market-leading in in order to stand out against its competitors.

Example Maturity Matrix:

 

 

Don’t lose sight of the people you are trying to serve

Technology will only be adopted, and more importantly behaviours will only change, if the needs of users are addressed. Where are the current pain points in the journeys of students and staff? How do these vary for different types of students? What opportunities are there for digital technologies not only in the delivery of education but also more holistically throughout all aspects of a student’s university life?  Digital transformation is not about doing the same things we already do, but online – it is about using technology to enhance experiences and do new things we couldn’t have done otherwise

Pursue an agile and programmatic approach to delivery

All too often, a fragmented approach to digital transformation is taken within HE institutions. To ensure successful delivery, we recommend an organisational-wide programmatic approach, supported by the right capabilities. Put in place a governance structure that allows effective prioritisation, staged releasing of funding and cross-organisation communication – this will facilitate an iterative approach, allowing you to review progress and course correct as you go.

If you’re keen to discuss your digital transformation needs, we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch at hello@thepsc.co.uk. 

Author: Philippa Geering, The PSC Strategy Team 

 

 

 

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