Over the last decade, the business world has turned to digital transformation – or Dx – to revolutionize the way they operate. The business of higher education is no different, as many higher ed institutions look to maintain a competitive edge.
Few areas of campus stand to see more benefits than the business office, where Dx can streamline nearly every facet of operations – including how you interact with students and the level of service you provide them.
What is Dx? A Comprehensive Campus Transformation
EDUCAUSE defines Dx as “the process of optimizing an institution’s operations, strategic direction and value proposition.” Even pre-pandemic, many schools were taking steps in the direction of Dx as they looked for financial efficiencies while striving to recruit and retain students by delivering the experience they demand.
Because implementing DX requires restructuring, workforce shifts, policy changes and the evolution of processes fundamental to your organization, it demands an entire change of culture on campus and buy-in. But while there can be growing pains, your institution will ultimately reap the benefits of streamlined processes, more efficient communication and, – ultimately – a more attractive learning environment that better prepares students for the modern workforce.
Reducing Administrative Workloads
After a successful Dx implementation, departments, programs, IT services and other operational facets will no longer siloed and separate, but integrated and operating as a whole. This allows the business office to automate previously labor-intensive tasks, freeing staff to focus on their student customers’ needs.
Emerging technologies can take automation even further. For example, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) can ask students questions to make sure their call is routed to the right place (for example, the business office rather than the financial aid office.)
Anticipating Problems and Finding Proactive Solutions
With a student’s entire financial footprint just a few clicks away, business office staff can solve issues early – before they risk a student’s academic future. When students interact with the business office for any reason, staff can quickly check their records and offer help for any issues.
By applying analytics to all the data available after a digital transformation, institutions can also be more proactive about retaining students. Staff can cross-reference past-due balances with other factors like academic performance and extracurricular involvement to create financial aid packages that keep at-risk students on campus.
Reaching Students on Their Terms
The smart application of technology can reshape the way students see the business office, making it a less intimidating and more Since most students prefer to avoid phone calls together, and many may have anxiety about having a frank discussion about finances, Dx can add live chat features to your website or allow you to offering support over text and social media channels.
With digital payment processing options, students waiting for financial aid or work study checks can receive the cash far more quickly than if they were waiting on the mail – and the payments are far more likely to successfully reach this transient population.