How important is it that the systems on your campus speak to each other?
The answer is that integrating systems and creating a connected campus can make a huge difference to every member of your college or university—faculty, staff, and students alike. When your disparate software systems—including your HRIS, SIS, and LMS—all communicate with each other, your institution breaks down tech and information silos, fosters innovation, enables a hybrid campus, and ultimately positively impacts student outcomes.
The connected, hybrid campus
The college campus is the center of higher education life—and that’s true whether the campus is a physical place or a digital environment of learning and teaching. Wherever your staff, faculty, and students are, and especially if they are unable to be on campus for any reason, they want to feel connected to each other and to your institutional culture. Ensuring that your technology systems work together is an important aspect of this feeling of connection and can boost the sense that your institutional culture isn’t limited to the bounds of your campus. How can you leverage integrations to build community for everyone?
The 2021 Changing Landscape of Education (CHLOE) report noted that post-COVID priorities for higher education have changed. Some of the new focuses for institutions include supporting online learning priorities and needs, increasing flexibility to meet student needs, and improved technical infrastructure.
Many institutions are also putting an emphasis on supporting remote work. When you enable some members of campus—like faculty—to work remotely or keep a hybrid schedule, it’s often important to support hybrid work when possible or necessary for other members of campus to keep up morale, according to an Inside Higher Ed podcast. This starts with making sure employees can access the data they need from anywhere, which means digitizing workflows, seeking out user-friendly platforms built for HigherEd, and integrating systems by powering connections with on-campus platforms.
Breaking down silos
HigherEd institutions are an interdependent ecosystem built for interaction and information exchange. Why should your systems be any different? Eliminating technology, data, and information silos to enable the flow of information across campus is a vital step towards a connected campus.
When systems in different departments don’t share information, users find increased administrative burden, duplicate data entry, information that doesn’t match up across systems, and communication blocks that slow down work. Disconnected systems can also reinforce barriers between those departments. For instance, if performance reviews are done manually by individual departments and HR then struggles to track them down afterwards in order to enter them into their systems, it can be hard to recognize that everyone is working towards the same goal of employee growth and retention. When performance reviews are centralized into an digital system with automated reminders, the option for feedback from multiple stakeholders, and no need for HR to re-enter information, there is a greater sense of collaboration, as managers and HR work as a team to complete to complete reviews.
Eliminating silos is also an important step in integrating systems on your campus. Fewer silos enable actionable insights for all parts of campus. An article from Deloitte Insights notes, “Data plays an important role in identifying problems and building connections. By capturing population-level data across the entire institution, universities can unlock new insights and better direct resources for initiatives and policy changes. To do this, institutions must break down silos and set up a robust data analytics and governance strategy.”
This is true for every system and job function—information should flow with freely, rather than separate rivers of data for faculty, staff, and students. Connecting hiring data with academic affairs helps institutions understand retention and performance. Connecting registrar data with academic advising helps advisors know which students might need a nudge to register for next semester. Connecting faculty course data to student attendance and grades helps you understand faculty and course effectiveness.
This kind of connectivity helps capture the interactions—both virtual and in person—that are such a vital part of the college and university experience. Your systems should be able to view the touchpoints between faculty and students—like classes and tutoring— or between students and advisors. Especially if these interactions are happening in a virtual space, interconnected systems help fuel the learning and engagement that are the heart of HigherEd.
A culture of innovation
Deloitte Insights writes that the digitization of higher education campuses and the shift to hybrid learning and work requires a culture shift as well. When your institution commits to embracing digitization and integrating systems. When every department is committed to finding the right innovative solutions to every problem, that helps build a culture of innovation from the ground up. Think about your faculty, for example. According to Deloitte, “[e]mergency remote education has inspired a burst of innovation on most campuses.” Embracing new technology meant that faculty rethought curriculum, instruction modes, and assignment formats, coming up with exciting new ideas. The right information systems for faculty also encourage innovation, freeing them from administrative burden to focus on research, teaching, and impacting student outcomes.
Everyone on your campus is connected to the mission of student success, and when you set up your software systems for integration, they are all connected to the institutional mission as well. PeopleAdmin can help you power your institution’s education ecosystem—find out how by scheduling a demo today!