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Creating a Digital Workforce in Higher Ed

by | Feb 23, 2022

Now more than ever, higher education institutions should consider implementing digital tools. The early 2020s revealed higher education institutions’ challenges when society underwent significant shifts. The COVID-19 pandemic created the need for remote learning, contributed to decreased enrollments, and worsened staff shortages. The need for creating a digital workforce in higher ed has come to the forefront.

It’s no secret that changes to workflows and administration can be demanding. But, the COVID-19 pandemic opened the doors for advancement. Higher ed is finally having its digital revolution as institutions adopt AI and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to benefit students, educators, and staff.

Automating repetitive tasks opens doors to greater innovations.

Higher ed institutions need to rethink repetitive, manual processes to free up employees to serve the institution’s larger goals better. Some accounting, admissions, financial aid, and registration functions include highly repetitive tasks. Automation technology can take over these tasks so that employees can focus on higher-value work.

For example, conversational chatbot technology can be used in student portals to help free up time for students and staff. Instead of students needing to call or email various employees with questions, students can get their questions answered instantly. Having basic requests or questions resolved through automation can improve the student experience and considerably impact employee time. Using machine learning, chatbots are continually learning the needs of students to progressively advance in its functionality, relieving employees of more and more basic tasks.

Strategic implementation is the key to success.

To create this digital workforce, consider the steps to get there. When rolling out new technology, plans must be strategic. Implementing automation and AI in incremental steps ensures that teams have the tools and resources to be successful before piling on too much. A multi-phased rollout can help foster confidence and get momentum going.

Creating a digital workforce at any institution should start with analysis. Review tasks that can be automated and create a roadmap. Once you have established set tasks that can be automated, it’s important to make sure everyone is on board with the new changes. Building a team of employees from different departments is a common first step for higher education institutions. It establishes buy-in and ensures all departments’ needs are met. These participants are great evangelizers to others and can solicit new ideas from their respective departments and colleagues. In time, team members won’t just see that functions are automated, but envision new ways to serve all stakeholders better.

Fulfilling the institution’s mission.

The adoption of digital tools allows institutions to fulfill and expand on their mission. Educational access can now reach various income levels, ages, schedules, and distances. Living in a remote area no longer shuts someone out of educational advancement.

While the internet has been eliminating boundaries, it has also been a learning process for institutions of higher learning and continues to progress. The digital workforce of automation and AI removes more barriers, allowing faculty and staff to focus on more essential tasks, and improves access to learning.

AI can expand access to tools like exploring biological models down to the cellular level or seeing the impact of a physics equation. An astronomy student can explore the universe from their sofa. The chatbot can respond to requests for models or materials pertinent to the class during class, freeing professors to teach.

Now is the time to start.

Capacity is a support automation platform that helps higher education institutions operate more efficiently. Capacity connects your entire tech stack to answer questions, automate repetitive support tasks, and build solutions to any student or staff challenge.

Universities can attract, engage, and retain students with Capacity. The easy-to-use platform helps faculty and staff with new student onboarding and general student support, so they can focus on tasks that require higher-level thinking. Capacity also automates common processes and can be used as a virtual teaching assistant.