If you’re pursuing digital transformation, then you’re looking to apply data and technology to address a core operational or strategic challenge. These challenges differ from institution to institution. But how do you know what to strive for—and whether your investments have paid off—in our resource-constrained sector?
EAB research has identified six signals of digital transformation success, as well as high-impact investments that have actually changed how universities operate. Which of the following signals are strong on your campus—and which need to be amplified?
Frictionless Student Services and Success-Oriented Interventions
Digital investments in student support should not only enable hyper-convenient access to routine services but also proactively nudge students towards behaviours associated with academic success and personal wellbeing.
"I began feeling disengaged during the pandemic and missed a few virtual tutorials. I received a push notification via the VLE about wellbeing and academic support resources. When I logged on, the 24/7 chatbot connected me with support staff without me hunting someone down.”
Learning and Teaching
Multimodal Instruction for Career Exploration and Lifelong Learning
Flexible, multimodal course formats – blended or hybrid, self-paced, and increasingly competency-based – enable student-centred experiential education across career and personal milestones, serving as an onramp to lifelong-learner models.
“I have a part-time job, and my hours vary and sometimes conflict with lectures. I needed a programme with flexibility in how I moved through the curriculum. Our instructors don’t even distinguish between on-campus or off-campus learning—everyone does both.”
Personalised, Multichannel Prospect Communications
Responding to sophisticated applicant behaviours, institutions must reposition messaging from ‘what’s great about us’ to ‘what we can do for you’, all at unprecedented levels of convenience, relevance, and speed.
“I followed my uni on social media, and a current student suggested I take a virtual campus tour. I explored the orchestra hall and the volleyball courts, to see the space for my favourite hobbies. I shared the link with friends, and we all decided to apply. The campus felt like it was made for me.”
Curated, Value-Driven Donor Engagement
In a noisy world, digital tools maximise fundraiser efficiency and prospect intelligence through automated workflows, while also enabling requests of potential donors come at the right time, with a meaningful and personalised appeal that delivers value.
“As a fundraiser, I’ve been able to shift my attention away from guessing at what will resonate with our alumni. I can leverage data to engage them at the right time and in the right way—particularly using digital channels that keep us connecting with our global alumni base.”
Business Processes Aligned with Customer Needs
Two concurrent and mutually reinforcing trends are transforming professional services: the standardisation and automation of administrative tasks to free staff time, and the democratisation of business intelligence analytics to support better frontline decision-making.
“As the financial analyst for my school, most of my day consisted of submitting or responding to requests for data. Now, all of our systems talk to each other, and I have the real-time, operational view I need at my fingertips.”
Predictive Estates Operations and Space Management
Opportunities to embed technology across the physical estate expand apace, but radical drops in the cost of networked sensors are unlocking efficiency and service gains by enabling proactive deployment of resources through real-time monitoring and analysis.
“I arrived to repair a classroom’s ventilation system after a lecture. The instructor said, ‘We didn’t call anybody.’ I responded, ‘I know—but you would have in about a month—and it would have been a much more expensive fix then.’”
Ready to find out more?
Want to learn more about what digital transformation is and learn from other institutions who have implemented innovative digital solutions?