Overshadowed by declining higher education enrollment, and in the face of cybersecurity concerns, funding challenges, staffing issues and other obstacles, educational institutions are finding digital transformation is key to remaining competitive and meeting the needs of the modern student. In pursuit of digital transformation, many institutions have already embraced new technologies-replacing time-intensive processes with new efficiencies-but is it enough? In education, things are evolving at a much faster rate today than in recent years.
There is simply no defined, linear path from K-12 to higher education for learners to follow. Modern students are expected to become constant learners, putting the onus on institutions to develop this desire, while delivering opportunities to cultivate necessary skills. Universities, colleges, high schools, middle schools and even elementary schools all feel increased pressure to help their students grow from where they are to where they need to be. And at the center of fulfilling this responsibility lies individualized attention. So, as pressure to become even more competitive ramps up in advance of the impending enrollment cliff of 2025, institutions must prioritize taking the time to observe the needs of every student and encourage them down individual paths towards graduation day.
A difficult task to be sure, but one that is made easier by the comprehensive, digital student record and cloud-based deployments of technology that support this approach.
The Digital Student Record
Strong business processes and digital records ensure information not only readily informs decision-making but remains easily accessible. By completing the digital student record, instead of filing documents in network drives or filing cabinets, institutions give every department top-to-bottom visibility of the complete student record. This, in turn, provides a significant boost to the service the institution provides. Institutions become positioned to match the expectations of the modern student by providing a mobile-friendly student experience. And technologies such as content management, electronic forms, workflow automation, and other time-saving solutions, help provide better visibility and faster resolution of student and staff concerns.
With secure, convenient access to the information they need, advisors can advise, teachers can teach, and administrators can administrate with an eye on meeting the needs of the modern student. And as efficiency increases, valuable resources are freed up. Which can then be redistributed to ensure maximum benefit is being delivered to student, parent and employee populations.
In a similar vein, leveraging supporting technologies in the cloud enhances these benefits and frees IT to move from simply doing system maintenance to focusing on other pressing needs.
Educational Institutions and the Cloud
As the education-focused provider of enterprise content management (ECM), we are experiencing tremendous momentum in our cloud-based solutions, with almost 90% of our customer base currently deploying ECM in the cloud. Mike Williamson, Vice President of Research and Development at Softdocs, recently commented on driving factors behind the continued growth of the Softdocs product suite in the cloud.
“Higher education and K-12 institutions are now routinely seeing significant savings and improved performance by moving key applications to the cloud,” said Williamson. “Through our partnership with Microsoft Azure, and with our content management platform, we provide substantial improvements in security, disaster recovery and compliance that are driving our customers to embrace this delivery model and recognize their expectations for a better experience.”
While cloud-based deployments possess their own cybersecurity considerations, they also provide unique advantages in securing confidential information. When properly utilized, the cloud supplements a layered cybersecurity defense by incorporating multifactor authentication, utilizing data encryption, and allowing response to detected vulnerabilities in real time. Institutions with cloud-based technology deployments reinforce their physical security measures and cybersecurity initiatives with those of their cloud service provider. Microsoft Azure cloud services, for example, provide full time encryption, contractual commitments ensuring FERPA compliance, and geo-redundant storage which ensures business continuity and minimal data loss in the event of a catastrophe.
Two words: continuous change. When it comes to software, that’s a requirement to match pace with today’s rapidly shifting content needs, accessibility expectations and ever-evolving cyber threat landscape. With on-premises deployments, it can be far too easy to fall behind on updates to be applied, and by doing so, lose the ability to take advantage of the full benefit deployed solutions provide. Recognizing this, many IT departments are standing up business analysts as software vendors move toward continuous release/continuous improvement models. Cloud-based deployments support continuous change by controlling change management. Updates and new releases are automatically applied without new demands being placed on IT. With constantly improving solutions at hand, institutions are empowered to innovate at a faster pace, improve processes with increased agility and easily scale their solution utilization.
Parting Thoughts from a Cloud Service Provider
At Softdocs, we are committed to ensuring each of our customers has the means necessary to embrace continuous change, remain competitive and meet the needs of the modern student. For us, this commitment centers upon the cloud and is upheld by the Softdocs product suite, as well as the Softdocs Professional Services and Managed Services teams. Through the cloud, our customers deploy Softdocs solutions more quickly and cost-effectively. We are able to redirect attention, once spent on managing the complexity of various on-premises environments, toward strengthening the user experience and developing additional features and functions. By leveraging Microsoft Azure, and with input from our customer development partners, we are responding to the needs of the education space and providing ECM solutions capable of scaling and integrating with every technology stack on higher education and K-12 campuses. At Softdocs, we are cloud-first and customer-driven.
Are you interested in learning more about Softdocs and our cloud-based ECM solutions?