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How Software Multiplies the Power of Higher Education Staff

5/31/2022 9:00:00 AM

Demands on staff can rise for many reasons, from the buzz of activity at the beginnings and ends of semesters to resource constraints and reorganizations due to the pandemic. Staring down a to-do list of routine processes, long term projects, new responsibilities, and sudden requests, administrators may have more priorities than staff to handle them.

By doing work for them, integrated software solutions magnify the ability of staff, allowing more to be done with less effort and freeing staff to redirect their attention to high-impact activities and short notice requests that require focus and expertise. Software can also scale up processes without increasing the burden on staff. Even more, today’s solutions provide data and analytics that can identify trends and lead to improved service.

Structured vs. Unstructured Tasks

Most jobs are a mix of structured and unstructured activities. Structured tasks are regularly occurring, often repetitive in nature, and follow a predetermined process. An example of a structured task is account reconciliation, an important routine process with regular methods and outcomes.

Unstructured tasks require creative and critical thinking to address unique or timely issues, and also often require soft skills to address a situation. An example is handling the individual accounts of students affected by complicated and shifting financial, academic, and personal issues, which need human judgment and sustained attention to achieve resolution.

Software can deftly handle the structured, repeatable tasks that are often a significant portion of higher ed administrative work. When less occupied by these activities, staff can then address unstructured tasks and deliver value to students and the institution, whether face-to-face while helping a student navigate a dilemma or behind-the-scenes in coordinating groups across campus to solve a complex administrative project.

7 Ways Technology Works for You

There are many structured tasks in higher ed administration, and the following are some payments, permission, and platform processes that can be automated and streamlined by software to increase the capability and productivity of staff:

  1. Automated payment reconciliation unifies transaction data from multiple systems rather than a labor-intensive, manual process
  2. Integrated systems provide streamlined reporting instead of batching, sending, and integrating data by hand
  3. Platform solutions unify campus systems to provide campus-encompassing dashboard views of key metrics from real-time analysis, which increases the speed, accuracy, and scope of decision making
  4. Artificial intelligence-enabled chatbots quickly and accurately answer the majority of frequently asked questions, like when are due dates and basic “how to” queries
  5. Automated reminders of time-sensitive transactions keep students on schedule with payments
  6. Replacing physical ID cards with virtualized credentials decreases the labor and production demands of administering, printing, and issuing cards
  7. Digital ID solutions allow a single administrator to remotely activate, suspend, resume, or remove individuals’ access to spaces and services across an entire campus

Automated to Accomplish More

Software is a force multiplier, allowing one person to do the work of many with speed and accuracy. Routine tasks can be automated by technology so more work can be done with less. By handling certain tasks for them, software frees staff to shift their time and attention to complex, high-impact work. Software amplifies staff capabilities and increases their productivity, efficiency, and efficacy to deliver a better experience for all.