Ultimately, institutions want vendors to help simplify internal processes, improve student experiences and drive better time efficiency with staff and faculty while also reducing costs.
Before the pandemic, many educational institutions were happy having their staff and faculties evaluate operational efficiency based on a linear pace of technological change. The reality is when the physical faculty workplace ceased to be of primary focus, it became easier to think about how to address the deep routed processes that have always plagued and hindered these establishments.
What did Covid influence and change?
We are all familiar with the industry endorsement of the virtual workplace, collaboration and information sharing technology, which clearly was needed urgently for educational establishments to continue with any form of classroom activity and student-teacher interaction when the pandemic was in full swing.
What we are less aware of though, is the pace of change applied to the processes and technologies that have internally changed the way institutions drive efficiency in faculty employee productivity, and more specifically how this improvement is being measured:
1. Firstly, the way students interact with faculty pre/post-admission, and throughout their educational career has evolved exponentially.
2. Secondly, faculties have changed the way they comply and interact cross-functionally as they move to digital processes.
3. Lastly, the campaign trial on alumni donation and fundraising has been challenging for universities throughout Covid, and as such the whole process of staff interaction with alumni for fund management and governance has evolved digitally.
Ultimately, institutions want vendors to help simplify internal processes, improve student experiences and drive better time efficiency with staff and faculty while also reducing costs. Today, digital transformation is difficult. In fact, research from McKinsey highlights that only 16% of organizations reported successfully measuring results, so educational institutions must focus on areas where easy wins are possible and identifiable measurement.
Identifying where inefficiency lives
Document lifecycles are very inefficient and costly in educational establishments. From student and faculty processes around how documents get sourced and created in various vendor office formats (G Suite, MS Office) and PDF output, to the repetitive cycles on printing, editing, copying, finding and often recreating which are unfortunately inherently manual.
Let’s also not forget about how documents are stored (often decentralized), archived and duplicated for collaboration — which causes endless copies of the same documents to fly around the organization with impacts on email, corporate messaging platforms, retention and governance.
Finally, when you have workflows that require documents to be reviewed, mailed and executed by two or more parties ― inside or outside the institution ― the whole lifecycle of documents is further compounded with a high degree of complexity, time and obvious embedded costs to deal with.
Prioritize simplicity in document productivity
There are two ways to think about improving document productivity. (1) Start with the user and the process/tools that impact them and work up to identify areas for improvement. The alternative is (2) start with organizational workflow and work down. If the immediate goal is to make students and faculty more efficient, then it’s always best to start with the simple things first (see chart below).
Focusing on accessible ways to create, edit and share documents is a good place to start. Next pivoting to those manually intensive activities that hinder individual productivity e.g., student onboarding packets, order forms, HR policy acknowledgments are all examples of simple signing activities that can create a burden for both sender and receiver if they are completed manually.
The Nitro Productivity Platform addresses all of the above with simple consolidated licensing for students and centralized management for faculty. The platform also facilitates the important second step in the digital adoption process for documents, namely, to find out, measure and report on what’s going on.
Nitro Analytics provides much-needed insight into the actual activity, trends and savings that are directly derived from the software. In fact, Nitro’s analytics insights are trusted by 68% of the Fortune 500. It allows you to answer questions like “how much paper did we use today?” or “how quickly did that sign process complete electronically?” Walking your talk and proving return on investment is key to the use of Nitro’s platform. But it doesn’t need to stop there.
When you’re ready for the bigger organizational document processes, it’s important to understand that cross-functional workflows will likely require automation and integration to specific solutions. Nitro integrates with tools like Microsoft Power Automate through its alliance with Microsoft and leverages its own APIs.
Purpose-built for education
Nitro is investing in Junior Colleges, Colleges, K-12, Universities, Professional Schools, Business Schools and Educational Support Services when many vendors in the industry are driving up costs and unnecessary licensing. A recent EdWeek Market Brief referenced spending on tech-based curriculums, highlighting that although tech subscription investment in the US has jumped considerably in the last 12 months, one-third of institutions will be requesting emergency federal funds to support the investment, and therefore prudent and valid licensing is essential.
We recently launched a global channel program for the education sector across three continents and have a few specific partners focused on the needs of education including SoftwareONE™. We have developed a purpose-built licensing model for students, faculty and staff that is at the right price point that the institutions can afford.