Digital transformation is changing the higher education sector as we know it. Today’s technology makes it possible for institutions to efficiently and effectively manage processes and operations to enhance the overall student experience. This heightened functionality doesn’t just offer benefits to students but to the institution and its faculty as well. One such technological solution making this possible, is higher education Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solutions. Let’s look at how ERP systems are revolutionising the sector as we know it.
What is ERP?
Now it’s time to explain the meaning of ERP. Enterprise resource planning systems are often referred to as ERP solutions. These ERP solutions are a form of software that businesses can use to manage different daily business activities. These activities include accounting, procurement, risk management, compliance, project management, supply chain management etc. With this software, businesses can plan, budget, predict and report on financials, enhance visibility, and ensure operational efficiency and overall profitability.
What Is a Higher Education ERP System?
Within the higher education sector, ERP systems have been slightly adapted to fit the unique needs of higher education institutions. These software systems help institutions manage business workflows by streamlining the information between all institutional functions, operations and departments. This kind of software significantly impacts the planning, designing, and operations of all academic resources. It also assists in automating various elements related to the student life cycle while helping lecturers manage their class and exam timetables, room bookings and administrative tasks.
ERP systems are effectively assisting businesses in digitising their processes and operations to keep up with digital transformation and the digital shift that is occurring globally.
Why ERP In the Education Sector?
Implementing ERP systems in higher education improves productivity and efficiency and has many other benefits for institutions. These include:
- Enhanced Control – with a centralised database and all information necessary at your fingertips, this software solution will enable institutions to control all administrative processes from one integrated platform.
- Better connectivity – this system aims to improve connectivity among all institutional stakeholders, including students, lecturers, parents and staff. All stakeholders can effectively find the information required and receive answers to questions quickly.
- Smart technology – the new generation of students is technology-focused, which means that ERP systems must be agile enough to move with the times and adapt to the latest technology needs of students, such as the provision for self-service portals and remote access to libraries etc. This kind of software makes provision for this.
- Streamlined Reporting – this kind of solution provides streamlined, aligned and integrated reporting capabilities that will allow you to access essential business and student analytics related to fees, headcounts, employee records and more in almost real-time. Enhancing accuracy and reliability.
Common Features of Education ERP Systems
We mentioned earlier that ERP systems have been adapted for the higher education sector. This is because higher education institutions have specific needs that need to be met in terms of their processes and operations. Therefore, a higher education ERP system should include the following features:
- Admissions management – this software automates several processes that enable an institution to reduce the number of student enquiries. It also makes the process of application and student registration that much easier.
- Attendance management – institutions can track students’ attendance through schedule integration to create attendance reports and class rosters through this kind of solution.
- Fee and payment management – this solution makes it much easier for institutions to track fees and manage payments across multiple courses.
- Course management – through this ERP system, the institution can manage courses about sections, credits, and the number of hours required for all classes.
- Faculty management – this software enables faculty management in the form of recruitment, the creation of lecturer profiles, and a breakdown of their schedules and workloads.
- Student information/records system – with this system, institutions can create and manage detailed student profiles and integrate student information from all different course modules in a centralised location.
- Academic analytics – institutions can access essential analytics and insights into student academic activities. This provides critical information on headcounts, popular courses etc.
- Student portal – many ERP systems incorporate student self-service platforms that enable them to enrol, register and pay for courses, and find out information related to their course work, timetables, and more.
- Certificate/document management – this software will allow students, lecturers and admin staff to access certificates and documents through an automatic or manual approval process.
- Inventory management – this system enables the creation and management of inventory elements, including textbooks, computers, lab equipment, and more.
Why is ERP essential to Educational Institutes?
From the above, it is clear that ERP systems cover several different operational and administrative tasks that higher education institutions need to manage. The result is more control, visibility and accuracy of information which is vital to the institution’s success. There are also several other important reasons why this system is essential.
From an Institution’s Perspective
An ERP system streamlines the institution’s operations across departments and tasks. It enables the automation of different tasks to save staff time and resources. For example, automated marketing and communication responses can provide faster responses. Fee collections can be automated, as can the admissions process, making both processes more efficient. Each of these elements dramatically improves the overall student experience, which is critical to growing the business. With an integrated and consolidated ERP platform, you can also get a faster comparison of department metrics to make informed decisions based on accurate data relating to head counts, residence accommodation, lecture room sizes, equipment requirements and more.
From a Student Perspective
An ERP solution brings many different benefits for students. This includes fast and efficient access to timetables, coursework etc., that can all be accessed from self-service platforms. This allows students to have a personalised learning experience, ask more questions, engage with their lecturers more, and find all the information they need at the click of a button.
From a Facility Member Perspective
From a faculty member’s perspective, using an ERP means saving time on repetitive tasks thanks to automation. Faculty can also quickly and effectively use the system to enhance collaboration with students and other departments and upload course materials, submissions and gradings from one user-friendly centralised system. This enhances the overall teaching and learning experience.
From the above, there is no doubt that higher education ERP solutions play an essential role in enhancing the overall functionality of a higher education institution through streamlining various tasks and operations across departments. Download our Innovation in Higher Education Whitepaper for more insight into how ERP systems are changing this higher education sector.