Digital transformation has impacted industries globally, and the education industry is no different. Educational institutions have had to adapt and change with the times, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. This has meant implementing different technological solutions across all aspects of the institution, from how students are learning to the way teachers are teaching, and how the organisation is run. Many higher education institutions have turned to implement ERP software to facilitate this shift to digital.
The Use of ERP Technology in Education
There has been an increased use of technology in education in recent years, so much so that technology is utilised in every possible aspect of education. For example, students are utilising digital devices to learn, teachers are using different applications to facilitate their course work and teach their students, many schools are using online learning platforms, and the list of examples goes on. This leads to many benefits directly linked to the implication of technology in education, including increased collaboration and communication, personalised learning opportunities, more engagement in learning, and improved teacher productivity and efficiency. Within the administrative and accounting side of education, technology is being utilised to streamline processes and enhance operational efficiency, especially in higher education institutions.
What is an ERP system?
Organisations use an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to manage and integrate important elements of their business. This software solution integrates planning, purchasing, inventory, sales, marketing, finance, human resources and more. The benefits of utilising this kind of technology include:
- Maximised planning and resource management – ERP systems provide you with essential insights needed to effectively plan, forecast and manage resources that enhance productivity.
- Greater enterprise collaboration – many organisations’ departments work in silos, but the ERP system consolidates all data and information across organisational departments, enhancing visibility and making it easier to share and access accurate data in real-time.
- Increased productivity through automation – by automating different processes, you can enhance productivity and efficiency across operations.
- Reduced overhead costs – an ERP system provides greater visibility, making it easier for you to identify problems, issues related to spending, and opportunities to reduce costs.
- Better customer relationships – with an ERP system, you can access all your customer’s (in this case, students) information in one place, allowing you to sort out problems or issues related to that student quickly and efficiently. This system also enables you to automate customer services, thereby enhancing your customer experience.
How can an ERP System be Integrated into your Education Institution?
From the above, it is clear that ERP systems have many benefits to organisations, but the question remains, how do you choose the right ERP solution for your specific organisation? The answer lies in addressing the following questions:
- Are you looking for a cloud-based, on-premise, or hybrid solution?
- Does this solution offer student management features, including student administration, scheduling, and lecturer self-service functionality?
- Does it assist with managing financial operations, including cash flow, income, expenses, assets etc.?
- Will the solution centralise the staff management process and ensure the smooth running of business activities and operations?
- Does it offer reporting and analytics to provide you with the insight and visibility needed to make informed business decisions?
- Does it allow for flexibility in adding applications that you may require as the institution develops and grows and your needs change?
- Is the software and system accessible and easy to use, offering self-service functionality to enhance efficiency?
Education ERP Systems Benefits and Features
The answers to the above questions will highlight the features you require from an education ERP system. Higher education ERP software data should have features that include data storage, attendance management, fee management, automated communication, accounting, timetable scheduling, e-learning management, payroll, HR, and various other operations and processes.
The implementation of this kind of technology will have the following benefits for your higher education institution:
- Cost and time savings – digital technology handles the core function of record-keeping, enquiries, applications and admissions, registration, study records and assessments, residence management and lecturing, and examination timetabling.
- Increased student intake – this system allows increased student intake because the physical infrastructure is freed up of unnecessary feet.
- Enhanced insight and visibility of operations – this kind of software allows for the easy monitoring of student intake numbers, funding, accommodation, provision of books, automatic class allocation and optimal lecturer timetabling.
- Streamlining processes and compliance – this software created efficient workflows and streamlined decision-making while ensuring adherence to statutory requirements, including an audit trail.
This technology streamlines and simplifies complicated, time-consuming processes to decrease costs and ensure operations run smoothly and that the customer experience is positive.
From the above, it is clear that the relevance of technology in education is a significant trend that will continue to impact the industry as we know it. ERP systems are the biggest asset to higher education institutions as they offer several benefits and help create connected campuses. This software streamlines operations and processes to run efficiently, remain profitable, and attract and retain students. For more information on how technology is changing the education industry as we know it, download the Innovation in Higher Education Whitepaper.