The following post has been written by Oxford Computer Group, a Microsoft in Education partner. Book your place at the University of Kent's roundtable event on the 28 June 2016 to discuss how technology can help you attract more students, improve productivity and data security.
There are currently 23,729 universities in the world, all fighting to grab the attention of students from across the seven continents. With student fees increasing and competition rising, these challenges can create road blocks for universities. If correctly implemented, technology can help gain control of applications on-premises and in the cloud, and improve overall efficiency and productivity.
THE CHALLENGES OF UNIVERSITIES AND HOW TECHNOLOGY CAN HELP
Universities are facing more and more challenges due to today's economic climate, media and technology world. Staying ahead of the competition is getting increasingly difficult, as expertise, innovation and processes slowly become necessities.
You can make your university more attractive to prospective students at home and internationally by keeping data secure, offering collaborative, mobile learning and communicating using social media.
Join the University of Kent and the University of Dundee at our upcoming roundtable, where you will have the opportunity to discuss the challenges being faced by universities today, and explore the opportunities that can be harnessed by new technology.
Now let's identify the three main challenges universities face, and explore how technology can be used to create a competitive advantage and market-leading experience.
Security and identity concerns
When you're handling private data from thousands of students, it's important that this information doesn't get into the wrong hands. Holding medical records and financial data, universities are a target for cyber-attacks. With higher education accounting for 17% of all personal information data breaches, it's imperative that institutions protect their infrastructures.
Access control policies can also be put in place to improve an institution's cybersecurity stance. Multi-Factor Authentication, Single Sign-On (SSO) and Self-Service Password Reset solutions protect identities, improve efficiency and create empowerment amongst users. Giving users a seamless experience via just one password, means they may be more likely to choose a strong password, reducing the chances of their accounts and data being hacked.
Security breaches and identity and access issues can damage the reputation of universities, therefore affecting their student numbers. Using a solution such as Azure Active Directory Premium gives you access to advanced security reports and alerts, multi-factor authentication, self-service group management and Microsoft Identity Manager (MIM).
Lack of productivity
There's been a decline in the productivity of admin departments over recent months, resulting in slower and less efficient processes, hindering student recruitment opportunities. Universities have been reluctant in the past to use technology to improve admin productivity, with only 16% intending to implement improved digital solutions.
Windows 10 teamed with Office 365 enables lecturers to access engaging, and memorable learning apps and interactive features. New features such as OneNote Class Notebook and Sway Aid create a more creative learning environment.
With the right solutions, administrative staff can collaborate and remain productive, working with students and teachers to maintain efficient working practices.
Decreasing number of students
Students are becoming street-wise when it comes to researching and identifying the university they would like to attend. Higher education establishments therefore need to strategically plan when advertising and recruiting students.
Social media can be used as a way to advertise your university to prospective students and boost student enrolment. Targeting specific demographics, ages, interests and qualifications enables organisations to promote to those specific audiences interested in what they have to offer.
As social networking has become a key-player in the way people connect with each other, universities are having to implement social media platforms into their strategies. If seen to be inactive on social media, students are likely to be put off from attending the establishment. 72% of incoming high school seniors reported that they had researched their prospective colleges on a social media site.
Students are becoming extremely savvy when it comes to their expectations and what they should be receiving for the money they've paid. With higher education tuition fees increasing, students expect to receive a high-quality level of education.