How the cloud can help education institutions deliver the digital experience staff and students expect

Posted by  Andrew Garner

Have you thought about what your student population really needs lately? Odds are you have – these needs are at the forefront of every education institution’s mind at all times.

Recent research shows today’s digital natives want a digital university experience, and they want it now. This doesn’t mean you should throw devices at students and constantly invest in the latest and greatest technology. The best people and most modern technology can’t deliver a digital upgrade alone – it must be backed up by well-designed software with smooth processes and automation application.

Focussing on automation helps eliminate time-consuming manual tasks and frees up staff to focus on high-value tasks instead, allowing them to work on projects that deliver what students want instead of just keeping the machine going.

If all your data runs through one integrated system all your key drivers will flow accordingly – you’ll get better reporting, better insights and you’ll have one version and source of the truth, which gives you control and enables you to make changes before small issues turn into problems.

Facilitating this type of change requires a different thought process to service delivery. 2016 was the year where cloud became mainstream, and cloud is very much changing the way we work. The old conversations about disaster recovery and business continuity are all different in a cloud-driven world.

To ensure we deliver the best possible cloud solution we’ve partnered with Microsoft. We’re investing £23bn annually to ensure our customers get the resilience of the Azure platform, and we’re fully accredited with UK specific standards. The comprehensive integration capabilities Azure offers provides the core technological platform, which allows Unit4 to focus on innovation.

Cloud computing is about much more than managed service. Our solutions don’t just utilise Azure but also other platform features such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, which enables us to do some extremely clever things with the data in the single platform. We can apply AI to the data, we can digitise the interface with the user, we can add natural language capacities.

We believe this is where the difference resides – and this is only the beginning.

Andrew Garner

Andy has worked in the HE sector for the majority of his career, and joined Unit4 to specialise in Student Systems and Student Experience. During his career in HE, he has worked for several SI’s in different roles, giving him rich mixture of experience in the sector. He is passionate about making things better for students, and believes the power of higher education can transform lives. Andy has a unique perspective on how the sector works and he understands that success in the sector involves taking the time to build a strong relationship between parties, which can then be used to achieve great things together.

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