Trends & challenges in higher education
This is the first entry to a series of blogs that I will be writing from my new position at Ellucian, as the Senior Director of Product Strategy in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. In this series, I will be sharing the trends that we are seeing across the region and highlighting Ellucian’s approach to supporting our customers in advancing and exploiting new opportunities.
I’ve spent 25 years working within the Higher Education sector holding senior management level positions within both Information Technology and Student Service/Academic Registry focused departments. With a background rooted in Business Analysis, Project Management and IT/Digital Strategy I have been fortunate to have worked on implementing numerous innovative IT solutions, both in-house developed and third party off-the-shelf products, to solve business challenges and improve the day to day experience of students.
It is this passion for solving problems and implementing solutions to deliver real business benefits that convinced me to switch from working within a single higher education institution, serving circa 40,000 students, to Ellucian - the market-leader of solutions and services built to power higher education. It’s remarkable that the solutions our teams are working on today impact over 20 million students studying at institutions who are utilising Ellucian’s technology to empower their staff, enhance the student experience as well as continue to improve the experience for millions more with a greater degree of efficiency.
In the UK, it is a challenging time in higher education right now with the uncertainty caused by Brexit, the funding review and the more operational but nonetheless disruptive matter of the ever-nearing move to in-year data returns as a result of the HESA Data Futures programme. Couple these changes with the pace at which technology is evolving, the high-speed surge towards everything digital and the prospect of the changes that could manifest as a result of the fourth industrial revolution, and institutions stand at a point of both uncertainty and opportunity.
Much has been written already about the volume of data that universities harvest from all manner of applications within their system landscape and the conversations that I am hearing, repeatedly within the sector, is about how universities can harness and utilise that data. Institutions are striving to achieve the ability to quickly share, interpret and identify significance within, and then act upon these powerful data sources, not just from an analytics perspective but also to enable the triggering of other digital events. This capability is seen as a key enabler for an institution in positioning itself to deliver against the immediate service and personalisation expectations that today’s students demand. So, how can we achieve this? At Ellucian, we believe that our Ellucian Ethos framework is a crucial piece of the puzzle for universities in achieving this capability and it is our differentiator. This powerful framework unifies people, processes and applications and is purpose built for higher education institutions. I will be sharing more insight with our customer base on how Ethos can help to deliver efficiencies and improve performance.
One of my aspirations in my new role is to further bolster Ellucian’s significant ability to understand the strategic and operational needs of higher education institutions. As our business is 100% focused and dedicated to higher education, we are in a unique position to continue to ensure the solutions we provide consistently pre-empt the needs of the sector.
It has been an exciting period of growth at Ellucian with the continuing investment in our solutions and our people, and there are more exciting times ahead as we continue to work with our growing customer base to support them in delivering their digital transformation projects. With almost three decades of knowledge and experience in Higher Education, I am looking forward to contributing my expertise to help deliver real business benefits for the Ellucian community and ensure our customers are architected to exploit the opportunities of tomorrow.