What does the campus of the future look like?
In many ways, it will be reminiscent of the campus of the last millennium. Education is more than instruction. Leafy green spaces, the hothouse intellectual environment created by physical proximity – these will never lose their charm.
Today’s campuses are already a blend of the digital and physical. Online and offline education are both important. Tomorrow’s campuses, however, will feature much tighter integration of the two. Instruction will be more accessible, delivered to students in the form that works best for them. Virtual reality will allow students to tour ancient Roman ruins or see what life was like in the pre-Columbus Americas – without ever leaving the classroom.
Ultimately, the introduction of the data-led “digital campus” will lead to the creation of new models that reimagine higher education from the bottom up. That’s a development that holds great promise for students and administrators alike.
And adoption is coming sooner than you may think.
Why transforming work models is essential to competitiveness
The layperson might be forgiven for thinking that creating a next-generation digital campus is simply a matter of introducing new software. The truth is that it’s far more fundamental than that. The very models that support campus operations must be rethought and transformed. It’s a true paradigm shift that requires full commitment across the whole organization – but holds the promise for exceptional benefits for schools and students.
It’s also a shift that is powered by the transformational potential of data analytics. One example: data analysis can be used to create new learning models that deepen student engagement. Instructors and advisers can harness critical information about student behavior and performance to keep them on track for success.
Today’s machine learning-powered platforms have the power to analyze enormous amounts of structured and unstructured data. This analysis creates personalized insights advisers can use to offer more informed guidance. As these platforms mature, the ability to offer even more relevant and effective learning models will also expand.
Work models are also ripe for re-imagining. The ability to identify, hire, and retain the best workers is essential to success. Effectively managing talent is a core task for today’s modernizing campuses. To do so, it’s critical to keep workers engaged, challenged, and satisfied.
One key example involves millennial-aged staff. Much like students in that demographic group, they have certain expectations. Namely, frequent feedback, career development, and a personal touch. The next-generation campus can help achieve this through the use of interactive technologies that foster collaboration – think gaming and visualization. The use of such approaches can lower social boundaries and improve engagement – and, ultimately, productivity.
On the employer side, digital tools can help institutions win the war for talent by identifying the most passionate, engaged, and productive teachers, researchers, and staff. Those tools can also help retain and promote and grow those employees with the campus. Data-based assessments can help ensure the right personnel are retained, while also enabling organizations to identify potential that may be untapped. It’s not uncommon for a great worker to be stuck in a position that is a poor match. Analytics can help make sure talent doesn’t go to waste – or depart for another opportunity.
Other key models
Along with work models, management models can also be dramatically improved by the right digital platform. Why? Because effective management requires a broad view and the capacity to make informed decisions. The digital campus provides this by allowing for the creation of a 360-degree management model offering visibility into the whole community. Digital boardrooms can be created offering centralized operation. Balance sheets, staffing models, and environmental management can all be integrated into a personalized dashboard.
Additionally, core tasks such as alumni fundraising campaigns can be centralized and managed. These campaigns can be made more effective through the use of real-time communication channel outreach. Data-based insights can also identify which approaches deliver the best return on investment. Overall, the digital campus promises streamlined management and less organizational complexity. That’s a recipe for serious cost savings.
The next-generation campus can also benefit from new institutional models. Student engagement, digitized financial processes, and campuses connected with smart devices are all key parts of the institution of tomorrow.
The next-generation campus promises to retain many of the things we prize about higher education: beautiful buildings and green spaces, opportunities to meet new people, and the chance to collaborate.
Thanks to the advancements of the digital campus, we’ll also have better student outcomes, improved student experiences, and radically re-imagined models for work and other processes.
And that promises to make the campus of the future an even better place to live, work, and learn.
For more insight on digital leaders, check out the SAP Center for Business Insight report, conducted in collaboration with Oxford Economics, “SAP Digital Transformation Executive Study: 4 Ways Leaders Set Themselves Apart.”