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Cloud ERP and the Digital Divide

With the rapid shift to remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, institutions have faced the challenge of reaching students outside the traditional campus setting. Students and faculty have had to adapt to remote work, remote teaching, and remote learning, with institutions needing to come up with unique ways to reach students where there is a technology divide.

The gulf between students who have ready access to computers and the internet and those who do not create an even greater challenge for higher education in connecting students, faculty, and staff. These audiences are widely diverse, from race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status and ages spanning generations, that are more diverse than ever. With different technologies available to consumers and producers of higher education, the digital divide makes reaching these stakeholders especially challenging.

Most higher education administrative and student systems in use today were built for a pre-internet generation. The rapid shift to remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic has led many institutions to look at their technology infrastructure and opportunities for digital transformation to keep students and faculty connected whether they return to campus or continue to work and learn remotely.

Even before the global pandemic, there was increased interest in cloud-based student information systems. Student information systems available in the cloud are mobile and connected, able to seamlessly unite the entire institution to better serve students and leaders. Cloud meets students where they are engaged, in the moments that matter, through alerts, email campaigns, and more to deliver an experience that stands out and aligns with the institution’s culture and values. The business benefits from efficiency across the student experience, connecting student admissions, financial aid, student records, advising, and more.

ERP software is the core of any organization and keeps processes moving efficiently awhile connecting stakeholders. Investing in ERP not only modernizes the experience for current students and staff, but for generations to come. At Hinds Community College, a pro-active plan for digital transformation reshaped its financial and HR systems. The deployment of Workday allowed for streamlined processes instead of manual and enabled the college to shift resources to projects that deliver higher value. Initiatives that would have been impossible prior to the deployment of modern ERP were made possible by efficient staffing and better processes. The institution also gained valuable insight into its financials, with to-the-minute information at the fingertips of leaders. Replacing legacy technology with cloud ERP was essential to keeping vital processes happening, even in a remote environment.

Cloud technology can bridge the digital divide and allow colleges and universities to expand access to remote student and staff and connect its business operations to the student experience. Institutions can focus on the big picture of innovation, with real time data that creates a future-forward institution connected through meaningful information that ultimately improves student and institutional success.