- Many higher-ed IT leaders are increasingly involved in improving students’ time at their universities
- To accomplish this goal, IT leaders report increased collaboration across all department
- Higher-ed IT leaders take on major challenges this year
Higher education IT leaders believe they play an important role in improving the overall student experience at their institution, according to a recent survey commissioned by global payments and software company Flywire.
Additionally, as their roles become more complex, higher-ed IT leaders believe their performance metrics will change to tie them even closer to student outcomes, with 93 percent of survey respondents saying that student satisfaction and retention will be a key performance metric for them within five years.
In its new report, “An inside look at the changing world of the higher ed IT pro” Flywire examined the role of higher-ed IT leaders, the impact they have on improving the overall student experience, and how they are influencing the purchasing decisions around payment technology to solve the most pressing challenges facing institutions today, from affordability to security.
Higher-ed IT professionals prioritize a positive student experience when influencing payment technology purchasing decisions
Every higher-ed IT leader surveyed said students are central to decisions they make. Ninety-seven percent of respondents believe that IT plays a critical role in creating a positive student experience, and 100 percent agree that one of the best parts of their job is feeling like what they do actually helps students and their families.
As IT leaders prioritize student experience, they’re increasingly collaborating across all areas of the business. Ninety-eight percent of respondents are brought into discussions surrounding budgeting and new technology, teaming with finance and other department leaders across the institution to source technology solutions.
Additionally, as higher-ed IT leaders look to undertake projects that directly impact student success, they’re also seeing big opportunities to help with education affordability issues. Ninety-nine percent of survey respondents believe an institution’s biggest opportunity is to make it easier and more affordable for students and families to pay for education. In fact, IT leaders are central to the purchasing decision around payment solutions, with 75 percent of respondents directly involved in budgeting for payment tech at their institution.
According to one survey respondent, “an IT leader is responsible for making sure that the needs of the students are being met in such a way that they can learn by using the best technology available. There should be no barriers to learning.”
Integration with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Student Information Systems (SIS) central to institutional success
When developing or delivering new functionality, most IT leaders agree their ERP/SIS is the central consideration, but 4 in 5 respondents say legacy tech is putting them behind when it comes to meeting current technology needs. Ninety-seven percent look for tight ERP/SIS integration when choosing external vendors.
When managing technical aspects of their ERP/SIS systems, 81 percent of respondents experience issues around integration with other systems, while 78 percent say moving to the cloud is a challenge. Other challenges include scaling (75 percent), upgrades and lack of usability (74 percent), staffing issues (73 percent) and training users and maintenance costs (72 percent). When considering migrating to a new ERP system, the need for better security is the top reason.
As technology is integrated, securing payment processes is top of mind
As higher education institutions increasingly incorporate the use of technology, higher-ed IT leaders are prioritizing cybersecurity standards to ensure student and faculty data is protected in the event of a cyberattack. Ninety-eight percent of respondents believe there is now an increased need to focus on security and cyber threats to their institution, and 92 percent believe IT is at least partly responsible for the security of payment processes within their institutions.
In response, 75 percent of IT leaders are outsourcing at least some of their payment processing to an external vendor, leaving room to focus on other projects. When choosing an external vendor, 31 percent prioritize vendor experience in the education sector, 24 percent look for tight integration with ERP/SIS and 19 percent want a feature set that aligns with business goals.
“At Flywire, we understand how important it is to have IT involved early in the decision when it comes to implementing student financial software. That is why we engage IT at the start of the conversation, alongside the business office,” said David King, Flywire’s Chief Technology Officer.
“IT professionals within higher education institutions can be associated with being behind the scenes, but our recent findings reveal just how prominent their role is in being able to improve the overall student experience,” said Sharon Butler, Flywire’s EVP of Global Education. “And while they shoulder a lot of responsibilities–from digital transformation projects, to improving security–what we found was that almost every decision they make is through the lens of how it can benefit the student.”
This press release originally appeared online.