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3 Reasons Higher Ed Needs to Focus on Digital Transformation Now

Digital transformation at Onymos

Today, digital transformation (Dx), or the process of digitizing organizations, is on every school admin’s mind. Back in 2019, that wasn’t quite the case. EDUCAUSE published a report then that showed only 13% of colleges and universities were using Dx technologies like AI, optical character recognition (OCR), and the Internet of Things (IoT).  

Then Covid-19 happened. 

That gave higher ed a little nudge towards embracing more digitization — by 2021, EDUCAUSE was reporting that the number of colleges and universities engaging in Dx had grown to 41%. That might seem impressive, but it’s actually way below the adoption rates we’re seeing in other sectors like healthcare (92%) and finance (93%).  

One prominent academic study published last year sought to identify the barriers to Dx in higher education institutions globally. Its authors identified blockers like complex bureaucracies, a lack of expertise, and entrenched legacy systems. 

So if doing digital transformation in higher ed is so hard, why even do it at all?

1. The market is changing quickly

In Forbes’ historical overview of online learning, they noted that in the early 2000s, the market leaders in distance learning were all practicing traditional correspondence education. Unfortunately for them, they were the last to realize online learning’s potential (to practically eliminate traditional correspondence education). By the time they realized what was happening, they weren’t the distance learning market leaders anymore.  

On the other hand, early adopters like Liberty University, a then-modest Christian college in Virginia, saw its revenue from online classes soar from just north of $50M in 2000 to almost $800M in 2016.  

It’s clear that reacting earlier to radical technological shifts can be the difference between a higher ed institution becoming a Netflix… or a Blockbuster.  

Two decades ago, the Internet radically shifted the world. Today, new technology is radically shifting it again.  

2. Dx isn’t just for students and teachers

Digitally transforming doesn’t just mean providing new in-classroom tools or enhancing remote learners’ experiences. It can fundamentally change every part of an institution.

The European University Association (EUA) has been conducting extensive research into Dx in higher ed, including examining its effects on administrative staff.  

EUA’s website says, “The influence of the digital transition is being felt across large swathes of society. This includes universities in their research, education and innovation missions, but also in their general organisation and management.” 

It identified benefits like: 

  • streamlined workflows
  • improved data management
  • enhanced communication
  • and reduced administrative burdens

And all of the above contributed to cost savings and increased efficiency overall.

3. There’s great help available

At Onymos, we aren’t just a technology platform. We’re a transformation partner. That’s why Onymos-powered OCR and IoT offerings are part of software solutions all over the world

We combine our software engineering experience with our customers’ expertise to help them build the products and systems students, administrators, doctors, and others use every day. When you partner with Onymos, you don’t just get an “account executive” and a suite of complex software parts. We connect you with our own development team, just like they were your own.  

If that’s not enough, we go further than anyone else in the industry, because we offer you our entire source code. How’s that for transparency? And because Onymos is serverless, nothing comes between you and your (and your users’) data, ensuring compliance and security.  

If your institution is falling behind on Dx, get in touch with us to find out how we can help you accelerate the transformation! 

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