Why SaaS ERP is the future for higher education
Cloud and SaaS are not new concepts for Higher Education. Institutions have been making use of them to manage many services for years. But wholesale cloud-driven digital transformation has yet to reach as deeply and broadly as the foundational enterprise systems that run your institution's financial and HR management systems, underpinning the student success machine.
Making the cloud transformation at this depth opens up a whole new world of connected planning and institutional insights. But change-averse cultures and downward cost pressures have made many reluctant to explore switching to fully cloud-based ERP systems. The irony is that the level of connection and insight that only cloud systems can provide is actually key to transforming institutional cultures into innovative collaborations functioning at peak efficiency because they enable working in ways that make sense for the higher education industry and for the people who drive it.
Higher Education faces a pivotal moment of transformation
Years of increasing expectations around the student journey in terms of flexible delivery models and digital interactions - along with public scepticism about value for money – have combined to create a pressing challenge. Tuition revenue and government funding simply can’t cover the costs of increasing complexity using the same operational and administrative models.
In this climate, institutions must streamline to survive – and they must also make plans based on up-to-the minute analyses of accounting, resources, and assets. This requires a level of insight, integration, automation, and sheer computing power that legacy systems are simply incapable of delivering.
These previously slow burning challenges are culminating now, a year into remote learning and working and quick-pivot planning. Operational models need to catch up to expectations, not just for new delivery models and faster operational response time, but also to a different work experience characterized by autonomy and flexibility.
But why is SaaS the solution?
An integrated SaaS platform gives you the opportunity to connect other key systems' data for even more comprehensive institution-wide planning. Some of your systems – like LMS and collaboration tools – are likely already running in the cloud, either from earlier change projects or because the circumstances of the pandemic forced a move.
One of the great strengths of modern SaaS ERP platforms is their ability to integrate easily and connecting the data from other strategic solutions. Giving you a single view of all institutional data, and allowing you to spot everything from upcoming financial emergencies to opportunities for growth. Giving your teams the ability to test and implement innovative solutions before it’s too late. Intelligent process automation – powered by AI and machine learning – also allows the progressive automation of routine tasks. Meaning everyone can focus on higher value activities and innovation, stepping in only to handle exceptions.
Leave security and compliance to the experts
One of the biggest IT challenges for any organization is the question of security. Any new system must be assessed thoroughly for risk. In sectors like Higher Ed, the question of regulatory frameworks and compliance – especially around the handling of personal data – make requirements even more onerous.
SaaS solutions allow organizations to benefit from providers’ economies of scale, expertise, and meticulous focus on security to manage data instead of spending internal time and resources that could be better used to develop creative new workflows and solutions to ease admin and focus on delivering exceptional student journeys. Plus, with SaaS you're guaranteed to benefit from automatic, iterative updates to your solution without having to plan large scale upgrades that tie up resources and disrupt normal operations with lengthy downtime periods.
SaaS ERP will allow you to secure your institution’s future
You're already making big changes to deliver the next generation of higher education as a result of external conditions - let us help you lay a solid foundation for agility and innovation now and into the future for your internal response. And help you empower your people to embrace change with improved user experience and tools to help them succeed in their work - the next generation of workplace is also necessary.
ERPx - Unit4's next generation cloud ERP platform - is now available. We’re ready and waiting to help you build your institution's resilience and flexibility, give your people the insights and experience they need to help them innovate and deliver the service your students demand, and take the strain of administration away so you can focus on creating world-class educational outcomes.
With ERPx it’s easy to make organizational changes in a couple of clicks that will be reflected across all relevant processes automatically. Plus, as your technology ecosystem changes to meet changing market demands, the flexible architecture allows you to easily add, remove and adjust connected systems.
Connect finance, HCM and planning with all your strategic data across campus on our next generation platform to get the future-forward insights you need to build a resilient institution.