Impact of Covid-19 on Higher Education- Part 2

Technology touch points across the student/staff journey


Improving the student/staff experience using high-quality service design and customer journey mapping helps identify where the key opportunity areas exist to enhance the experience. It also allows technologists to identify where Technology and data insights could improve the journey. The diagram below shows a typical staff/student technology architecture covering the front office, back office, campus infrastructure or digital platforms. The front office executing customer-facing functions have direct touchpoints with the students and the staff. The back-office solutions provide analytics, technical and administrative support services.

The Impact of Covid-19 on IT Spend


Covid-19 has and will impact the IT spend profile. In the attached Raconteur survey extract (see diagram below), we see IT spend growth areas include learning management software, security software, remote desktop software and collaboration tools. The reduced IT spend areas are in HR, Finance, and other marketing strategies. When it came to a sector view, the Education sector has made the highest investment in digital transformation, followed by Financial services and accounting. Then IT and computer software came third in the list.

It is clear from this data that it is vital to enable and utilize technology to enhance the student experience. It is critical for their learning experience. 


Students Survey Results


From the gleaned student surveys, we can also see that students very much value technology and are appreciative of the desktop, laptop and tablets that become necessary for there education. Reliable WiFi and cloud technology enable them to store and access course materials and content information at will. Students also wish to have additional skills embedded in their teachings and courses. This supports them to develop their digital skills prior to the course commencement, during the induction process, throughout their course as an ongoing activity and when they enter future working life. Clear articulation and alignment of study and workplace throughout the learning process help them understand and recognize these skills. It encourages collaboration to emulate business practices and promote workplace ethics that are valued by the employees. 


Accelerated Workplace Digital Transformation


Pre-COVID-19 digital transformation was progressing but albeit at a slower pace. The global pandemic has accelerated this agenda by a couple of decades. An example of this has been the digital remote workplace change where earlier 80% of the workforce went to the office, and today 80% are working from home. This adaptive agile and accelerated movement to get staff to work remotely was done in weeks by IT departments across the world. The rapid adoption of technology as an enabler was executed using adaptive Agile, DevSecOps and Cloud technologies at speed to aid IT and business agility aligned to the business needs.


It is a fact that technology advances at an exponential rate. However, organizations do not change or adapt that quickly. See Martec’s Law and diagram below. This is because of organizational changes in new ways of working and requires a corresponding change in behavior and culture. Unlearning and learning takes time. There is also a limit to the volume of change an organization can effectively absorb at any given time. Organizations change at a logarithmic rate, much slower than exponential technological growth. What organizations need to be careful about is that they don’t let the gap between technology adoption and organization change absorption widen as the organizational reset required becomes more extensive with time.

Thanks to the pandemic, the IT department has been given a wonderful opportunity to build upon the successes of the move to digital remote working across industries, especially education. This is to demonstrate agile deployments of technologies and techniques to reduce the gap between technology adoption and organization change absorption as described by Martec’s Law.


IT departments have successfully demonstrated how agile they can be in deploying technology change at pace, adapting and learning as they proceeded. The adaptive digital model in driving cultural behaviour change through technology deployment in an iterative model is the way forward, as commonly described in Digital Transformation ways of working - please see this depicted in the diagram below:

This is an excellent time for IT to ‘rise to the occasion’ and enable digital transformation and change. It is also a good time for the CIO and his team to drive strategic change agenda whilst understanding that prudent investments should be made in priority areas. Efficiency gains are sorted to address budget shortfalls in short to medium term. The focus should be using technology to enhance the staff/student experience by delivering teaching/research in a hybrid/blended delivery model.


IQS helps organizations to enhance employee and customer experience through Digital and IT Transformation. We can help you measure, monitor, and enhance your IT end-user and customer experience to deliver on your transformation objectives.


‘We Solve Digital and IT Transformation Problems You Think Can’t Be Solved’


Please visit the IQS website to view our work and case studies across the Higher Education sector on Digital Transformation:


https://www.innovativequalitysolutions.co.uk/case-studies


To know more about how we can bring about Digital and IT transformation to enhance IT end-user and customer experience, watch our webinar or connect with us for a free consultation where we can explore your needs. We look forward to hearing from you.