Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.
— Malcolm X.
Higher education institutions have different constraints and challenges than businesses in the private sector but still have a need to modernize their technology and optimize their business processes. Higher Education has healthy competition in the form of athletics, student recruitment, scholarships and fellows. But modernizing campus operations to save time and money by investing in technology has not experienced the same competitive drive.
The communal nature of the Higher Education industry lends itself to shared learnings about how to manage federally regulated administration. WonderBotz has created The Higher Education Consortium, a way for universities to share:
- Digital Transformation learnings
- RPA (Robotic Process Automation) development costs
- Access to emerging technology such as AI
- Automations using common systems like Ellucian Banner
- The talent required to deploy these technologies
We believe, this solution can help answer the top challenge identified by Gartner® in their report Top Technology Trends in Higher Education for 2023.
The 2023 CIO and Technology Executive Survey shows that the top higher education enterprise priority is customer/user experience. The challenge is to modernize service provision at the same time as dealing with significant legacy issues.
The call for RPA in Higher Education
RPA, a component of modern software automation, has two places in Higher Education. The first is in the classroom. Students are learning RPA, AI (Artificial Intelligence), and ML (Machine Learning) in their computer science curriculum, gaining the skills to become the innovators of the future. There is also a newfound awareness among the administration to bring the same technology to the university operations.
Improving the user experience of the student demonstrates to them the advantages of modern technology and innovation and the school’s commitment to educating competitively. This starts with the institution’s modernization through digital transformation efforts, thus bringing RPA to higher Education holistically.
Several Universities have started to offer a modern curriculum but continue to task their employees with manual, repetitive work that was automated by the Fortune 500s over a decade ago. How can we attract students who will carry the legacy of the university into their careers, when the very infrastructure that supports them has yet to innovate? It is the proverbial tale of the cobbler with holes in his shoes.
Where to start with Robotic Process Automation for Higher Education
For universities, the bursar’s office is the business unit most ripe for early automation wins. Student enrollment, grant and scholarship applications, and other Ellucian Banner ERP record entries are all great starts for RPA in Higher Education Institutions.
Here is where the bulk of volume-based entries, multiple reconciliations and likely outdated systems can quickly be optimized and realize value for the institution. A bursar’s dream would be to quantify the year’s spend and reduce the effort it takes to forecast costs for future recruits and incoming freshmen for the following year.
It was a no-brainer to start by automating our grant creation processes. Once we scored those early wins, we could expand RPA into other processes and departments.
– Eric Gold • Senior Business Analyst, Virginia Commonwealth University
Because the University fiscal year aligns with a school-year, the operating capital doesn’t extend past 8 months and therefore budget considerations must be tighter with a more finite project-completion timeline. There is not room for errors or “early-adoption” mistakes causing budget and timeline overruns. This is where the shared learnings of the Education Consortium and WonderBotz prebuilt solutions are invaluable.
The WonderBotz Education Consortium
WonderBotz is committed to bringing the brightest future to the students of today by helping institutions modernize and become the schools of tomorrow. Our mission to “Restore Humanity Now” inspired us to create a way to serve the whole of the Higher Education Community, as a community.
The WonderBotz Education Consortium allows schools to share their reusable RPA components and completed automations in our shared library. As most schools are working with the Ellucian Banner ERP, for example, there is a tremendous opportunity to reuse code components from institutions who were early adopters in RPA. With so many similar processes behind the walls of Higher Education organizations, there is enormous synergy to be had across the ecosystem. After helping three schools deploy their first software bots, WonderBotz knew we had to democratize the adoption of this powerful tech.
This synergy occurred in Virginia when VCU contributed 40% of the reusable RPA code from their automation to the WonderBotz Education Consortium. The same value story was deployed in two other Virginia schools who shared the same retirement and grant feedback challenge presented by Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). WonderBotz is now supporting collective Custom RPA Development, allowing 2-5 schools to split the cost of new custom development builds. Working together, institutions can lower the barrier of entry, making Intelligent Automation in higher education reachable for all universities.
Getting Started with WonderBotz
Welcome to WonderBotz, your Hyperautomation partner. We are committed to increasing business efficiency, company morale, and innovation through the use of automation. Automating repetitive computer-based tasks frees your human staff to be more creative, take better care of your customers, and get more done.
We work with the best in brand software solutions to bring you the latest technologies on the market. Our team of RPA developers, Software architects, and business consultants are standing by to provide any help you need to make your Automation goals a reality. Whether you choose to purchase RPA tools one at a time or build out your full Automation CoE, we can find the right solutions to fit your specific business needs.
Our newest offering simplifies the RPA process by creating an all-in-one Managed Service. Based on your business needs we can build you the perfect RPA Tool Kit. With consumption-based pricing (pay for only what you use) we can finally make top-of-the-line RPA tools available to organizations of all sizes.
Frequently asked questions
RPA for Higher Education is bringing Robotic Process Automation technology to universities to automate repetitive high-volume tasks. Student enrollment, grant and scholarship applications, and other Ellucian Banner ERP record entries are all great starts for RPA in Higher Education Institutions.
Intelligent Automation Solutions for Higher Education are important for institutions seeking to keep their competitive edge by scaling their back-offices with intelligent automation. Higher Education Automation is a newer concept, although many prominent institutions are deploying bots in both their curriculums and augmenting their knowledge workers with a digital workforce.
GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.