Jun 15 2020

Preparing for Campus Readiness While Cutting Costs

While each school has different needs and priorities, let’s take a look at how higher education can maximize efficiencies for the fall semester.

Now that the spring semester is over, universities have an opportunity to reflect on how they can better set up their institutions for swift transitions to online learning — should they ever need to make the switch again. 

While summer is traditionally a season for IT upgrades, this year’s priorities will be bolstering online learning infrastructure, cutting costs and preparing for campus readiness. 

Keeping in mind that each school has different needs and priorities, let’s take a general look at how higher education can maximize efficiencies in these different areas.

MORE ON EDTECH: Learn about why in a remote learning landscape, tech adoption has never been more critical.

Effectively Preparing for Campus Readiness

Unless an institution already has a robust online offering, many colleges may feel pressure to reopen campuses to maintain enrollment and retention rates. 

Most postsecondary education institutions are currently transforming learning spaces into hybrid classrooms to support social distancing. This can be as basic as setting up Zoom, RingCentral or Cisco Webex cameras that connect with monitors at the front of classrooms. 

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for a safe reopening, many schools are considering using density maps that can pinpoint highly trafficked areas, as well as data analytics tools for enforcing social distancing and managing contact tracing. It is critical for schools to have the right analytical tools, as universities risk inviting lawsuits if campuses reopen without proper infection prevention and control strategies in place.

And of course, having a good supply of personal protective equipment is also on a lot of universities’ priority lists.

Maximizing Return on Investments in Higher Ed

When colleges and universities face steep budget cuts, every penny counts. Now is the time to re-evaluate the products and solutions you are currently utilizing. Which software renewals are necessary? And are you maximizing your leverage on all of your tools? If not, you might be paying for several products that serve the same purpose. 

Take, for example, the new Microsoft Office 365 plan A5 suite. The A5 plan offers a wealth of security components. But many universities are not taking advantage of all the security benefits and still paying for additional endpoint security solutions that are essentially duplicates of what the A5 plan provides. 

With that said, another powerful tool that many colleges are not taking maximum advantage of is data analytics. 

Most higher ed institutions already have the data they need to better understand how their processes, technologies and resources can be used to deliver value for students. The issue is that not many schools know how to leverage this critical data to make business-savvy decisions. 

This is where using the right analytics platforms can help your institution increase not only profitability but also public trust. From raising retention and graduation rates to using density mapping to create and enforce social distancing measures, it is vital that higher education leaders know how to effectively use their data to make impactful decisions. (Degree Analytics, in particular, is a comprehensive university analytics platform that can help you actualize these goals.)

With that said, choosing the right products for your institution’s unique needs is no easy task. Nor is it always clear how you can fully take advantage of these tools. 

With the future of higher education at stake, simply working with original equipment manufacturers doesn’t cut it anymore. To get the returns you want, you need more than order fulfillments. This is why having consultation and guidance from value-added resellers — like CDW·G — is necessary if you want to make sharper business decisions. 

Notably, CDW·G offers IT optimization workshops that assess where IT departments can cut costs and increase efficiencies. After working with diverse organizations across various industry verticals, we have countless lessons and best practices to share with you.

This article is part of EdTech: Focus on Higher Education’s UniversITy blog series.

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