Bye-Bye Silos, Hello Collaboration: Why Institutions Need Workflow Software Now

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While the world of academia may thrive on scholarly collaboration, the world of higher education administration continues to be plagued by silos. These isolated domains, both physical and technological, are replete with information barriers and communication breakdowns that hinder collaboration and impede the efficient delivery of education. Consider the professor who needs IT support but gets caught in the labyrinth of departmental tech teams, or the student whose inquiry spends days bouncing between various campus offices. To overcome these issues, institutions need a solution: workflow management software.

What Is Workflow Management Software?

In higher education, workflows—series of actions that need to be completed in a specific order—can incorporate various administrative tasks, such as registration processing, new faculty onboarding, work study reimbursement, you name it.

Workflow management software enables institutions to input these administrative tasks into an integrated software portal that uses rules, contingencies, and communication tools to automate the workflow process. Where a student may have previously been required to go through a host of manual processes to reapply for financial aid, for example, the process can become automated by having the system distribute required documents to the necessary stakeholders via email or via a workflow portal before moving on to the next step.

Why Does Higher Education Need Workflow Software?

Consider all the daily tasks on a college campus that require participation from multiple departments: student housing assignments, course withdrawals, documenting and tracking purchase orders, etc. Tasks like these can get bogged down by manual processes and paper-based operations. When admissions applications pile up, approvals get lost in email chains, and tracking down a single student record takes hours. This leads to intense frustration for all involved.

How Can Workflow Software Improve Communication and Collaboration?

Workflow software acts as a digital hub for workflow management across the institution. It integrates with other core academic systems, which enables it to leverage data from across campus as well as send communications seamlessly between departments. What else can workflow management software do?

Streamline and Automate Processes: Workflow software automates repetitive tasks, significantly improving administrative process efficiency and freeing up staff to work one-on-one with students.

Improve Collaboration: Workflow software provides a centralized platform for communication. Tasks can be managed across departments, breaking down administrative and communication silos and ensuring teams in multiple departments are on the same page.

Enhance Transparency: By allowing for better monitoring, workflow software ensures accountability as well as the timely completion of tasks. In tasks that require cross-departmental cooperation, this transparency can lead to better decision-making.

Reduce Errors: By automating things like data entry and task routing, workflow software minimizes human error and ensures consistency, leading to fewer mistakes and a smoother overall experience for everyone involved.

Increase Staff, Faculty, and Student Engagement: Because tasks that used to require manual participation are now much easier to accomplish, staff, faculty, and students can spend less time on administrative processes. When tasks are easy to complete, engagement rates will rise.

Improving Experiences Across Campus

Students aren’t the only demographic on a college campus that expect a seamless and efficient experience from their universities. New hires also expect their place of work to offer [relatively] painless processes. Even faculty are now more used to working in learning management systems than they are in paper-based gradebooks; they expect the ability to transfer grades from their LMS to the registrar with the click of a button. Institutions that can provide these experiences will likely experience greater retention rates across the board.

If you’re interested in streamlining processes like admissions, financial aid, course registration, onboarding, student support, and more, consider adopting workflow software on campus. Better yet, look for workflow software designed specifically for higher education. Jenzabar Workflow, for instance, integrates with Jenzabar One, is easy to set up, and offers staff an intuitive, user-friendly way to create and manage workflows.

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