What Is Workflow Management Software for Higher Education?

Workflow software for higher education enables departments across campus to automate previously manual processes by creating workflows that break through departmental silos.

Workflow Management Software for Higher Education

How Can You Empower Efficiency and Collaboration With Workflow Automation? 

The world of higher education is a traditionally siloed one, with many departments operating within a vacuum. While many college campuses are in the midst of improving operations via digital transformation, technology has the potential to exacerbate these silos, especially if a campus is using a best-of-breed approach to technology adoption. In fact, on many college campuses, tasks that require cross-departmental collaboration still have manual processes in place: study abroad, housing assignments, course withdrawal, the list goes on. 

But workflow software, specifically workflow software designed for higher education, is a powerful tool that can help higher education institutions automate these manual processes, thereby improving efficiency, cross-departmental collaboration, and experiences for users across campus.

What Are Workflows, and What Does Workflow Management Software Do?

A workflow is a series of tasks or actions that need to be completed in a specific order to achieve a desired outcome. In higher education, workflows can incorporate various administrative tasks, such as admissions processing, financial aid distribution, course registration, faculty onboarding, and student support services.

Workflow management software is software the enables institutions to input these administrative tasks into a software portal and use rules, contingencies, and communications tools to automate the workflow process. For example: A student wanting to withdraw from a semester would have previously had to go to the registrar’s office, pick up a slip, and have it physically signed by multiple professors. Using workflow software, the entire withdrawal process becomes automated, with the required document travelling to the necessary stakeholders via email or via a workflow portal.

How Does Workflow Management Software Benefit Higher Education?

Because workflow software acts as a digital hub for workflow management, it empowers higher education institutions in several key ways:

Workflow Management Software Streamlines and Automates Processes: 

Workflow software automates repetitive tasks, eliminating the need for manual data entry. Not only does this significantly improve the overall efficiency of administrative processes, it frees up staff to spend time on more strategic initiatives or working one-on-one with students.

Workflow Management Software Improves Collaboration:

Not only does workflow management software provide a centralized platform for workflow management, it also provides a centralized platform for communications. Tasks can be managed across departments, breaking down both administrative and communications silos. Teams in multiple departments can now be on the same page, viewing the same information, and working together to make sure tasks are accomplished.

Workflow Management Software Provides Enhanced Transparency:

Workflow software provides real-time visibility into the progress of workflows. By allowing for better monitoring, this transparency ensures accountability as well as the timely completion of tasks. This enhanced transparency can also lead to better decision-making, especially on tasks that require cross-departmental cooperation.

Workflow Management Software Reduces Errors and Improves Decision-Making:

Process automations like data entry and task routing minimize human error and ensure consistency in processes. This leads to fewer mistakes and a smoother overall experience for everyone involved. Because workflow management software also enables the collection of data-driven insights into workflow performance, it enables stakeholders to make more informed decision and to further optimize and automate processes.

Workflow Management Software Increases Student Engagement and Satisfaction:

Because workflow management software automates processes, tasks that used to require manual student participation are now much easier to accomplish. Requests for information, transcripts, or course permissions can be made with a simple click and can move easily through the steps of a pre-designed workflow. Students can spend less time on administrative processes and more time on learning objectives. And because these processes are now so much easier for students, workflow management software increases student engagement.

How Is Workflow Management Software Used in Higher Education?

There are numerous ways workflow software can be utilized in higher education. Here are just a few examples:

Automate Admissions Processes:

With workflow software, admissions teams can automate application processing, document verification, and communications with potential students. By streamlining these processes, workflow software increases engagement and efficiency for both students and staff. It creates more opportunities for admissions teams to interface with potential students and makes it easier for students to complete admissions-related tasks.

Streamline Financial Aid-Related Tasks:

Applying for financial aid is one of the most complicated processes students undertake, and financial aid is often a critical factor in student enrollment. Workflow software can automate processes related to financial aid applications, awards management, and disbursement processing, ensuring timely and accurate financial aid delivery to students. This, in turn, can help institutions meet enrollment goals and improve student retention. 

Maximize Course Registration Efficiency: 

The complexity of registering for courses can often turn potential students away from an institution—especially non-traditional students who wish to sign up for non-credit courses. Workflow management software can simplify multi-step tasks like online course registration and waitlist management. It can automate processes like sending out class notifications, making the overall course registration process a smoother experience for students and faculty alike.

Simplify Faculty Onboarding:

There’s a great deal of staff turnover in higher education. Workflow management software can create a smooth higher education onboarding experience for new faculty by automating tasks related to documentation submission and clearance. This not only improves the onboarding experience for faculty, but it reduces administrative burdens and the likelihood of HR burnout.

Improve Student Support Services: 

The better institutions can make the student experience, the more likely a student is to reenroll in the institution. Workflow management software can manage student inquiries, automate requests for transcripts, and make it easy to request other support services, ensuring timely and effective support for students.

How Does Workflow Automation Work Alongside Other Higher Education Technology? 

Workflow software has the potential to play a crucial role in the broader higher education technology landscape. By integrating with existing systems, such as student information systems, financial aid systems, learning management systems, and finance systems, workflow management software creates a more unified and data-driven ecosystem. This not only improves operational efficiency but also fosters a more positive learning environment for students and faculty alike.

How Can I Implement Workflow Management Software at My Institution?

Investing in workflow software is a strategic decision for higher education institutions seeking to optimize processes, enhance student satisfaction, and achieve long-term success in today's competitive landscape. Jenzabar Workflow is pre-integrated with Jenzabar One. It is self-implemented and enables users to customize workflows that span across departments, offering staff an intuitive and user-friendly way to set up and manage automated workflows. 

You can learn more about Jenzabar Workflow here.