2022 How the University of Kentucky uses data to stay ahead of higher education trends


For these in increased training, the beginning of a brand new decade has meant the rise of numerous surprising — and substantial — challenges of their trade.

First, the COVID-19 pandemic upended life as we knew it, necessitating fast closings and the short-term suspension of in-person training on an enormous scale. Faculties and universities all over the world abruptly needed to discover methods to meet their obligations to greater than 1 billion students, all whereas working remotely.

Then, the long-term ramifications came into focus: Larger ed establishments needed to forge a brand new path ahead, one by the (comparatively) short-term challenges of COVID-19 and into the long-term challenges of coming generations. These challenges, although, are additionally alternatives — whether or not it involves the general technological flexibility enabled by the cloud, the elevated availability of information analytics to tell operational determination making, or the overall ubiquity of expertise throughout college students’ lives.

To embrace these challenges and capitalize on these alternatives, increased ed leaders should contemplate a number of key questions: What’s going to it seem like to satisfy the wants of scholars going ahead? How are you going to embrace new applied sciences to construct the college of the long run? And, above all else, how are you going to proceed to offer high quality training and wonderful scholar experiences alongside the way in which?

Larger Ed, White and Blue  

The mission of the University of Kentucky, based mostly in Lexington, Ky., has lengthy been to teach, analysis, innovate, heal and serve. However fulfilling that mission in a post-COVID world seems fairly totally different than it did when the land-grant college was based over 155 years in the past. That’s why college president Eli Capilouto introduced Kentucky’s Path Ahead initiative in late 2021: to establish and implement new methods to function extra effectively and cost-effectively, and to proceed the college’s custom of offering high-quality training.

“We checked out our operations and tech procurement, and it wasn’t the place it wanted to be,” stated Barry Swanson, chief procurement officer for the College of Kentucky.

The college, stated Govt Director of Enterprise Applications Adam Recktenwald, wanted a extra versatile system, one that may concurrently help and lead his crew as they tailored to a brand new working mannequin.

“Effectivity and effectiveness are first,” he stated, “and that comes again to 1 factor: how properly the methods work and combine.”

Going Wild(cat) About Student Expertise

Because the college evolves, value management have to be a major consideration. As an illustration, management knew it wanted a greater manner of managing bills associated to housing, which is often one of many largest value facilities for universities. Nonetheless, they needed to verify they balanced any minimizing of the housing funds with the continuous provision of high-quality housing that creates nice scholar experiences (an enormous consider recruitment and income).

Making the most effective choices about operations, bills and scholar experiences required a better reliance on knowledge. The College of Kentucky crew realized they’d want expertise able to analyzing the large volumes of knowledge they might acquire in order that they might higher inform important, forward-thinking choices.

“Observe the chief will be all-too-common in increased ed,” Recktenwald stated. “So, realizing our stance and realizing the results of our choices is extraordinarily vital.”

Iterating and Innovating

As decades-long SAP customers, the College of Kentucky crew knew the worth of expertise in serving to to satisfy its challenges. Since deploying its enterprise useful resource planning (ERP) system in 2004, the college has all the time taken an iterative strategy to digitizing processes.

So, when it was time to maneuver its IT surroundings ahead once more to handle the brand new COVID-19-related challenges, the College of Kentucky selected SAP, this time implementing SAP Ariba Catalog and SAP Ariba Commerce Automation. Transitioning to this SAP cloud surroundings enabled the college to help distant work and join with distributors and suppliers. It additionally streamlined operations and elevated visibility into operations, prices and scholar success components.  

One of many greatest impacts SAP Ariba has had on the College of Kentucky is entry to knowledge insights. “With SAP Ariba, we’re utilizing knowledge to make choices,” Recktenwald stated. “We need to make each greenback depend. Meaning working effectively, getting the most effective pricing from distributors and getting the most effective contracts.  This effectivity permits us to concentrate on ensuring we offer a high-quality training and life-changing scholar experiences.”

“The generations of scholars coming into the College of Kentucky have expectations which might be rather a lot totally different than 5 to 10 years in the past,” Recktenwald stated. “They need a high-quality training that’s remote-enabled. Students need to have the ability to examine at dwelling with expertise. However placing every part solely on-line isn’t the reply. A stellar residential expertise is an enormous a part of school. The individuals you meet, the experiences you’ve got, that’s such an enormous a part of it. We’ve actually realized that again and again, particularly throughout COVID-19. There’s an enormous distinction between coaching and true training. That’s the hole we need to fill.”

Cloud is the Path Ahead

Recktenwald identified that high-quality training depends upon operational efficiencies, a concentrate on scholar success, and data-based determination making. All three require help from expertise.

“Methods in the present day actually are way more complicated, however they’re additionally way more succesful,” he stated. “Even inside customized initiatives are born within the cloud. At this level, cloud is simply the lifestyle.”

Moreover, cloud options are positioning the College of Kentucky for the way forward for the enterprise facet of upper training as properly. “Each state of affairs we’ve been concerned with concerning distributors within the final 4-8 years has had an enormous cloud element,” Recktenwald stated.

ResearchandMarkets.com research confirms that increased training is offered on cloud. Analysts are predicting an outstanding 22% CAGR within the increased training cloud computing market from 2020 by 2027.

As a result of cloud options not solely allow distant work and studying, they provide better flexibility to adapt to vary in an unsure time. And so they guarantee faculties and universities will be capable of proceed delivering the distinctive, life-changing experiences they’re dedicated to offering.


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