Higher ed tech providers on AI in campus business processes

“In your experience, how much are campus offices using artificial intelligence for business process and what needs to happen for administrators to adopt more of this technology for business uses?”

“Universities have begun adopting AI and machine learning technology to help answer questions related to metrics, such as student recruitment, retention and potential alumni donations, but have been slow to apply the technologies to other areas of university operations. Departments like finance or operations generate massive amounts of data that can yield invaluable insights when analyzed with the right combination of AI and data analytics tools.” Anthony Young, enterprise architect, U.S. higher education, Tableau

“While AI has seen some traction in select areas—such as chatbots helping prospective students navigate enrollment and in the classroom to help instructors engage students—there is room to grow in terms of administrative adoption. IT leaders must provide a clear road map and explain how AI connects people, systems and processes to enhance student services, support data-driven decision-making and support real-time service delivery on campus in order to adopt AI as part of an enterprise IT strategy.” Linda Ding, director of strategic marketing, Laserfiche

“AI usage across higher education is still in its infancy. However, we’re seeing adoption in areas such as admissions and retention. Admissions offices apply AI to better understand how many incoming-student offers to make to hit enrollment targets. For retention, AI is applied to provide institutional analytics as well as identify individual students who need attention. The key is helping the humans in the process—not replacing them.” Brian Knotts, senior vice president and chief architect, Ellucian  

“Most institutions adopt AI for student-related applications, but the case for the efficiencies to support business process is a great one. From chatbots that help workers navigate operations more effectively and reduce turnover and training to improving facilities management, the beauty of the options is that the payout is more efficient work that may eliminate unnecessary positions and free up employees to focus more on making the student successful.” Meghan Turjanica, product manager, analytics and student success, Jenzabar

“There’s minimal adoption of AI across financial aid. The result is that it robs staff of time and focus that could be directed to personalized student advising. For that to change, higher ed needs the mindset to change to one that is laser-focused on student experience. The best student experience feels guided to the student. AI-driven processes use data to ensure students don’t fall through the cracks.” Chris Chumley, chief operating officer, CampusLogic

“Artificial intelligence has the potential to automate business processes—providing insight into the needs and behaviors of students, streamlining back-office operations, and enhancing recruiting and retention of students, faculty and staff. For administrators to adopt it and realize its value, it’s essential to scale AI-powered applications across the institution; to streamline processes throughout the student life cycle; and to better manage the overall business of running a university, including its finances, staff and program offerings.” Keith Rajecki, vice president, industry solutions for global public sector, education and research, Oracle

The nascent use of AI in higher education, especially conversational AI, is producing exciting results in recruitment, academics, and student support services. To increase adoption, administrators must first educate themselves on AI technology and its strategic applications throughout the enterprise, share best practices with other higher ed institutions, and form true strategic partnerships with vendors and industry practitioners. —Mark McNasby, CEO, Ivy.ai

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