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What
We Do

What
We Do

A Practical Approach for Transforming Higher Education

We help leadership, operations, and technology stakeholders work together to harmonize IT strategy with enterprise strategy, making them more agile and responsive to the changing needs of students, faculty, and school administration.

ENGAGEMENT TYPES

Our engagement methodology is (SEA)change, a comprehensive life cycle approach to Digital Transformation Management that enables you to apply (SEA) to your strategic digital transformation imperatives. We would be happy to customize our approach to meet your unique needs, or to leverage one of the following specialized engagements:

Emerging Tech & Innovation

Keeping up with technology changes, student expectations, and program innovations can be daunting.

It can be challenging to stay on top of emerging technology trends in the midst of the seismic shifts happening in higher education. Communication tools and preferences are constantly shifting, while delivery and business models are rapidly remaking the entire industry.

Higher Digital diligently follows developments in technology and business innovation, and synthesizes relevant details into targeted assessment and recommendations that address your immediate needs, while also helping you stay on top of important developments in technology and new approaches to higher education challenges, both in the U.S. and around the world. This enables our clients to continue innovating their businesses and capitalizing on technologies – staying ahead of competitors by providing the most up-to-date tools and services, delivered via the platforms today’s users expect (mobile, voice, AR?), thus boosting satisfaction, increasing productivity, and ultimately enhancing recruiting and retention results.

User Experience & Adoption

Institutions need to take over complete control of the digital experience; over-reliance on software vendors is a high risk.

In any business, user acceptance and adoption are critical — this is especially true for Higher Education. Student recruiting, satisfaction and retention are a huge part of every institution’s goals for their digital experience. A bad user experience (UX) is costly. It increases the number of user errors, reduces credibility, increases the need for training and support staff, and reduces overall adoption.

At Higher Digital we provide the expert guidance, strategy and training to accommodate user needs, behaviors, and desires in your solutions. We work with you on process improvements that will help your teams incorporate UX into their everyday life, showing them how to empathize with their users through user research, feedback, and experience mapping. We support you through each stage of the process – from discovery to design and development – ensuring that your teams have the know-how and hands on experience to fully embrace UX and measure its positive impact on adoption, satisfaction, and retention.

Business & Digital Strategy

Technology investments and process changes are necessary, but they should open up new revenue opportunities while addressing budget and cost concerns.

Information technology and digital services have become essential to higher education institutions. The evolution of systems, interfaces, and business models is accelerating, and students, faculty, staff, and other stakeholders have greater expectations than ever regarding the capabilities of their tools and the ability to access them anywhere.

Higher Digital provides strategic planning services that help you create high-level business plans covering current and future investments. We conduct comprehensive reviews of market conditions or best practices, along with deeper dives into specific technology and vendor options. This will ensure that you are solving the right problems, utilizing the vendors and solutions that best meet your needs, and aligning your technology efforts and investments with your overall organizational goals and strategy.

Enterprise Architecture

Integrations between systems and managing technical debt are vital for future innovations.

The increasing complexity and interconnectedness of digital systems on campuses, coupled with the rise in their importance to all areas of education and operations, makes it vital that such systems work well together. They need to be reliable, secure, and do the job they were procured for, without adding needless complexity or inconvenience.

Higher Digital helps organizations align their stakeholder requirements with technical solutions, ensure standardization and interoperability, and manage systems across the enterprise. Once you obtain buy-in throughout the organization, you will be able to ensure that systems work together and adhere to standards, which will enable further innovation across the organization, strengthen security and privacy compliance, and improve overall manageability. Higher Digital can support your Enterprise Architecture needs while helping you understand the EA function and how to implement it at your institution.

For Ellucian customers, Higher Digital offers Ethos Installation and Training Services, enabling a smooth transition to a modern integration architecture by leveraging Ellucian Ethos Integration and the Ellucian Ethos Data Model.

Organizational Agility & Alignment

How you make decisions and the length of time to deliver on those decisions will become more important with accelerating innovations.

Higher education institutions face increasingly complex challenges and opportunities, involving rapidly evolving technology innovations and business models. This presents not only profound and unexpected threats, but also new avenues for growth both online and internationally, so it has become essential for institutions to make decisions and deliver results in a timely manner.

Higher Digital can help you align your organization’s goals to deliver results in a timely manner, by employing our proprietary Simplified Enterprise Agile™, or (SEA)change, model. We will work with you to develop processes that enable rapid innovation and focus on the areas where it will have the greatest impact, allowing you to meet and even exceed your objectives.

Product Management & Strategy

Higher education institutions need to understand the major systems—CRM, SIS, Mobile, etc.—vendor roadmaps, and changes needed to best support the organization.

Software development projects can stray from their intended purpose over time, while technology projects and priorities in general can seem to focus more on what software or IT teams think is important than on the needs and priorities of the institution as a whole.

Higher Digital’s team optimization expertise can bring all stakeholders to the table and help you set clear requirements and priorities; understand external market forces that impact your decisions; and create a roadmap that includes prioritization, investment, and adoption strategy – and then help you build the capabilities to do this yourself with customized team optimization training. This will enable you to better coordinate technology projects with the needs of business and other stakeholders, and to formalize communications channels that will maintain this alignment.

Delivery & Execution

Institutions need to break down communication barriers and involve all stakeholders in processes that deliver continuous innovation, rather than massive waterfall projects.

The complexity of IT projects coupled with the pace of innovation in both technology and in higher education easily overwhelms traditional waterfall processes. Furthermore, siloed communications and project hand-offs inhibit the pace of change in institutions.

Higher Digital will help you implement new process methodologies like our own (SEA)Change system, enabling better communication among stakeholders and more frequent updates – freeing teams from their natural inclination to include every possible feature at once, and leading to better and more adaptable prioritization. Clear role definitions, better capacity planning, and continuous feedback from stakeholders will ensure that new and updated systems really meet user needs, and enable faster and more continuous innovation, which will lead to better results and a more modern image.

Data & Analytics

Institutions need to track and analyze data in the increasingly competitive higher education marketplace, so they can discover ways to improve recruitment and retention while demonstrating student success.

It is vital for organizations today to leverage data and its analysis to survive, because the most innovative and competitive of their rivals surely do. It can be daunting to keep up with all the tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and present data in a form that provides actionable information. The requirement for data-informed decisions extends across campus and is becoming even more critical due to COVID-19.

We help our clients to discover new ways to use their existing data to track key performance indicators (KPIs) in areas such as marketing effectiveness, enrollment programs, student engagement, user satisfaction, and systems performance. We also help create dashboards and reports that measure the incremental value produced by high priority initiatives against these KPIs. This combined approach helps institutions track progress at the portfolio level, measuring incremental improvements against strategic goals and prioritizing the allocation of resources to drive optimum returns.

Change Management

Institutions need to effectively navigate change in areas like technology, organization, and business models in order to succeed in today’s environment.

Organizational change can easily disrupt operations, while significant changes—often involving the adoption of new tools or technologies—often require careful preparation and communication to avoid chaos.

We help organizations create a methodical change process that involves—and achieves buy-in from—all stakeholders. We then work with them to train staff in the requisite skills; build the communication channels and infrastructure to implement the new process; and define the metrics and reporting to demonstrate its effectiveness and track results. This improved approach to managing change will help you achieve smooth transitions through the expanding organizational and technology changes facing today’s organizations.

Security & Privacy

Protecting sensitive, proprietary, and personal information is essential, more difficult than ever, and only getting worse.

It is becoming more and more challenging to maintain systems’ security while facing ever evolving threats and potential system vulnerabilities, which are exacerbated by the rapidly accelerating evolution of the threat landscape. Protecting the privacy of student data is particularly important in an educational context, while new and updated rules for maintaining the security of everyone’s personal information are suddenly emerging as well. These related challenges create a confusing hodge-podge of risks, responsibilities, compliance regulations, and jurisdictions.

We help our clients assess, analyze, and improve the security of their systems and networks, and apply currently-accepted best practices for complying with most globally accepted cybersecurity frameworks. We also monitor the quickly-developing legal and regulatory landscape around privacy, and provide timely advice covering which regulations apply and what compliance measures are recommended. This will ensure that you are taking all reasonable steps to protect your systems and their important and/or proprietary data—including vital operational and financial information, valuable intellectual property, and protected personal information about your students, faculty, staff, prospects, alumni, and anyone else who interacts with your systems.

CASE STUDIES

We believe that any institution, of any size or budget, can become an innovator. Explore examples of our work with a variety of institutions that have leveraged digital transformation to tackle their challenges, improve their operations, and enhance the value of the education they deliver.

Southern New Hampshire University Case Study

Southern New Hampshire University Selects Higher Digital for Modernization Initiative

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American University Case Study

American University Adopts (SEA)change to Achieve Agile Digital Transformation

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