Transitioning to centralised data management: A solution for higher education efficiency

Janine Chasmer
Janine Chasmer

Data silos stand as the primary obstacle to efficiency in higher education, creating a myriad of issues ranging from data inconsistency to limited interoperability and departmental coordination. This results in poor student and staff experiences.

The transition to centralised data-management presents a solution to these challenges, promising improved efficiency and effectiveness. Nevertheless, changes must be approached in the right way in order to secure stakeholder buy-in and cooperation at all stages.

Addressing cost

One significant hurdle in the transition to centralised data management is the concern over upfront costs. Implementing a centralised approach may require initial investment in infrastructure, technology and training. However, it’s imperative for institutions to recognise the long-term benefits that often outweigh these upfront expenses.

Centralised access to data allows for streamlined processes, reduces manual efforts and improves student and staff experiences, and overall cost savings over time. To mitigate cost concerns, institutions can conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis, illustrating the financial advantages of the transition and taking care to choose the right solutions for them, without spending on unnecessary features. Adopting a phased implementation approach can furthermore help to spread costs over time, making the transition more manageable and financially viable.

Garnering support

Successfully navigating the transition to centralised data management requires strong support from stakeholders across various faculties and departments. Establishing a change management team can play a pivotal role in rallying support, representing the interests of different individuals and departments and addressing concerns effectively.

Clear and transparent communication of the benefits of a centralised approach to data is paramount in garnering support and fostering a culture of acceptance among staff and faculty, particularly as employee resistance has been identified as the primary reason why 70% of all change initiatives fail according to Harvard researchers, with many allowing their personal fears of being displaced in their jobs or incapable of keeping up with new technologies get in the way of them using new technologies in favour of trusted yet failing legacy systems.

Involving stakeholders in decision-making processes and soliciting their feedback likewise fosters a sense of ownership in the transition, empowering individuals to drive the change and actively participate in the implementation of centralised data management.

Thinking about integration and adoption

Incorporating stakeholders into the requirements gathering and user journey mapping phase of a centralised data management project is paramount for seamless integration. By involving stakeholders from various departments or teams, the project team can gain valuable insights into current pain points and inefficiencies. This collaborative approach ensures that proposed solutions directly address existing challenges, fostering a sense of ownership and buy-in among stakeholders.

Moreover, by actively engaging stakeholders in the process, the project team can tailor solutions to meet specific needs and preferences, thereby increasing the likelihood of successful adoption. Rather than imposing a new way of working, stakeholders are more likely to embrace the changes when they can see tangible benefits and solutions that align with their objectives. Ultimately, this approach not only streamlines integration but also enhances overall project outcomes by fostering a culture of collaboration and shared responsibility.

Boosting communication

Effective communication is, of course, critical throughout the transition process. Establishing a comprehensive communication strategy ensures that all key stakeholders are informed about the benefits, objectives and implications of the new centralised approach to data, with regular communication channels – such as meetings, newsletters and training sessions – all serving to facilitate ongoing dialogue and engagement with staff and faculty.

Creating opportunities for feedback enables institutions to address concerns, solicit suggestions and incorporate stakeholder input into the implementation process. Moreover, establishing mechanisms for continual improvement and refinement based on feedback ensures that the transition from siloed systems to centralised data management is responsive to the evolving needs and priorities of the institution, keeping it adaptable and current.

From siloed systems to successful centralised data management

By addressing cost concerns, garnering support, thinking about integration and interoperability and maintaining open communication channels, higher education institutions can successfully transition to centralised data management without struggle.

This transformative shift promises efficiency, better decision making and sustained success in an increasingly competitive educational landscape, where embracing the opportunities presented by centralised data management allows them to adapt to evolving challenges, drive innovation and deliver value to students, faculty and investors alike.

Interested in finding out more? Equantiis is here to help – Book a meeting with a member of our team today.


Share this article

More about the author

Janine Chasmer
Janine Chasmer - Principal Consultant

Janine’s career includes 10 years in the not-for-profit sector, specifically within membership, and she leverages her industry expertise and first-hand experience with a wider range of clients, including Membership and Charity, where she provides consultancy on a range of areas including Business Strategy, Customer Experience improvement and process optimisation. In recent years, Janine has applied these consulting skills to the Education sector, supporting HE and FE institutions to improve their applicant and student experience at key phases such as application, enrolment, Clearing and progression. Other projects include Digital and Data Strategy, process and automation, and Student Journey optimisation. She has also worked as a SRM Functional Consultant, using this unique insight of both sector knowledge, and enabling technology to achieve transformational outcomes. Janine is also a regular event speaker and creates and shares industry and sector insights with her network.