Intelligent CIO Europe Issue 63 | Page 76

INDUSTRY WATCH the most value – i . e ., those that are time and cost consuming without meaningfully enhancing the student experience – so that staff can be freed up to focus their efforts on those processes where a human touch is truly irreplaceable .
Automation isn ’ t a half measure
Alistair Sergeant , Founder and CEO of Equantiis high-volume , low-value tasks that staff must carry out act as a barrier to the areas of their work where human engagement can have the most value .
While automation can certainly be revolutionary to university processes , it should not be seen as a silver bullet solution to all the operational challenges that institutions face . In fact , there are certain processes that should never be automated because a human presence can be far more valuable . Although there are many aspects of the student experience that can be automated , it is vital that students are able to communicate with university staff when they need to . For example , if a student is having a problem with their loan , or there is an issue with their accommodation that may be causing them distress , speaking to a human worker can be far more reassuring and helpful than simply relaying their concerns to a digital assistant that cannot comprehend the problems they are facing on an emotional level .
In this sense , the key to successful adoption of AI is identifying the processes where automation can have
While total Digital Transformation might be the ultimate aim for universities , the nature of the economic crisis they face means that this is not currently a realistic goal for many . As such , automation can provide the perfect solution for institutions looking to drive efficiencies without causing costs to spiral , given the significant savings and efficiencies that they stand to benefit from the technology .
Despite this , automation should not be seen as a compromise or detour from universities ’ aspirations of achieving Digital Transformation . Instead , it should be considered an important first step in their journey to introducing technologies throughout every facet of their organisation that can drive efficiencies and , ultimately , accomplish significant time and cost savings .
Universities have , and always will be , invaluable institutions that play a vital role in empowering and inspiring generations of gifted and talented young people . As such , it is crucial that they are protected from the financial hardships that pose a serious threat to their longevity and continued prosperity . Automation holds the key to achieving this and helps universities bring their services and processes right in line with what students expect , and in the most cost-effective way possible . p
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