What are the successful foundations for digital transformation? 

By Sarah Knight, head of learning and teaching transformation, Higher Education at Jisc and speaker at Ahead by Bett.
08 Jan 2024
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What are the successful foundations for digital transformation? 

Strategically embracing technology across universities is necessary for their enduring success. Digital transformation is a game-changing investment, addressing major challenges by making education flexible for everyone, optimising efficiency, fortifying resilience during disruptions, and even reducing environmental impact.  

Many universities now consider technology as intrinsic, especially since the pandemic and the consequential rapid transformation of teaching and learning. In fact, digital strategies are fast being woven into overall institutional strategies. However, with each organisation at its own unique digital transformation starting point, what are the foundations needed to succeed in fine-tuning the Higher Education experience for everyone? 

What is digital transformation?

At its core, digital transformation is about using technology to better meet the needs of students and staff, prioritising the people by making use of innovative advancements. It’s technology by name, but all about people by nature. Working closely with the sector, we have found that successful digital transformation requires effective digital leadership, appropriate investment, robust secure infrastructure, stakeholder engagement, and digitally capable staff and students.  

The opportunities are endless.

The benefits of digital transformation are manifold. A university that uses technology to its maximum potential stands to enable a healthy research culture and high-quality teaching and learning experiences. It will also be able to leverage the use of data, improve accessibility, optimise efficiency, bolster cyber security, protect itself financially, and even reduce its environmental impact. 

Moving towards a digital future.

As digital transformation is a less than straightforward process, with no ‘one size fits all,’ Jisc has released new resources to help universities make strategic moves towards a digital future. Along with the framework for digital transformation in Higher Education, which was published earlier this year, universities now have access to a digital transformation in Higher Education guide, which contains a digital maturity model, action plan and roadmap covering digital and physical infrastructure, effective digital leadership, student experience and organisational culture. 

We have worked closely with support, input and feedback from a 300-strong sector-led working group as well as a host of sector bodies. These include: Advance HE, Association for learning technology (ALT), Association of Higher Education Proffessionals (AHEP), Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE), QAA, SCONUL, UCISA, UUK and Vitae. Over the next seven months, we are working with 24 Higher Education providers to pilot these materials in supporting their strategic goals for digital transformation. 

We are confident these resources, along with dedicated support and sector collaboration, will ensure Higher Education's readiness for a digital future, and look forward to sharing more about them at this year’s Ahead By Bett event.


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