The higher education landscape of India is the third-largest in the world, housing over 50,000 institutions and 39 million students. Such a large system undoubtedly comprises huge competition between institutions that want to target and retain the best talent. With NEP aiming to double the gross enrollment ratio, from the current 26.3% to 50%, in higher education institutions, the question lies in whether institutions are ready to efficiently manage a rising student population. According to a Bloomberg report, Gen Z makes up 32% of the global population. India’s Gen Z population currently stands at 472 million and on average, an Indian Gen Z spends eight hours per day online. Considering the enrollment in higher education institutions and the usage of devices is highest among this generation, institutions need to adopt smart technology to address the needs of a smart generation. In addition to selecting the right students from thousands of applicants every year, they also have to be constantly in front of these ‘right’ students on the channels of their preference, while keeping them engaged throughout the process. Therefore institutions need critical technological tools and strategies to differentiate themselves. By integrating CRM into Digital Campus platforms, they can seamlessly manage the complex admission process, attract and retain the best talent.
Both CRM and Digital Campus platforms have been powerful tools to boost the operational efficiency of key processes in an institution. Their purpose complements each other and when incorporated together, they streamline the process, boost productivity and drive profits.
A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a tool that streamlines the admission and marketing processes by automating recruitment, enrollment, and retention of applicants. CRMs with inbuilt tracking and communication features can give a real edge to the marketing & admissions teams. It improves the brand awareness of institutions and also helps to build trust by understanding student preferences.
A Digital Campus Suite is focused on automating the entire process of an institution, going way above what a traditional ERP can do. Apart from taking care of admission, finance, academics, learning management system, online examinations, among other key processes, the platform automates thousands of workflows and offers a campus social networking solution to increase communication and collaboration between different stakeholders. It identifies redundancies within departments and helps in eliminating them, allowing different departments to work as one.
While a Digital Campus Suite takes care of the admissions automation, among other processes, a CRM helps in creating personalized interactions that foster loyalty and better marketing ROI.
Since the onset of the pandemic, digital interactions have been two to three times more important to customers. With both ERP and CRM software in the phase of rapid expansion, customer needs can not be underestimated anymore.
Although both software is unique in what they do, it is worthy to integrate both for an institution to excel in its processes. Here’re key benefits that an institution can reap by integrating CRM with a Digital Campus Suite:
- Improved Operational efficiency
Institutions are still stuck spending time on manual and tedious tasks. Integrating CRM into a Digital Campus Platform makes it easier to automate workflows and seamlessly manage processes. That way, teams can let go of manual, daunting tasks that chew up valuable time and resources. They can enjoy improved productivity and spend more time on crucial processes that impact the bottom line.
- 360-degree view of applicants
CRM and Digital Campus platform, when combined, offer a unified view of the applicants’ transition to students. It is perhaps the biggest reason why institutions need it. From tracking applicants, managing application forms to checking eligibility, it offers total visibility and accuracy. It helps institutions gain insights into the customer base, implement better strategies, and determine future growth potential.
- Consistent and Centralized database
When the two platforms work in silos, they face a major problem of duplication of data. With two separate systems, administrators have to maintain records in both platforms individually. But with an integrated platform, duplicate data becomes a thing of the past. Institutions can look forward to a real-time reflection of data from CRM to their Digital Campus Platform and vice versa. Thus, a centralized system will help shorten crucial process cycles and deal with inaccurate data.
- Better Communication and Collaboration
Earlier, different teams had a different set of similar data, which makes it almost impossible to access the complete and right information at any given time. Teams can now share and use up-to-the-minute information when Digital Campus Suites are built-in with CRMs. Hence, helping them in achieving more effective results. A study by AON also indicates that engaged teams can drive 17% higher productivity that can eventually result in 21% higher profitability and, ultimately, 10% higher customer ratings.
- Reduced training and IT overheads
Statistics indicate that businesses spend 31.5 hours and at least $1,208 every year on training per employee. Having a single unified platform for both CRM and Digital Campus Suite can change that because institutions can easily train admission and marketing teams to handle both systems at the same time. The administrators who are not tech-savvy will be quick and more enthusiastic about learning a single software rather than getting trained for two. This, in turn, can save institutions huge bucks that goes into training and IT overheads.
Once institutions are ready to incorporate the two systems to completely automate admissions, they can choose when data flows from CRM to their Digital Campus platform:
When a candidate submits an application fee on CRM, the data flows to the Digital campus platform where an offer letter is generated for the applicants. There is also a backward data integration which gives the CRM platform statistics on the same.
When completing the admission process and after paying for their application, the transition of only eligible applicants happens from the CRM to Digital Campus platforms.
When applicants get converted into students on the CRM platform by paying an initial installment, only registered students are transitioned to the Digital Campus platform. This process additionally requires integration with finance to track the overall fee collection of students.
Education CRM and Digital Campus Suites are complementary to each other and can work together for better management of all processes. While one would enable institutions to run admissions on autopilot, the other enables a complete student lifecycle management, making life easier for students, faculty, administrators, among other stakeholders. Hence, all institutions should aim for an integrated CRM and Digital Campus Suite system to seamlessly run the complete communication and information engine. When integrated into one, these two separate solutions can provide a multitude of benefits, providing institutions a complete Digital Campus Suite.