Implementing Technology on Your Campus

Rolling out a new technology solution can be a daunting task. In our latest webinar, “Implementing Technology on Your Campus,” George Wolf, Vice President for Enrollment Management at Siena Heights University, joined Suzanne Sharp, Executive Director of Enrollment Management Consulting at Liaison to discuss how to identify the need for change, how to make the case for change across your campus, and how to manage change so that every stakeholder in the process embraces it with excitement.

Siena Heights University is a top Catholic university in Michigan with undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education programs. George was tasked with implementing a new enrollment marketing platform, EMP, from Liaison. Within one year of implementation, the university saw increases in inquiries (85%), applicants (21%), accepted students (14%), and deposited students (12%).

But those gains were only made after successfully involving key stakeholders in the case for change. How was it done?

First, determine the need for change. For enrollment marketing, George and Suzanne suggested these indicators:

  • Are you still using static print for enrollment collateral, like viewbooks?
  • Are you still relying on undifferentiated blast emails, rather than personalizing your outreach?
  • How much paper is involved in your processes? Have applications been misplaced? How much time do you spend managing forms?
  • Are you only communicating with your students through one or two channels?
  • If you are communicating with students through multiple channels, are you able to integrate those touches?

Second, articulate the benefits that a change in technology will bring. No school, George reminded us, has the ability to add resources at a whim. So make the case. At Siena, George’s stated goals were simple and to the point. He pursued a technology change:

  • To give his staff a more integrated method to communicate with students
  • To deliver a better way to manage increased volume
  • To easily segment markets for targeted contact
  • And to increase budget efficiency

Ultimately, though, the case for change rests on the needs of your prospective students. If the technology you are using does not meet their needs for immediate, relevant, and personalized contact, change should be on the table.

But how do you lead change?

As the change manager it’s critical that you have a vision of what you want to do and where you want to be when the change happens, George counseled. Articulate outcomes and benefits clearly—and not just to primary users, but to any group that will be touched by this new technology. IT and Marketing are instrumental to success, but often greet a new technology implementation with suspicion. Help them understand what you need from them and how important they are in the process.

In Suzanne’s experience as a VP of Enrollment at Stephens College, getting buy-in from the marketing group was an important first step. From there, she approached IT to identify any potential issues and ask for their support. Finally, she introduced EMP to her admissions team—not as a done deal, but as an idea to be explored. Making the implementation process participatory returned great rewards.

If you’re interested in learning more about implementing technology on your campus, take a few minutes to view the free webinar and see what other techniques make implementation a success. And join us for our next webinar, Enhancing Your First Touch, on August 25 at 2 p.m. ET to learn how to make every first impression count—whether you’re reaching out to sophomores on a purchased list, to stealth applicants, or to helicopter parents.[/fusion_text]