Processes play an important role in defining the quality of work in any organization. Smartly designed and intelligently crafted processes render efficiency and productivity. Technology has however served this criterion quite satisfactorily and is not only making lives easy, but offering enough time for productive tasks as well.
While automation of processes has been creating a buzz, thriving to achieve maximum productivity with available resources is a dream of every organization’s leader. With educational institutes becoming a brand, their efforts to provide quality to both students as well as staff, propelling them to utilize technological advancements is inspiring.
This not only secures their image as a premier organization, but builds the future of those associated as well.
With the evolution of automation and its increasing market demand, the notion that it is possible only via robotics or expensive integrations has been clearly debunked. Robust software models that facilitate automation of everyday processes to ease-off manual work-load are now available at affordable costs. Improved outcomes, reduced errors, enhanced efficiency, higher satisfaction levels and reduced throughput costs are just a few of the rewards process automation has to offer to the education system.
So robots are clearly not the only way. Industries across domains have migrated to automated work-flows, accelerating their performances significantly.
The sophistication level of automation may, however, vary depending on the scale of the task to be automated and the investment a university or college is looking to make. It could be a simple automated flow intended to speed up a process with information recorded digitally, or it could be a total robotic automation, handled end-to-end by a software backed by rules and intelligent decision-making programs. With different levels of complexity and expertise required to integrate, both contribute to improved operations.
Despite research invading newer boundaries everyday, administrative inefficiencies still limit the education institutions and universities. Embracing the aspects of digitization is still ‘in-progress’. Mundane processes like documentation, approvals, registrations, fee-payments, scheduling, purchases and IT support, even though digitized, still keep resources booked.
Let’s try to perceive as to what could motivate an educational institute’s leader or a VC to opt for automation? Streamlining legacy processes to create an environment rich and opportune for advanced learning is usually the primary objective. Departments, staff and students equipped with automated software build an iconic image of the organization offering a wholesome student experience.
Workflow or process automation seems a lucrative path, but it poses a challenge for organizations to standardize their legacy procedures. The education sector for one has been here since ages, evolving with times and housing a magnitude of such legacy processes.
The organizations need to pick workflows that qualify certain criteria for automation in the education sector. Like work-flows:
All such processes need rediscovery, with an insight towards better flow and involvement of select personnel to make them quick and simple. But, what these critical bottle-necks are that tend to impede any process must be diagnosed.
Long queues of students waiting to be entertained simply for buying/submitting admission forms/fees portrays nothing but a handicapped system. Understanding precisely the rate-limiting steps is important to create room for new technology to heal and fill the gaps.
Building affordable and adaptable functions is a task that needs a lot of exploration and expertise in the available software options. With a platter of tech-stacks available, leveraging the ones which offer maximum benefits and minimum complications becomes the unanimous choice of developers.
The modular aspect of Laravel application development allows developers to create complex and responsive applications needed in colleges or universities. Not only this, its Artisan command-line interface (CLI) can help achieve these complex tasks in minutes. The developers are able to create various database structures for data storage and migrate existing data to and fro seamlessly through Laravel. This further entails designing new tasks with an ever simplified development process.
Every development done today must be capable of upgrading with changing trends and advancements in the field of education. Laravel facilitates a future-proof application with the capability to upgrade and update frequently. All your university or institute data can be up and running on these applications in very less time. Another feature that attracts developers towards this framework while dwelling into the process automation is that it allows routing of data as per convenience and the modules help easy third-party integrations for additional features.
Also, user experience is enhanced with its ability to integrate different email services. Its clean and simple API and drivers available for all email service providers helps insert SMS as well as email services for the staff and students allowing a better connectivity within the campus.
The first step to a trouble-free transition from a manual to an automated process is defining the flow, intricately and precisely. A step-by-step flow-chart of the process will help the developer feed them into the framework and give you an automated version of the flow. The pain points are usually common for the processes that seem to be happening every day.
Once you lay down a flow-chart for these steps, you will be able to spot the areas where lags happen. It also aids in clearing traffic through these rate-limiting steps as well as helps the developer decide which model to use when automating it.
Let me help you understand what a designated or specific process flow looks like. I put some understanding behind what would make life easy for an institute/college/university head, students, staff and to mention the least the developer and identified eight areas/departments that most certainly needed to be automated.
An effort towards building a flow for these will clarify what I meant by designating steps to the process.
We all are well aware how admissions and registrations into a course involve an array of steps. Time-consuming photocopying, verifications, lengthy forms, payments and more draw a typical picture of long queues outside admin windows. With this procedure being similar across geographies, comes as the best fit to automate.
What if students could be admitted from anywhere, and the institute could just verify and process it with a click at their end? Not just that, the documents and forms end up safely inside databases.
Well, a world where efforts go towards making everyday lives easy, frameworks like Laravel and their off-the-shelf ready-to-use capacity offers scope.
The education sector is one where the attendance and salary payments happen on the largest scale. With faculty, administration, students, and several staff, the number and the variety both demand automation in the education sector from every aspect.
Linking attendance, leaves and working hours to an automated payroll software has saved the accounts and finance staff of the much repetitive work. Compared to where files lay awaiting clearance for days together, delaying stipends and contract payments, an automated payroll is a solution as much needed in colleges as any other software solution.
An automated system for all the infrastructural provisions in any institute can save significant time that goes into planning and allotment of these for various activities. An organization where the faculty, heads, students as well as staff can book programs and seminars themselves, will allow them the flexibility to plan their curriculums well-in-time.
Lengthy complicated documentation and then storing them safely still keeps resources in many vintage universities involved in sorting and retrieval tasks. Although much pressure has been eased through digitization, automating documentation and then directly saving them inside databases linked to a member ID has definitely improved the system by great bounds. Sorting and retrieval is now just a log-in and a click away..
Creating requests and applications for travel and purchase needs an entirely separate accounts and admin resource to facilitate. The file travels from department heads to admin to accounts, keeping uncertainty and distractions at large.
Developers have utilized applications of available frameworks and have been able to automate all of this for easy and early approvals/responses. Improving productivity along with clearing back-logs has allowed better planning and execution for these purposes
Ticket raising for IT requests and complaints is no more a frustrating process. Tools have made automation possible through an automated help desk. A bulk of processes within colleges have smoothened as a result with more time to resolve complicated issues, manage databases along with upscaling the campus.
Communication is the key that unlocks opportunities. For those looking to join studies of interest and build combinations out of various courses, a lot in their minds that needs satisfactory explanation. Imagine they hop-on to a college/institute website and viola! They are met with a programmed chat-bot ready to clear all the doubts.
Now that is what will hit the mind, that with such promptness available on the website, there must be plenty to offer on-campus. Developers have exploited Laravel to facilitate easy communications on the college or university web page.
Another vital instrument for easy management inside any college or university equipped with an internal information exchange is an HRMS (Human Resource Management System). An automated management system equipped with features to allow different channels of communication and coordination within different departments could keep everybody connected easier.
Frameworks like Laravel offer such attributes for easy installation and communication. Management of staff and students is made much efficient through such integrations.
There could be different possibilities for a university or college to move ahead with process automation.
One where the university is already digitized with data and information saved in separate files and folders on local servers. They will mostly need to integrate automation into processes with the migration of all existing data onto new databases and the new entries directed to these newly created databases.
An option could also be to automate one process at a time. While you allow time for the staff, management and students to equip themselves, you can also assess what problems are being faced with the way you designated a process flow. The processes in this manner, get to be refined.
Automating process flows could invite new traffic to the institute. The institute might want to prepare and be ready with infrastructural arrangements, both on-campus as well as online. The growth with automation in the education sector will be overall. Engaging staff towards newer and more productive activities like increasing the bandwidth on all parameters might become a regular for the college or university.
A simultaneous plan to equip and upskill all staff and students with the new automated processes should be in place.
For the new and upcoming universities, automation must be integrated from the very beginning. A sound development team or partner should be in-place and the institute should be ready with their process flows for them.
The website and servers both must be equipped to handle automated admissions, registrations, queries, requests and can even run online courses if the university wishes to have distance learning as a provision.
For those educational institutes, universities and colleges where a lot is still on paper and in-person, going from paper to portal will need to begin with digitizing previous documents and data. The automated versions will run in parallel. Everything can be placed on new servers and fed into databases.
Whatever zone or level an educational institute fits into, a good development team with expertise and prowess in latest technologies could get you automated and running in no time. Comprehensive frameworks like Laravel are a complete package and help achieve such goals with comfort and capacity.
The prime focus for any educational organization has and will always be to provide the best of education and opportunities to its students. If this sector fails to adopt and integrate advancements in technology into its core operations, teaching all this on an academic level seems futile.
It becomes the responsibility of the university or institute head to involve an efficient and dedicated team only for such developments. The development partner’s capabilities should clearly fall in-line with the vision and align with the progress parameters of the institute.
Development teams involved in creating online solutions for various organizations and businesses usually focus on creating simple web-based portals only. But a team backed with developers harbouring strong technical abilities will be able to give you more than what you ask for. Pick a dynamic and enthusiastic team that challenges traditional systems and opts for frameworks and tools that evolve everyday, like Laravel.
The educational institutes create the future workforce. Adopting promising new technology makes them role models, setting a trend ahead. Automated processes render the power and scope with more bandwidth to add value to your organizations, presenting as a better brand for the world to experience. As an owner or head of an institute, why would you compromise on the achievements and the value-adds when you can reap benefits with automated processes.
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