Enterprise Resource Planning or ERP is a key software for institutions and the uses of ERP are manifold. ERPs help companies and institutions manage, control their operations and all activities regardless of their periodicity. This software type is most useful when institutions have a lot of data points from various channels and need distilled information to take key decisions and implement correction measures. Schools, Colleges, and Universities deal with a lot of data pertaining to admissions, fees, online classes, assessments, final exams, grading, and certifications which require a level of automation to eliminate manual errors. Processing and storing all this information and easy retrieval makes ERP necessary for educational institutes.
The ERP software uses vary per stakeholder and we explore some benefits of having such an integrated system in place.
In today’s world, where all teaching, learning, and grading are online, the ERP could act as a facilitator for the teacher, replacing most physical tasks with the clicks of buttons. Sharing lesson plans, course materials, and grades are easier with an ERP platform. Most data captured from students are recorded for future reference and the risks of human error are reduced to a minimum.
Additionally, educators can access specific student data across departments that will help them understand the student journey better and provide personalized learning experiences. For example, enrolments in extra-curricular courses, etc. As educators, the onus of delivering lessons per the curriculum is made easier with an ERP platform and tracking progress is faster. The other uses of an ERP to the educator are:
- Automates repetitive tasks
- Eases submissions and grading
- Allows for better collaboration with students and other departments
- Easy uploads of course materials
- Access to a repository of teacher trainings
If used well, a good ERP solution eases the learning process for the student. The shift to virtual classrooms has not been easy for some students, even though they are considered to be digital natives. With automated assignment reminders, lesson query resolutions, submissions, and grades, the process of interaction with the teachers is made easy. Access to individual portals for notifications, information, updates, download/upload assignments, timetable, exam notifications, fee reminders and more, makes for easier task management and completion. Whether it is institution policies or learning guides, students can also access information whenever and wherever they choose to. This makes the learning process a seamless and streamlined experience. The other uses of an ERP to the student are:
- Anytime, anywhere access to updated course materials
- Paced learning
- Faster resolution of lesson queries
- Peer-to-peer learning
- Progress updates in a single view
An ERP can bring in savings in costs and time for the management of an institution. By interconnecting all functional and operational departments in the institution, data regarding students, faculty and administration are stored and retrieved on demand. Some platforms provide real-time analytics on cost leakages across departments which might hinder performance and result in assets being used sub-optimally. An ERP software for educational institutes also enables them to manage their online brand presence, faculty reviews, and student progress. Having this organized data handy is most beneficial when it comes to making course corrections related to a particular department or process. Administrative tasks can be automated and more focus can be channeled into the quality of education.
ERPs also come with data security which is paramount to keep student and parent trust and augment brand perception in today’s age. The chances of information leakages are less when compared to on-premise solutions or physical maintenance of documentation. The other uses of an ERP to the institution is:
- Online brand management
- Automated marketing activities
- Smoother admissions processes
- Automated fee collections
- Faster comparison of department metrics
Most inefficiencies in educational institutions are due to fragmented data and siloed approaches in problem resolution. The ease of flow of information among the institution’s functions positively impacts employee morale as tasks can be completed before or on time. With a central view of processes and progress, key stakeholders can gauge the RoI of their educational infrastructure more effectively. Having said so, a robust ERP must be efficiently used to its maximum capacity in order to be able to deliver the expected outcomes.
An important factor that educational institutions need to keep in mind while implementing an ERP solution is its scalability. As more students opt for online education, software must be ready to hold and integrate the influx of new data with old records. Newer data points are generated almost on a daily basis with regard to student leads and marketing activities and how well an institution captures and makes sense of it will depend on how good the ERP solution is. With multiple ERP offerings in the market tailored for educational institution use, appropriate diligence must be carried out to pick the one that suits all stakeholder requirements. Pre-pandemic, investments into digital infrastructure such as an ERP were considered optional, but now essential.