Transforming Higher Education

The Digital University

The time to act is now

The UK’s higher education sector is entering a new age - an age in which the effective implementation and use of digital technologies across universities is essential to attracting talent, promoting growth and, ultimately, surviving.

Universities not equipping themselves to adapt to the challenges ahead will struggle to compete. Whether you aspire to be a pioneering digital leader or just hope to stay relevant, the time to act is now.

Designed with students and staff

  • Know what level of service your students want and expect - Students bring with them a set of demands and expectations that modern higher education providers must meet, if not exceed.
  • Reimagine and simplify services - Students and staff need to be able to easily get the information, advice and guidance they need, when they need it. 
  • Enable richer, deeper conversations - Processes and technology should remove mundane tasks, enabling staff to provide excellent support for students.
  • Identify emerging needs quickly - Artificial intelligence, automation, cloud services and advanced data and analytics all have the potential to change the way in which services are delivered.

A ‘whole university’ approach

An organisation-wide approach is the only way that the levels of innovation and cultural change required to become a digital university can be achieved.

  • Everything, everywhere - Break down silos and deliver a seamless end-to-end journey – regardless of the structure or size of the university.
  • Services redefined and optimised - Reduce administration and manual tasks will allow staff to shift their focus away from low value activities and spend more time delivering richer, deeper engagement with students.
  • New insights - Improve data quality and draw powerful insights from across the end-to-end journey will help a university to respond to fluctuations in demand and meet evolving expectations.
  • Strong governance - A clear ambition, supported by management who empower departments and teams who take ownership of their contributions.

Building for the future

  • Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide personalised support to students throughout their University journey – Automate complex, decision-making tasks supporting real-time student feedback to the early identification of wellbeing concerns based on attendance.
  • Using virtual reality to create a distinctive learning experience - Virtual Reality supports an immersive learning environment. Students will expect boundaries around learning to reduce or disappear, with the ability for lessons to be brought to life.
  • Providing a distinctive view of campus through the application of drone technology - Allowing students to find their way around, providing an additional perspective to campus safety, supporting student welfare.
  • Using location technology to deliver personalised experiences for staff and students across the physical campus - Imagine your arrival at a lecture prompting a notification for the lecturer, or walking past the campus cafe giving you notifications about their offers.

Artifitial Intelligence

From smartphones, to recommended products and speech recognition, customers are engaging with AI every day, but some universities might not be making the most of the opportunities it creates. Organisations around the world are beginning to leverage AI to better meet customer demands and expectations.

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Blockchain - Smart Credentials

Blockchain offers new ways in which to manage information securely. Allowing individuals to take control over their qualifications and share them with those they trust – adding credibility and reducing misrepresentation.

Find out more in our blog "How blockchain can help build trust in the education sector"

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Data and analytics

Many universities understand the value of data and analytics, but struggle when it comes to applying the insights gained from it. Others build technical data and analytics, but then struggle to get the wider organisation to adopt and achieve long-term value based on this. Even though universities are accumulating data at an exponential rate, they’re often not fully harnessing the value of it.

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Virtual reality

Allowing students to adopt a new way of working, Virtual Reality supports an immersive learning environment. With 15% of companies making significant investments in VR over the next 3 years (PwC Global Digital IQ Survey), students will expect boundaries around learning to reduce or disappear, with the ability for lessons to be brought to life.

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Delivering a great customer experience means listening, being agile and responding quickly to feedback

Contact us

Caitroina McCusker

Caitroina McCusker

Education Consulting Lead, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7764 331623

Chris Clements

Chris Clements

Senior Development Manager, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7843 332946

Darren Leafe

Darren Leafe

Senior manager, PwC United Kingdom

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