Outsourcing in Higher Ed: A Viable Strategy
Vice President of Business Development, Greenwood Hall
Outsourcing remains a vital strategy for success in today’s higher education landscape. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education 2016 Trends Report, outsourcing in higher education is quickly on the rise, reaching far beyond the traditional bounds of payroll processing, campus bookstores and the cafeteria (sushi, anyone?). What exactly are colleges outsourcing? The growing list includes marketing, enrollment operations, advising, curriculum design and delivery, facilities and grounds management, technology management, campus housing, and in some cases, even raising investment capital to fund growth initiatives. Galvanize CEO, Jim Deters referred to these changes as the “great unbundling of education that is taking shape right now.”
The reality is this: most institutions are unable to effectively manage business operations that service student needs…particularly during peak times. As a result, college administrators must take notice that strategic goals for enrollment growth and improved retention will remain unattainable if solutions that maximize institutional effectiveness are not forged, even if that means sourcing some operations to outside partners. As you might suspect, there are a plethora of innovative thought leaders striving daily to create solutions that help institutions improve business processes and enhance the student (and staff) experience.
The rationale for outsourcing is simple…partnering with outside organizations allows institutions to focus on what they do best (teach students), while at the same time achieving operational efficiencies and an improved student experience. And we all know what that means…happy students equals increased tuition revenue. If you are one of these thought leaders creating these incremental shifts in higher education, then keep innovating. If you’re a college administrator, determine your core competencies and then look for opportunities to leverage outside providers to complement your institution where it makes the most sense. The ROI will be well worth the investment.