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Education Industry: Novel Strategies to Thrive in the New Normal


Educational institutions will have to quickly learn to run their operations while accelerating digital transformation and adopting emerging technologies.

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Educational institutes worldwide have been significantly impacted by a black swan event that has disrupted the status quo. The impact this period will have on the industry is in a lot of ways still unknown, but what is known is that it will accelerate shifts in the existing business and operating models that were already underway.

Educational leaders are focused on addressing the short-term impact to their model, while keeping an eye out for what these changes could mean in the long term. In the short term, leaders will need to decide how to continue to deliver quality education, as a sudden shift to delivering remote teaching has hit budgets, along with a double whammy of a drop in revenue and a stream of unexpected costs.

However, in the coming months there are going to be a series of critical inflection points that leaders will face, which go beyond continuing education and the question of whether this new normal is permanent that the need arises to start preparing their institutes for the digital world. These decisions will determine the long-term success or failure of your institute.

Continue Education

As of April 26th, 2020, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)* estimates that approximately 1.1 billion learners across the world have been affected due to school closures. Almost overnight, educational institutions have been forced to implement business continuity plans to mitigate that disruption. While some organizations started investing in digital learning capabilities before this, a majority of institutions were faced with logistical and financial challenges due to a lack of investment in their digital capabilities in the past.

The last few weeks have also seen educational institutes deal with a combination of:

  • Sharp reduction in revenue
  • An anticipated decline in alumna donation
  • A diminished endowment

These factors intertwined with an increase in unforeseen expenses adopting new technologies to enable a remote learning and teaching environment. Your institute was built to thrive in the previous world, but it now needs to adapt, as the revenue that supported that model is in flux.

Institutes that pivot to address those challenges by focusing on providing the right tools to their students, faculty and staff, while optimizing their investments, are best positioned to adapt. In the short term, there should be an impetus to enable constituent collaboration and empower institute to manage operations remotely, along with accelerating process/workflow automation. Institutes would need to manage existing technical debts to free up the resources necessary to address these short-term gaps, and to start preparing for the digital world coming ahead.

Prepare for the Digital World

As you find yourself slowly executing the plan that will shape your institute in the short to medium term horizon, there are also some long-term decisions that need to be considered.

The purpose and mission of your institution continues. However, the infrastructure built to support that mission is no longer the primary mechanism of learning. The content delivered in-person needs to be translated and delivered online seamlessly and without friction. Students expect and deserve a standard of education similar, if not better, than what they received before. In addition to investing in building or buying a platform that will reduce the friction between teaching and learning, the questions around where to get digital-ready courses and who manages this new infrastructure will arise. Institutes will also need to accelerate investments in cloud to support this shift to digital learning and teaching. The existing Student Information Systems and Learning Management Systems will need to be integrated and managed without disruption to students. A sustained economic downturn will require attracting the best talent at minimal costs through digital campaigns and optimized marketing operation. The institutes that give credence and plan for this future are best positioned to capture the demand for new modes of learning in the long term.

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Mindtree as your Partner in this New World

As the industry faces these disruptive short and long-term factors, Mindtree has pivoted quickly to meet the needs of its clients in the industry. As a large multinational, we also had to face the abrupt situation of transitioning our entire 22,000 global workforce and enable their ability to work from their homes. We’ve applied the lessons learned from the past month both internally and with our clients to build out capabilities in

  • Identifying, integrating and optimizing the right mix of collaboration tools to enhance teamwork
  • Building rapid development mobile applications to ensure constant engagement across our workforce to increase productivity
  • Accelerating investments in process and workflow automation to drive down inefficiencies that previously required manual intervention. This has enabled our most valued resources, our employees, to focus their time on building value for their clients

These capabilities have borne increased cost savings across the board while enabling productivity to flourish. While these measures will enable stability this year, Mindtree is partnering with education clients to mitigate their risk for the next academic year. As the aforementioned trends become increasingly more concrete, there is increasing concern about declining enrollment numbers, the inability to set up an online learning platform and from where savings can be generated to support the necessary investments. Mindtree is best positioned to jumpstart your journey in this new world by:

  • Standing up digital marketing campaigns to meet your potential students where they are. If you are already investing in your campaigns, we can ramp up your effectiveness while optimizing your investments to make sure you reach as many learners as possible
  • Developing synchronous and asynchronous course content for your online learning platforms while accelerating the use of student insights, leading to personalized and adaptive learning
  • Accelerating adoption to cloud by co-investing in the cloud journey with our clients and retiring your legacy technical debt to fit the right financial model for your institution

Mindtree’s Benefits Driven Solutions across the Student Lifecycle

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Mindtree proposes a benefits-driven approach across the student lifecycle that will equip institutes to tackle immediate disruptions and prepare them for the new world. Institutes who act now stand to gain in seamlessly managing various aspects of a student journey like recruitments, applications, learning, graduation and alumni relations. Mindtree can enable this journey for you by leveraging its digital, cloud, data and analytics, enterprise collaboration and process automation expertise.

The New Normal

In these unprecedented times, leadership is required to stabilize your institute while looking for opportunities to invest in new growth areas that lie ahead. There will be ever increasing uncertainty across society, as we collectively grapple with the short-term effects of the pandemic. A combination of the short term pressures described above with an acceleration of long term trends in the industry will be a force that education leaders need to reckon with. There will be a fundamental shift in delivering education to a global body of eager, but expectant learners.

We are a customer-first, cloud-native company, and born digital. Let us be your partner in this journey to the new normal.

Education Industry: Novel Strategies to Thrive in the New Normal

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