The State of the Higher Education Industry: A COVID-19 Retrospective

December 01, 2020

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the question on every businessperson’s mind was “How will my industry be impacted?” and “Where will this go 6 months from now?”. With now that we are past the 6-month-mark since this disruption hit its peak, we are now living in the moment that we were all trying to get ahead of.

So, what does it look like now?

Fulcrum Digital’s industry thought-leaders have been servicing our clients through this disruption. For insight into the Higher Education industry, we turn to our Client Services Partner, Robert Butler.

It has been a challenging time across the Higher Education sector over the last six months, and even more so recently with the beginning of the academic year. An initial sprint for institutions to ensure virtual/remote learning and working provided a challenge that seems to have been overcome by many across the sector through quick action and robust IT planning.

Innovation is being accelerated as institutions quickly identify and implement the right platform or solution to cater to their students’ needs. The speed at which these decisions need to be made is very different than how universities have approached projects before COVID-19.

Restrictions on travel have been a concern to many customers since international students contribute significantly to university fees. The positive aspect is that remote learning could open growth in that regard, but international students will also have more digital options to choose from. The student experience continues to be the deciding factor, so effective student journey mapping in this “new normal” is crucial.

Many key projects have had to be pushed back or put on hold indefinitely because of revenue uncertainty. Because of that, the focus has been towards “keeping the lights on” through operational, infrastructure, or even crisis support. If budgets continue to be tight, higher education institutions will require agile technology partnerships with more affordable rates and global delivery models.The Higher Education sector differs from other industries in that they are more constrained with funding that a typical business. The resilience and perseverance across all customers we have spoken with is truly a testament to the quick thinking, flexibility, and adaptability of the departmental teams.

person making a calculation using a tablet
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