IT teams are always busy, but it's never been truer than in the past two years.
The onset of the pandemic in 2020 created a rapid spike in demand for IT professionals, especially those in higher education. Digital transformation became a sudden priority, as Information Technology and Security (ITS) departments were charged with facilitating and managing remote working and learning environments.
Though most universities have now returned to a “new normal,” many of the distance-learning tools and technologies that were pandemic-era mainstays remain–this explains why 88% of IT leaders say they’ve gotten busier since COVID-19.
Now, we're in the midst of a labor shortage that shows no signs of stopping. With increasing difficulties finding talent and a persistent need to improve efficiency in day-to-day processes, it's critical that colleges and universities equip their teams with tools that empower them to do more with less.
To cope, more and more schools are turning to no-code software, a powerful way for teams to design their own customized solutions without adding to the ITS department's workload.
In this article, we’ll discuss what no-code software is, how codeless platforms can help higher ed teams, and some common forms and workflows that colleges and universities can set up without any help from software developers.
What is No-Code Software?
No-code is a term applied to any software that allows non-technical users to create applications without any coding knowledge. They typically include intuitive features, like drag-and-drop builders, to ensure anyone can pick them up with ease.
Employees who independently develop their own business tech without IT oversight is known as citizen development, and it’s becoming more and more popular due to the already high demands on IT professionals.
In fact, a recent Gartner survey estimates that 80% of tech products and services will be created by non-technology professionals by next year.
These tools are useful in any business, but particularly in higher education. The breadth of responsibility for higher ed IT departments is immense, as they serve thousands of faculty, staff, and student users spread across multiple departments.
When the need for process improvement arises for a specific group of those users, the need for IT involvement can delay projects by months or even years. But schools that have no-code tools in place are empowered to create their own solutions.
How Can No-Code Forms and Workflows Help Higher Ed?
No-code forms and workflows give administrators and departments a way to create their own solutions. With minimal upfront involvement from IT teams, they can begin spinning up custom solutions rapidly which allows them to:
- Create exactly what they need– By giving administrators the ability to create forms and workflows that cater to their specific needs, you can ensure that the tool works in a way that makes sense to the people who will be using it. This also prevents wasted efforts from IT who would otherwise likely need to create individual solutions for every team.
- Collaborate between departments – Automatic workflow routing helps teams ensure that forms are seamlessly transferred between departments and eliminates the risk of data being lost or delayed in transit between buildings on campus.
- Improve Visibility – With customizable reporting and dashboards, department leaders can easily track the progress of workflows, identify any obstacles or bottlenecks, and take necessary steps to resolve them. This enables them to improve efficiency and reduce turnaround times significantly.
- Support Scalability – The needs of an organization may scale up or change over time. With no-code platforms, teams can easily change and adapt their tools to suit different demands and departments.
“Our district just became a member of the [DocuPhase] family, and we couldn’t be happier! We are now building our own workflows with virtually no IT expertise.”
Jake Hurley, Associate Vice Chancellor/CHRO at Yuba Community College District
Use-Cases for No-Code Forms and Workflows in Higher Ed
With an understanding of how no-code software can help administrators in higher education, here are three common ways that colleges and universities can implement codeless web forms and automated workflows to optimize efficiency and success.
Financial Aid Applications and Disbursement
No-code tools can help financial aid departments capture the data they need more quickly and accurately. They allow them to:
- Set required data fields on financial aid applications to ensure capture of all necessary data
- Automate application review and fund disbursal workflows with multiple approval levels (including the ability to send back to a previous approver if they failed to include all of the necessary data)
- Configure automatic notifications to students regarding the status of their applications and disbursements to create more transparent and timely communication
By leveraging the power of no-code tools, financial aid departments can simplify their processes, reduce errors, and provide better service to their students.
Student Advising and Support Services
Student support and academic advisement encompasses a wide range of functions, so it’s crucial that departments have the flexibility to create and update their own forms internally. With no-code software platforms they can:
- Create online forms for students to schedule appointments with faculty advisors
- Automatically track student and advisor registrations and meeting outcomes via SIS integration
- Configure automated email notifications to confirm meetings and remind students of upcoming appointments
- Establish workflows with a drag-and-drop builder to automate approval routing of documents like major/minor change forms which may require approval from multiple parties (like a faculty advisor and the department head)
- Generate reports to track student outcomes like program retention and graduation rates to help departments identify areas for improvement
By streamlining these processes, departments can free up valuable time and resources to focus on what matters most: providing the best possible assistance to their students. With the help of no-code software platforms, student advising and support services can become more efficient, effective, and student-centered.
Applicant Tracking and Onboarding
Colleges and universities can also find no-code forms and workflow builders incredibly useful for recruitment and onboarding processes. By using a no-code platform to create forms and workflows for hiring internally, teams can:
- Create custom application forms that collect data such as education, CV, sample syllabi, etc.
- Add dynamic business logic that shows/hides fields based on user input (for example, if an applicant indicates that they have a particular credential, a form field can appear that requires them to supply more information about that degree or certification)
- Automate candidate screening by escalating applications based on how many qualifying criteria are met
- Track KPIs like time to hire and applicant acceptance rate for insights and better future planning
By leveraging no-code platforms to streamline their recruitment and onboarding processes, colleges and universities can improve their ability to attract top talent and reduce time-to-hire, ultimately enabling them to better serve their students and achieve their strategic goals.
The past two years have put IT teams under more pressure than ever before. With the rise of remote and hybrid working, a labor shortage, and a persistent need to enhance processes, it's more important than ever for institutes of higher education to invest in tools that help support their teams' efforts to keep things running smoothly.
No-code software is a powerful tool for achieving this goal: It enables non-IT trained professionals to develop custom business tech and frees up IT teams to focus on more pressing initiatives.
To find out more about how DocuPhase's no-code form and workflow builders can support your business, request a live demo today.