A casestudy: Digital transformation in education

Published on
25 August 2022
Thisun Piyasena
Thisun Piyasena
Senior Consultant

The most recent transformation of the Education sector as a result of the last 3 years of the Covid-19 pandemic, has been truly staggering. The unforgiving nature of the prevailing ‘adapt or die’ market conditions has served to highlight the remarkable speed and effectivity in which the sector has pivoted to face its challenges head-on. 

Much of Escient’s recent work in this sector has led to significant insights and learnings that reflect on the enormity of undertakings within many of Australia’s academic institutions. 

Often ranked highly in the World’s top Universities, Australia’s Tertiary education communities perform cutting-edge research, provide world-class teaching, and perform a wide array of services for thousands of students, staff, academics, and members of the community each year. 

Our engagement with one of Australia’s top universities was to facilitate their commitment to providing high-quality service, by developing a whole-of-university technology roadmap and vision. This Master Plan would define the changes to technology governance, service models and the overall direction of the university’s technology footprint for building capability for the next five years. 

To assist in developing this strategic intent, managing stakeholder engagement, and developing partnerships, Escient was engaged to scope and collaborate with a core team in developing the Technology Master Plan and help shift the university to a new iterative and progress-driven way of working. 

Testing the water 

Upon initiation of the Technology Master Plan development process, Escient facilitated two scoping workshops with the senior leadership team. During the sessions, Escient listened and provided guidance to the team with the intent of: 

Envisioning the future 

During the development phase of the engagement, Escient acted as a guide for the adoption of a new WoW that was based on engagement and collaboration to progressively build the vision of the future state of ITS at the university. 

As part of these efforts, Escient proposed the initiation of a TechWeek event that mirrored the O-Week events held across universities. This event was successfully delivered by effectively collaborating with the university and was attended by an array of key vendors and partners who presented their insights on industry trends. The initiative was able to break down internal silos, promote external engagement and spur innovation, whilst also providing an invaluable forum for the professional development of staff. While this initiative was not in the initial scope of work undertaken, its overwhelming success has now led it to be adopted as a permanent annual event. 

A new way forward 

Escient’s facilitative approach played a pivotal role in allowing our partner to clarify their vision and realise their strategic intent. The adoption of a new WoW promotes innovation and an iterative approach for tackling the complex challenges the tertiary education sector will face in the years ahead. Successful implementation of the resulting Technology Master Plan will position this university as an institution of choice by enhancing learning outcomes, and accessibility and promoting a sense of belonging to enhance the student and staff experience. 

If you found this article interesting, you may enjoy Dr Piyasena’s article on Digital transformation in tertiary institutions.

About the author

Dr. Thisun Piyasena is a Senior Consultant at Escient, a business and digital consulting firm dedicated to building relationships, solving problems and helping organisations shape their future. He prefers to leverage his analytical background to make objective and data-driven decisions, discover new opportunities, and help organisations realise their strategic intent.

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