Why do we need digital transformation?

17 May 2019

Caleb Woodbridgeby Caleb Woodbridge, Head of Digital Experience

Hello and welcome! I thought it would be helpful for the Digital team to have a space to share something of what we are up to, as well as tips and best practice for using digital, whether you are in an academic school, in a professional services department, or play some other role here at the University of Buckingham.

Since coming to work at Buckingham I’ve been impressed by the focus on the student here at the University. It’s something that every university aspires to, of course, but everyone here really is committed to the student experience, and that shows in the university’s outstanding levels of teaching and student satisfaction.

The shift to digital culture

But times are changing. Digital technology increasingly saturates our lives, and the lives of students. Digital doesn’t replace the offline world, of course, but it does change the way we interact with it.

We are undergoing a rapid shift in culture and in people’s behaviours and expectations. We are adapt to a world that is constantly connected, with instant communication and a exponential multiplication of consumer choice. People expect services that are always-on, easy to use, and instant in response. We are seeing the end of the age of Gutenberg. For centuries, our thought was structured after the printed page – textual, linear, fixed. But this is giving way to the age of the screen – visual, interconnected, ever-changing.

This shift brings both challenges and opportunities to universities. Challenges, because the kind of education that universities provided yesterday might not be what is needed for tomorrow. Opportunities, because universities are preservers and creators of knowledge in a knowledge economy.

To make the most of those opportunities, universities need to themselves embrace digital culture, to make their rich traditions of learning accessible and appealing to today’s always-connected students.

Being student focused in a digital age

Remaining student-focused in a digital age requires change, to meet the changing needs and expectations of students in a digital age.

Digital is not just about IT provision. Neither is digital just a marketing channel. Digital is a dimension of every aspect of what the university does. It affects everything from research to learning and teaching; from to marketing to student welfare; from recruitment to staying connected with alumni.

Digital transformation means understanding the whole user journey: how do students interact with us, both online and offline, from beginning to end?

Digital isn’t just for the digital team – we are digital

The Digital Experience team is especially focused on digital marketing and communications, with maintaining and improving the main website a particular priority. But we’re also involved in driving digital across the University, through consultancy, training, advice and running the Digital Strategy Group. We’ll shortly be embarking on a Digital Roadmap project for the whole University, working with an agency to run workshops and one-to-ones with staff across the University.

As we work with you, we’ll be looking to champion not just the website or social media, but digital transformation. Together, we can put students first in a digital age.

Watch out for more from the Digital team blog.