Tertiary talk


The Path to Successful Digital Transformation

Tertiary Talk - March 2018

Many tertiary institutions are looking at Digital Transformation to improve the way that they operate and engage with students to succeed in an increasingly competitive and rapidly evolving higher education market.

Deloitte’s Mobile Consumer Survey found that the 18-24 year old student population may well be the most distracted demographic group, with the strongest bond to their mobile devices of all age groups - 55% will check their mobile phone in the middle of the night. Students expect to be able to engage via mobile devices, and the lack of mobile channels will be a sure way to lose student engagement.

Research has shown that enhancing the student experience is consistently ranked the strongest priority for institutions, with a better student experience and facilities naturally enabling greater opportunities to attract new students and increase research activity. Tertiary institutions need to transform, taking advantage of advances in digital technologies and new modes of learning and operating models.  All of which must be geared to the delivery an engaging student experience across their preferred channels of communication and engagement.

The case for digital transformation is clear. The path to success isn't. The history of technological advance is littered with examples of organisations focusing on technologies without investing in organisational capabilities that ensure that they succeed. What separates digital leaders from the rest, is a clear digital strategy based on a student centric approach, which is required to be supported by the strength of leadership and capability required to execute on the desired future state.  

Digital transformation

Seven Strategies for Success

1. Offer a vision for the future

Devising a clear and coherent digital strategy is the first step toward successful digital transformation.

2. Plan ahead


Provide a detailed plan for addressing the key elements of digital transformation. Build a roadmap for digital transformation that covers elements such as culture, leadership, people, and procurement.

3. Build organisational capabilities

Prepare for digital transformation by addressing digital skills gaps and investing in resources and technologies to help build a culture and capabilities supporting the digital transition.

4. Make the student the focal point

To effectively drive a digital transformation agenda, education organisations need to be focused on the student experience. This should involve User-centred Design and Design Thinking to envision the ways that students will engage with the organisation.

5. Get started with agile development

Education leaders can start, through workshops and training, by familiarising themselves with the concept of agile, and then look for opportunities to use it on smaller projects and scale accordingly.

6. Liberate your data


Most organisations already have all the data that they need, but suffer from an access problem. Data is buried in legacy application silos. It needs to be exposed via API Platforms that can not only talk to your digital channels, but can interoperate with your legacy systems.

7. Get fast

Delivering compelling student experiences won't happen unless you get faster at delivering change. Adopt practices such as DevOps, and plan for rapid iterations that deliver small changes to your technology to make a big change to the student experience.


 In order for TEIs to succeed in a world of digital natives, they must be willing to focus on the student experience to fundamentally re-imagine their services in a digital world. Best piece of advice ‘start with the student experience and follow with the technology’ - that is the path to success.


For more information on the digital strategy transformation contact Damian Harvey dharvey@deloitte.co.nz


Deloitte and institutions from around the world are getting together 25 – 28 March at Alliance in the US to discuss Supporting the Digital Campus for #higher #education. A number of topics are relevant to NZ institutions considering their #digital #transformation journey. More details of the programme can be found here. 

We will endeavour to get hold of any available conference materials so if you are interested in learning more, please let us know.

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