Author : Vikas Kumar
Director - Customer Experience, Espire | Sitecore MVP 2021

Vikas is a Sitecore MVP who heads the Digital Experience Platform (DXP) initiatives at Espire. A skilled craftsman in competency building, Vikas is a go-to-CMS expert, known for designing & developing best practices, that consistently transforms digital journey for clients.

Enhancing Student Experience in the Digital Age

Higher education has changed dramatically in the present times with university offerings evolving and changing rapidly as students are getting more empowered. Globally, the number of students enrolling and attending universities has grown multi fold. In this age of cut-throat competition, universities need to support and enhance student experience throughout the student lifecycle at each touch point start from the very first point of contact to becoming an alumnus. Student experience and resulting satisfaction are critical for universities. The stakes are getting higher as student experience is used to evaluate universities.

Initial omnichannel experience for prospective students play the key role for students while deciding to select one university over the other with similar credentials. Key questions that support an effective student experience are:

  • Are the prospective students offered omni-channel experience during the course selection and application process ?
  • Is the university presenting students with relevant contextual personalized information ?
  • Will the selected course cater to student’s career aspirations ?
  • Are universities catering to the evolving digital demands and expectations of students ?

Personalized Communication for an Enhanced Student Experience

These days students demand consistent, insightful and personalized communication and university resources want efficient solutions to attract students effectively. Hence, every university today, looking to enhance student experience need to move towards digital transformation by transforming not only its IT stack but overall process from scratch. Universities need to keep their stakeholder’s information up to date by tracking student interaction with the university across every touchpoint.

Universities, nowadays, need to understand each student uniquely and personalize communications by mapping and segmenting data to offer targeted offerings accordingly. Hence, universities need to move away from department-driven approach to university-wide approach to ensure quality and consistency in communications. With right digital technologies including content services, analytics, machine learning and bots, universities can track student engagement, satisfaction, attainment and later journey with university. They can also send automated messages to remind students of deadlines, events, reminders and alerts to help them plan their time and prepare for exams effectively leading to great student experience and positive impact on their wellbeing.

Universities as Digital Enablers

As digital transformation matures and education industry become more fluid, the scope of improving student experience with relevant communication is ever growing. Educational institutions need to become digital enablers using modern digital experience platform and technologies to reach out to potential students. The need of the hour is a robust digital strategy to transform business challenges into a strong competitive edge - accelerating student acquisition, student engagement rate and enabling students, staff and community.

Espire - Enabling Digital Transformation for Universities

Espire has been enabling universities to transform student experiences. We deliver cutting-edge digital experience platform, customer communication management, content services, advanced analytics and scalable platform to meet the specific needs of higher education institutions at every step and for every user level. Our expertise in digital experience platform powered by Sitecore leverages best practices to enhance student engagement for higher education institution.

In short, we play a key role in the student journey mapping from enrollment, to provision of facilities for residence, aiding enquiry and application, providing insights for choosing the appropriate course and finally converting the student in a life-long alumnus when they graduate from the university. Also, we offer the delivery of highly personalized messages to other stakeholders such as parents and donors.

We have been helping universities globally to achieve various goals :

  • Augment student enrollment and retention rate through digital solutions and content activities
  • Delivering high volume, personalized, contextual multi-channel customer communications to the student such as sending out reminders for payment of dues
  • Improve brand experience aligned with the customer’s brand identity
  • Growing awareness of the institution domestically and globally
  • Build on-line engagement and deliver personalized web experiences
  • Manage huge content from a large number of content authors
  • Optimize student engagement and experience
  • Deliver a robust, flexible digital environment

Our Digital transformation solutions have led to :

  • Substantial increase in lead capture from website
  • Personalized student experiences delivered via the website and other channels
  • Seamless maintenance of the website and portal along with content integrity helping their marketing team to implement their brand narrative
  • Better performance and user experience
  • Seamless student / prospect tracking with better visibility into student journeys across channels helping with targeted messaging

Our Digital Service and CX Solution :

Enhancing student experience in the digital age new infographics


Creating an automated online voting platform for seamless onboarding and improved Voter Experience

One of the major challenges faced by the customer was - conducting the cooperative elections amidst the nationwide lockdowns in the US as casting votes on a piece of paper was neither safe nor feasible. Espire built an online voting application to integrate all the three existing ways of voting in one place including: Online voting (through a website), SmartHub voting (through single sign-on), Paper ballot voting (which includes data entry and verification)

Enhanced user query resolution with Microsoft Azure-based Chatbot for a Leading Australian University

A leading Public University with campuses across Australia and Internationally.This Australian University is ranked in the top two percent of universities worldwide by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings required a strategic technology partner to develop a self-service chatbot for streamlining systems and processes for optimal utilization

Developed a Tuition Reduction Benefit Form with Signature & Notification Functionalities for a Leading Australian University

The customer wanted to develop an easily accessible form online to help students leverage the Tuition Reduction Benefit (TRB) seamlessly. Espire helped the customer create a TRB form by leveraging MS Power Apps using Canvas Apps, the submitted forms will get automatically stored in SharePoint & the approval process is built using Power Automate, the approving authority will receive an instant notification to approve/reject the form

Designed a Centralized Content Management System for a Leading UK-based Staffing Business

A leading Global Talent Acquisition and Managed Workforce Solutions provider in the UK, needed support to centralize its content management for the 22+ acquired brands and required a simplified process for posting job openings & deploying regular enhancements for content management. Espire considering the challenges, reimplemented the front-end design framework for better performance, security and SEO optimization. We also redesigned the cloud architecture on Microsoft Azure to support constant enhancements required to centralize & manage enterprise & localized content. 

Implemented Banner Enhancements to Improve Student and Staff Experiences for a Leading Australian University

A leading Private University of Australia which offers undergraduate, graduate, higher degree by research and specialized degree programs in a wide range of academic disciplines, required support to efficiently manage the increasing student enrolments with the Banner platform as a service. They needed to enhance the self-service functionality to help students download their updated documents: Invoices, CAN Notice, Payment Receipts.

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