Higher Ed and Automation: What’s the Business Value?
Businesses and other organizations today are struggling with inflation, a tight labor market, and
rising costs. Parking and transportation departments of higher education institutions are no
different. Employees are often juggling multiple responsibilities every day. Finding
ways to do more with less must be the mantra moving into the future.
Automation is one part of the overall answer. The technology available today is both powerful
and affordable, giving colleges, universities, and technical schools the tools they need to
improve the workflows, and therefore efficiency, of their parking systems. It also provides a
vehicle to collect and build data systems for these institutions to make smarter decisions about
allocation and future expansion plans, if needed.
Automating Key Steps
It’s important to remember that automation should not be an all-or-nothing proposition. Most
workflows in any organization are complicated and require the human touch at particular points
in the process. Even most online applications require human data entry behind the scenes.
By identifying which steps during the overall workflow lend themselves to automation,
organizations can extend and streamline both the workflow and other online tools. These will
typically be the repetitive, time-consuming tasks that most employees would be happy to
relegate to process automation.
For example, many higher education institutions are still requiring that students and faculty
apply for parking permits in person, at one location, and during particular hours. The application
process itself is repetitive; certain information must be provided and a pass must be issued.
By moving this process online, these schools can increase business value across the board.
Students and faculty now have 24/7 accessibility to obtain parking passes immediately. The
application process is streamlined, with the computerized system immediately reading and
storing application data entered by the requester. Mundane data entry tasks and interactions
are eliminated, freeing staff for higher level, more fulfilling, job tasks.
Over time, this automated system builds a data repository for the higher education institution,
helping decision makers better define parking needs across the entire campus. High-demand
areas or particularly busy periods of time can be identified, and decisions can be made about
parking expansion. This data can be shared with other departments of the school, which can be
considered in scheduling extra activities or even in creating course schedules themselves.