Graceland’s Digital Transformation

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University News - Fall 2022

December 22, 2022 | Shane Adams

Enterprise technology advances at a rapid pace in today’s world. Blue, Gold & Bold, Graceland’s strategic framework for the future, prioritizes investments in the TECHNOLOGICAL INFRASTRUCTURE AT GRACELAND to help better adapt to change and meet the expectations and needs of 21st-century students.

While Graceland’s information technology services (ITS) team was able to support the shift to online learning necessitated by the COVID pandemic, that disruption reinforced the University’s need to upgrade and modernize its digital infrastructure. To assist in that effort, the Digital Transformation (Dx) Task Force was established to prepare recommendations for upgrading the ITS systems and processes to offer modern-day digital solutions to students, faculty, and staff.

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THE Dx TASK FORCE A collection of Graceland administrators, trustees, and alumni collaborated to advance the University’s efforts toward digital transformation. Their insights, expertise, and partnership have been critical to advancing the project to this point.

Aleks Memca ’00, Board of Trustees Member

Bob Ackerley ’06, Board of Trustees Member, SkillPath Board Chair

Joel Ross ’79, Graceland Alumnus

Mike Wiley ’83, Board of Trustees Chair

Rick Isham ’82, Senior Director, Major Gifts

Talia Brown ’05, Chief Information Officer

David Siddall ’85, Vice President for Business and Finance, Chief Financial Officer

Patricia H. Draves, President

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MEETING MODERN NEEDS Much of the early work has been preparatory in nature, but there have been significant developments to streamline processes, including the implementation of products like DocuSign, which helps facilitate the flow of official paperwork throughout the institution. Additionally, Graceland has moved forward with two significant partnerships for admissions and advancement. The admissions team is in the process of implementing Slate, a best-in-class higher education customer relationship management (CRM) platform, while the advancement team is implementing Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge NXT, a cloud-based platform specifically designed for fundraising.

“Slate and Raiser’s Edge are industry-standard cloud-based technologies, and we are excited to leverage their capabilities to the full potential,” said Talia Brown, Graceland Chief Information Officer. “These products will help drive enrollment and advancement efforts, which are critical for advancing the University’s growth.”

The University also recently invested in additional infrastructure to improve the student experience, upgrading wiring in the residence halls, and adding new wireless access points for all rooms. Much of this investment was made possible through government credits, technology fees, and generous gifts from our alumni and friends, who donated to the Carrying Our Community Through COVID-19 fundraising campaign.

IN THE CLOUD On the heels of those implementations will be a multi-year project to update Graceland’s core database and enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform. This is the backbone of Graceland’s information technology and integrates key aspects of the institution’s operations like human resources, finance, and student services. One key priority will be replacing this outdated University-hosted technology with a cloud-based system that will be easier to maintain, freeing up critical resources to focus on enhancing students’ experiences with technology on campus.

Institutions across the country are grappling with outdated technology and Graceland stands poised and ready to transform its technology and services for the next generation of students.

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