Higher Education, Grappling With Budget Challenges, Calls Upon Business Intelligence Experts

Public and private colleges and universities are experiencing significant and complex revenue challenges stemming from COVID-19. With enrollment shifts and changes, combined with budget cuts and new operational requirements, higher education institutions are stretched thin from a fiscal perspective. But crisis breeds ingenuity! Higher education has always emphasized that “knowledge is power,” and now many institutions are taking a page from their own syllabus and deploying business intelligence expertise to help them make short and long-term changes to support their fiscal health.

Impacts of COVID-19

The pandemic has changed college enrollment, operational and budget trajectories in a permanent way. Now that remote working and education are a widely accepted and needed remedy to address health-related challenges, there are ripple effects that impact operations and budgets in ways never imagined. With less students and workforce on campus, questions that seemed inconceivable before are now front and center. Some budget line items such as mobile devices are rising due to increased use, while others are falling far short of their projected contract use, i.e., copier and printer volume. Other areas of expense such as utilities and waste services have seen significant fluctuations in response to pandemic safety protocols, creating significant planning and budget uncertainty.

Further exacerbating the issue, California public colleges and universities received $2 billion less state funding during the pandemic as part of unexpected government budget cuts. Yes, short-term safety nets were provided through state and federal relief programs, but that money was largely earmarked for facility enhancements or used to support short term cash flow.  In summary, one-time money for specific expenditures will not cure ongoing operational budget challenges.

On top of facing enrollment and funding cuts, colleges and universities have had to adapt in major ways to the new reality of a post-COVID world. From investing in virtual learning technology to building outdoor classrooms, installing testing centers, overhauling sanitation practices, COVID-aware infrastructure and services are significant expenses for organizations with high-density living, dining, and workspaces. 

New Challenges, Proven Solutions

What can higher education administrators do to maintain high experience standards, provide quality education, and keep all community members safe, all while grappling with serious budget constraints?

One solution many institutions have leveraged is the use of Business Intelligence (BI) services to increase efficiency, receive higher service levels, and obtain cost reduction.

Business Intelligence (BI)

{def.} Industry specific experts us of historical, current and predictive information to identify, design, and implement operational efficiency strategies.

“The foundation of higher education is the use of experts (professors) to educate and assist their ‘clients’ (students). ProcureAmerica does the exact same thing, but in an industry-specific and business-focused approach,” said ProcureAmerica CEO Fred Armendariz. “When we describe exactly what BI is to higher education administrators, they philosophically and intellectually understand it immediately.”

Numerous colleges and universities work with ProcureAmerica as their partner for Business Intelligence Services, including the University of California system, Cal State Universities and Community Colleges, as well as private institutions like USC, Chapman University and Whittier College. Through these BI partnerships, ProcureAmerica provides the institution with industry specific expertise that delivers higher service levels, additional efficient operational and use models, and millions of dollars in cost reduction.

“ProcureAmerica and Vanguard University have worked together for some time now,” said Jeremy Moser, Vanguard University’s Chief Financial Officer. “Their company has performed five reviews for the University over the years, delivering valuable information and significant savings. Not only were they self-reliant and easy to work with, but also highly skilled in their craft!”

​​About ProcureAmerica

ProcureAmerica is the nation’s leading business intelligence company supporting government, higher education, healthcare and private industry. Their services support and deliver operational efficiency, fiscal responsibility, expense transparency and net cost reduction. The firm has significant industry expertise in six specific expense categories: Utilities, Waste & Recycling, Telecommunications, Print Management, Technology Optimization, and Treasury.