Framework for digital transformation in higher education

A comprehensive perspective on how the digital environment can support positive work, research and learning experiences, and promote a sense of belonging and wellbeing.

The framework offers a structure to guide the development of strategic vision and planning, fostering innovation, streamlining business processes and operations, and developing partnerships for collaboration. It highlights how policies and processes might align to promote cross-team approaches to reduce complexity and fragmented processes.

The need for digital transformation

Framework for digital transformation in higher education cover

UK universities are facing significant disruption due to the economic crisis and limited resources, along with the impact of COVID-19 on staff and student wellbeing. One of the ways the sector is responding to challenges and disruption is by revisiting their strategies for digital.

Successful digital transformation requires effective digital leadership, appropriate investment, robust secure infrastructure, stakeholder engagement, and digitally capable staff and students. The complexities and scale of higher education institutions present challenges to achieving ambitious digital strategies.

This digital transformation framework has been developed for senior leaders, managers and change agents with responsibility for supporting digital transformation - across a range of different roles and locations within their organisational structures.

Aims of the framework

  • To support the development of a shared understanding of digital transformation across the sector and within HE organisations
  • To encourage a holistic approach - identifying patterns and connections across traditional boundaries
  • To encourage collaborative approaches and build on the collective wisdom of the sector and organisations
  • To help reduce complexity and fragmented processes
  • To support HE organisations to articulate a strategic vision for digital transformation and develop actionable plans to achieve this
  • To inform decision making and prioritise investment
  • To focus on people and practices, not just processes and technology
  • To highlight leadership and digital capability as critical success factor

Download the framework (pdf)

Developing the framework

This framework has been developed in consultation with a range of UK professional bodies: Advance HE, Association for Learning Technology (ALT), Association of Higher Education Professionals (AHEP), Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE), Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), Society of College, National and University, Libraries (SCONUL), Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association (UCISA), Universities UK (UUK) and Vitae.

This ensures the framework reflects sector priorities and links to key UK HE models and frameworks already in use.

The framework will be supported by an evolving range of materials to help organisations assess their digital maturity across all business activities. These materials will signpost through to support available from UK higher education (HE) sector bodies, as well as Jisc resources, products and services that can enable digital transformation.

Get involved

To get started, read our digital transformation in higher education guide, which contains a digital maturity model, action plan, and roadmap.

If you are a senior leader working in higher education and you're interested in joining our working group for digital transformation, please register your interest.

This guide is made available under Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND).