Nine stakeholders that can make or break advising technology implementations

Published: April 11, 2022

Institutions invest significant amounts of time, money, and effort into implementing the administrative and technological infrastructure supporting the advising process, often with decidedly mixed results. The Role(s) of Stakeholders in the Implementation of Advising Technology, a new report from Advising Success Network core partner EDUCAUSE, seeks to shed light on processes that contribute to institutions’ successful implementation of advising technologies and focuses on identifying and describing the roles and responsibilities of key institutional stakeholders—a topic that has been under-researched to date. For the purposes of this report, “advising technologies” were defined as the digital systems and platforms that allow for the collection, integration, and use of student data (i.e., degree audits, early alerts, and predictive analytics). 

Our report includes case studies from 12 exemplary institutions to highlight:

  • the multiple stakeholder roles that faculty members can play in the implementation process
  • the importance of including students as a stakeholder in the selection and implementation process
  • experiences with technology vendors Campus Labs/Anthology and Starfish/EAB/Hobsons.

This research illuminated nine distinct “personas” that embody the various roles that key stakeholders play in the advising technology implementation process: 

Evangelist, Senior Sponsor, Change Champion, Sage, Ambassador, Resistor, Cheerleader, Piloteer, and Vendor. 

The use of personas reflects the diversity of institutions and advising technologies included in these case studies—each persona may be taken on by different individuals with different titles and places within the administrative or academic hierarchy, making titles or job descriptions ineffective when looking to draw conclusions across institutions.

Critically, we recognize the fundamental role of students as stakeholders in the use and impact of advising technologies, and future inquiry should squarely look at their role in the implementation process. Although the implementations reviewed for this project were successful despite the lack of student involvement, it’s not known what opportunities or pitfalls including students might have presented. It is likely, however, that students could act as valuable ambassadors and piloteers, even for technologies that are not student facing, raising important considerations surrounding their advising needs as well as the use and privacy of their data.

The analyses in the report offer a guide for those looking to begin or revisit the implementation of an advising technology within their institution. Specifically, this guide is intended to assist advising and student success professionals when deciding how to situate stakeholders within their particular context to be successful during implementation.