As civilization moves forward, technology will be the tool humans use to solve problems. For schools, there are a variety of challenges that technology can help overcome. It can help with combating chronic absenteeism, automating pen and paper processes, increasing student retention, and more.
While there are now technologies designed specifically to help schools overcome challenges that are hard to solve manually, deciding it’s time to adopt new technology is the first — and biggest — step.
Categories Of Adoption
When adopting technology, there are three categories that organizations fall into based on when they choose to adopt. The first group of adopters are called the innovators. They’re typically technology enthusiasts and are interested in the technological capabilities of a product. They are the most willing to take risks when it comes to adopting new products.
Next are the early adopters, who align the capabilities of emerging technology with strategic opportunities and are willing to take some degree of risk to achieve a competitive advantage over their peers. Early adopters are visionaries and pioneers, and are willing to adopt new technology because the vision of the tech company aligns with their needs and goals.
Behind the innovators and early adopters comes the mainstream market. The mainstream market is more pragmatic, meaning they’re not as willing to take risks as innovators and early adopters are. Organizations in the mainstream market wait to adopt a technology until the benefits are proven and the technology is fully developed. Often times, the mainstream market won’t consider adopting new technology until it is necessary to stay relevant in the market.
Of these categories, it’s best to be an early adopter. There are many advantages to being an early adopter, including influencing the development of the technology, gaining a competitive advantage, and becoming a thought leader in your industry.
Influence The Development Of The Tech
As an early adopter, you can be a crucial player in the development of the technology. Early adopters have the advantage of building closer relationships with the tech company, giving them more influence over the development of the technology itself. Companies building the emerging technology greatly value the feedback and input of their customers. So much so that the customer experience and feedback actually shapes the direction of the product. Not only will you be an early adopter of the tech, but you’ll be a crucial player in the development of the technology.
Often times, the tech company is working to solve a problem without living it day to day the way their customers are, meaning the early adopters can bring to light issues or factors that the company may not have been aware of previously and provide validation when the tech company is moving in a good direction. By helping the tech companies better understand the problem they’re solving based on their own experiences, early adopters help shape the technology. As the company makes improvements and updates their tech, they will be doing so to accommodate the needs of your school.
On the flip side of working closely with the tech company to influence the product, early adopters get more high-touch attention from the company’s success and support teams, unlike adopting a mainstream tool that’s grown too big to offer a personal touch. Many times, emerging technology companies are in a stage where they can allocate more time and resources to their clients, making sure that questions are answered and problems are resolved as quickly as possible.
As an early adopter, you’ll form a connection with the tech company and will have a product that aligns with your school’s needs and preferences.
Gain A Competitive Advantage
A study by Harvard Business Review found that early adopters experience “first mover advantages” over their competition. By becoming an early investor in technology, which 57% of respondents in the study said drives business growth and innovation, organizations experience higher growth in revenue and market position. An analysis of the study shows that the growth of early adopters “is more than twice the growth experienced by companies identified as technology followers (the early mainstream market) and three times the growth experienced by cautious technology adopters (the late-adopting mainstream market). Overall, the study demonstrates that early adoption of new tech leads to better business outcomes.
Early adopters are the first ones over the learning curve, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of the technology and address other aspects of their organization while the mainstream market is left scrambling to surmount the curve, or, worse, still tackling their challenges by hand. Because of limited market pressure, early adopters have time to spend implementing technology effectively and integrating it with their systems without worrying about competitors catching up to them.
In addition to enjoying “first-mover advantages,” schools who adopt technology early will have unique advertising points over their competitors. Schools that have adopted tech to help increase student retention, provide more student support, enable increased efficiency, help combat chronic absenteeism, help boost student outcomes, or other solutions are able to appeal to students (and even staff) on a different level than other schools can. They’re in a position to advertise new capabilities that schools without the tech may not be able to.
Become A Thought Leader In The Industry
Early adopters of technology becoming thought leaders in their industry. They’re seen by competitors as pioneers, trendsetters, and visionaries for the advancement of your sector. That’s because as an early adopter, you’re not just adopting the technology — you’re adopting the vision of the company and are working alongside the company to realize that vision.
By gaining a reputation as a pioneer and visionary, you’ll gain the attention of new students, new partners, and even new staff. They’ll see you moving in an advanced direction in the space, which will make them want to be part of the journey. For example, in the case of technology that helps automate different administrative processes, staff members will be looking at schools that have adopted technology as appealing organizations to work with because they know they’ll spend less time handling tedious manual tasks.
Similarly, your efforts to adopt emerging technology will give you free publicity and keep your school top of mind to people in the sector. Students, staff, and partner companies will want to be associated with a quality, modern school. Your school will be setting the tone for the industry, and once results demonstrate the effectiveness of adopted tech, your outcomes will set the new bar.
Early Bird Gets The Worm
Adopting new technology can seem like a daunting task. However, it’s important to realize there is almost no chance of reward without a little bit of risk. Sometimes schools need to make a leap of faith to new platforms or solutions if they want to get ahead.
The good news is that adopting new technology is not a split second decision. You can gather data and make your own conclusions about if the new tech is a good investment. One way to do that is by getting a personalized demo of the technology with an expert where you can sit down and drill into the details of how your business will be affected. Completing a demo will help clarify many outstanding questions you may have as an early adopter and might even illuminate possibilities that you didn’t know about.
Don’t scramble and play catch-up once you realize the tech is actually essential to staying competitive. To avoid seeing your school drown in the crowded pool of followers and cautious investors, be interested early, work together with the tech to make it the most useful it can be to your school, and enjoy the benefits while other schools are working to keep up with you.