Six Things To Consider When Implementing New Technology

Implementing new technology at your career education program may be daunting, but combining the right vendor with strong executive support can simplify the process. 

 

A report by McKinsey & Company found that 47% of American jobs are “highly automatable.” However, this does not mean that 47% of jobs will disappear. It does mean that the manual work associated with roles will be automated, transforming the responsibilities of staff to focus on more high-level tasks. The report also stated that job automation would reduce errors and increase productivity tremendously, making automation an important competitive differentiator in many industries.

Many schools are implementing technology to facilitate organizational growth in the education sector. Putting modernized, standard processes in place can help your school achieve its growth goals—increasing its student population, adding new cohorts and programs, or opening more locations.

 

Regardless of your school’s growth objectives, here are four things to consider to help you prepare for new technology implementation.

1. There’s Never A Perfect Time

Schools considering implementing new technology often feel compelled to wait for the “right time” to shake things up. They wait for operations to slow down. They want to wait for operations to slow down or to complete outstanding projects. Unfortunately, the reality is that there will never be a perfect time to implement change. Operations don’t slow down, and management always has something on their plate. When schools wait for the “right time” to implement, they’re kicking the can down the road and failing to address the problems they’re facing. Those issues won’t go away by themselves, and the only way to solve them is by taking action. There’s a saying that goes, “if you wait for perfect, you’ll never get anything done.”

 

Technology is emerging as a vital component of school operations, and soon, every school will have the technology to replace manual data collection, entry, and analysis.

2. The Internal Audit

The first and arguably the most important step to beginning a new technology implementation is auditing your internal processes. Take a deep dive into the daily tasks of faculty at every level to properly reflect on your organization and identify bottlenecks causing processes to take longer than necessary.

 

Let’s look at a 2012 case study in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Oklahoma. The school had a growing student population and wanted to upgrade its operations to accommodate more students without hiring and onboarding more staff members. To find out if there were any bottlenecks they could remove, they took a closer look at their existing processes. The school identified that a typical employee spends 30 – 40% of their time looking for information stored in emails and filing cabinets. By sitting down with faculty and going through their tasks, leaders identified a huge opportunity for improvement. Equipped with the knowledge of where to improve, the school invested in and implemented a digital record system that reduced the time spent tracking down records, cut administrative costs, and improved faculty & student communication. 

 

Identifying bottlenecks can seem like a daunting task. It’s not always easy to choose which areas to prioritize or know how to find the roots of an issue, which is why it’s important to use data to examine the output of processes. Data gives your school a way to take a quantitative approach, making it easier to calculate the time and money used in existing processes. Having a cost associated with each task allows schools to set a benchmark against the change that the tech brings to the schools. Most leadership teams aren’t aware of the problems or the bottlenecks that are weighing down their schools at the ground level, which is why the internal audit is essential for understanding existing workflows and uncovering areas for improvement.

3. Does Your Vendor’s Vision Align With Yours?

When considering implementing new technology, you need to make sure of two things: that the technology can integrate with your existing systems and that the technology is scalable and capable of growing alongside your school. Will the technology you’re considering adding be in place in ten years? Make sure the answer is yes when choosing a vendor. If your goal is to open more locations or take on a larger student population, look for a vendor that will help you achieve your goals and continue providing value after scaling up.

4. Have Strong Executive Support

It’s not enough to simply implement new technology and expect that it will begin improving your operations for the better. You must adequately train your staff to set them up for success. When selecting a vendor, make sure to ask them about their onboarding processes. Does it include training for your staff? Will your staff members have access to support should they have any questions? Is there support for staff members who join after the implementation? 

 

Remember, there’s no such thing as overtraining, but undertraining may leave your staff burnt out and floundering.

5. Training is Critical

Many implementations face resistance and skepticism from end-users before they even see the software. It’s fair—the idea of learning a new technology can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! With support from your champion, work to build excitement across your team. You need them on board and utilizing the product to see success in your school. 

 

Build excitement through clear and open communication. Make sure your team knows what is being adopted, why it’s being adopted, and how it will benefit their day-to-day tasks. Stress that the new technology will allow them to eliminate the mundane parts of their job and empower them to focus on what matters most—student success. 

6. Kickoff with Excitement!

Many implementations face resistance and skepticism from end-users before they even see the software. It’s fair—the idea of learning a new technology can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! With support from your champion, work to build excitement across your team. You need them on board and utilizing the product to see success in your school. 

 

Build excitement through clear and open communication. Make sure your team knows what is being adopted, why it’s being adopted, and how it will benefit their day-to-day tasks. Stress that the new technology will allow them to eliminate the mundane parts of their job and empower them to focus on what matters most—student success.

Leveraging Technology To Achieve Your Goals

Implementing new technology to help standardize and streamline processes is essential for schools looking to take on larger student populations, add more cohorts or programs, or open new campus locations. Faster and more efficient scaling is only possible through an integrated technology stack that can automate manual tasks and share information across platforms. As automation becomes the standard in education, the schools that adopt automation technology early will start scaling up sooner, giving them a competitive advantage in their markets.

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