Digital transformation is sweeping through industries at an alarming rate—education institutions are no exception. The process of digital transformation is a necessary step institutions need to take to adapt to growing technologies for the sake of students, but also to keep administration up to date with ever-changing technologies.
Digital transformation is not a simple process—IT teams must decide on a variety of different tools for many different goals. Some tools can help streamline communications; others are intended for digitizing archival information. Regardless of the reasoning, it’s important that educational institutions find the right tools.
However, finding the right tools can pose different challenges. Technology is intricate, and understanding the internal complexities of certain systems and processes means that digital transformation can’t happen overnight.
When making the final decision, consider how your tools work together to create streamlined processes. Consolidating certain functions can help minimize costs and establish efficient processes so your educational technology stack can stay lean, but function efficiently. The Current Landscape of EdTech
According to a recent study, school districts within the K-12 space use more than 2,000 web apps across their student population. Now if you consider each student, the number of applications they use, and the hardware they need to access the required apps, this creates a complex web of requirements for educational IT leaders to consider in their decision-making processes.
Managing all of this hardware and digital tools is a lot of work and requires a unique set of skills. For districts with thousands of students and not a lot of IT support, managing these tools can be a major challenge. A good step towards digital transformation is tool consolidation.
Tool consolidation is the act of combining certain functions underneath one tool or process. For example, an education IT leader may decide they want to consolidate their remote access software and their help desk function under one tool. Tool consolidation can help minimize the number of different tools in your IT stack, which can save you money and reduce costs.
Here are a few strategies your institution can consider to help consolidate your edutech stack. Strategy 1: Align Tools with Organizational Goals
Before your team starts implementing a full digital transformation strategy, consider starting small and identify one portion of your organization you would like to target first. For this example, let’s pretend your IT team is looking to consolidate the number of tools the team uses to manage student hardware.
The first step is to create achievable and measurable goals to target. After that, you can develop a strategy designed to achieve the specific goal that you set. In this example, one of the tactics your team might implement is an audit of current software your team is using to manage student hardware and analyze the use case for each one. Strategy 2: Evaluate Compatibility and Integration Needs
Now that your team has an idea of a goal they want to achieve and a few tactics of how to get there, it's important to consider how introducing a new tool, or consolidating current ones, will affect the existing IT infrastructure.
Consider what software is mandatory for your team, and which ones are optional and see how they communicate together. If they don’t integrate, or if one requires manual inputs, it might be time to consider a different tool that offers more integration capabilities.
Many software companies allow for a short trial period of their tools. Use this to your advantage—play around and test different software to see how they work with your existing infrastructure in a contained environment with several different test devices. Your test devices should be a variety of different device types. The hardware students use varies, so you want to be sure that the devices you’re managing are compatible with your software. Strategy 3: Prioritize Security and Compliance
One of the major considerations IT leaders need to be conscious of when making software purchasing decisions is how student data will be protected. With the rise of phishing, data leaks, and other cybercrimes, it’s imperative that IT leaders are aware of the tools they’re using and how they’re protecting end users.
When choosing tools to consolidate, evaluate the security of each tool and if they’re compliant with any major legislations such as GDPR and FERPA. That way, if you find that any tools are particularly lacking in your audit, you can consolidate those tools for a more robust and secure option.
Make sure to implement a regular cadence for security audits—digital education apps are updating their privacy policies regularly, so it’s important to stay on top of changes and ensure the data of both your students and your faculty is protected. Strategy 4: Monitor Cost-Effectiveness and Scalability
Software prices frequently change, so it’s important to understand the pay structure of the software you’re using to ensure cost-effectiveness. A company may charge based on how many licenses your team has, or how many “seats” are in use. Regardless, it’s important to consider the size of your team and how many people will be using a specific tool to measure cost-effectiveness.
When considering cost, it’s also important to consider how much your team will grow within a specific year. Depending on the kind of software you’re using, adding an additional seat can be a costly endeavor. If you don’t want to incur this kind of expense, consider looking for tools with more flexible pricing options so it doesn’t break your IT team’s budget. Strategy 5: Focus on User Experience
When you are consolidating tools and considering different options, consider who the end user is and what their regular interactions with the tool will look like. Is the tool easy to pick up and learn? Is the regular use case of the tool a simple and intuitive process?
Finding tools that are easy to implement, adopt, and use daily with minimal training is one of the ways that IT teams can enact more efficient processes. This makes training newer individuals simple, as it will require less technical explanations to teach consistent processes. How Tool Consolidation Benefits Educational Institutions
According to a new study, knowledge workers estimate that 4.9 hours per week could be saved if they had more improved processes. Workers are spending more time trying to find the information they need and switching between the right apps. If your team is switching between dozens of tools and apps, this is time that could be spent on more meaningful work.
Being strategic about the tools that your team adds to your tech stack is important—introducing a new application to your tech stack could mean introducing a new vulnerability to your security. Consolidating the number of tools you use allows your IT team to minimize the amount of time spent evaluating software, providing more time for more valuable work, like providing students with the infrastructure they need to continue their digital learning. Splashtop Enterprise and Tool Consolidation for Educational Institutions
If your IT team is looking to consolidate major IT functions, consider Splashtop Enterprise as an option. Splashtop Enterprise integrates with a variety of major help desk and support tools to provide technicians with the ability to quickly generate tickets and remote into requesting devices.
Splashtop Enterprise is a simple-to-use tool built with security in mind—compliant with major security regulations such as FERPA, GPDR, SOC2, and ISO/IEC 27001. Make remote device management simple for both technicians and end users by providing easy-to-use ways to connect to end users and minimize the number of tools in your tech stack.
Interested in seeing how Splashtop Enterprise works with your current workflow? Get started now to chat with one of our representatives so you can try Splashtop Enterprise for a week for free.