EdTech Strategy & Planning
In the last couple of years, technology in education sector has changed the way people look at the teaching and learning process. The biggest learning is for educational institutions, educators and students is to have a strategic plan.
In majority of cases, the key stakeholders in the education sector were underprepared or unprepared to tide over COVID-19 situation. It was not just the reactionary or emergency plan that was unavailable with Schools and HigherEd institutions – in the pandemic, most institutions realized that they did not have a coherent technology strategy or roadmap. The reality was that technology was at best looked at as a piece-meal support to education and not as a driver for education.
Prior to the pandemic, technology was not a big consideration. More often than now, education technology was considered as an add-on and not an integral part of education. However, now that educational institutions have realised that there were practical challenges faced in offering either online or hybrid learning to students, technology has taken the centre-stage in delivering education.
It’s never too early to plan
When you’re in the middle of a fire experience intense heat, making a plan appears unnatural and fire-fighting is a natural response. Afterall, there are students, parents, and teachers wanting immediate solutions to their problems. Hence, the most likely approach is to fire-fight and provide to teachers, parents and students immediate solutions and keep planning for a later stage. While such an approach is natural, it is perilous. Facing the problem-at-hand with courage is important but it does not make the problem go away in the long run. It results in putting resources for addressing short term problems and getting into a vicious loop with more and more short-term problems that need immediate attention all the time!
The pandemic has brought upon educational institutions several problems with different dimensions at the same time. For instance, several students just do not have a dedicated computing device (laptops or tablets) for them to get connected remotely. Also, consistent, and good connectivity is an issue, which must be tackled to make the computing devices usable. Hoping for internet bandwidth to always be good is wishful thinking – delivery systems must be designed with the assumption that the internet bandwidth will be uneven. Other challenging aspects are personal, psychological, social and family related issues. To ensure effective planning and execution of technology strategy, design, architecture and planning, one needs to look beyond driving efficiency.
At Eduvisors we confront each challenge sans any preconceived notion; our solutions are based on facts rather than opinions.
Well-designed EdTech Strategic Planning (ESP) principles ensure success
From a distance, creating a strategic plan for design, architecture and delivery of technology infrastructure and tools appears highly technical. The matter of fact is that a strategic plan for technology need not be highly technical. A technology roadmap in education sector is centred around efficient and effective teaching and learning process. There are several leading education institutions who have designed and delivered technology roadmap in cost-effective and timely manner. There is a lot to learn from their success stories.
- Requirement-first approach: With plethora technology options to choose from and several brands and manufacturers, offering similar products or services, selection becomes complex for your School or HigherEd Institution. Eduvisors’ proprietary methodology addresses this aspect with requirement-first approach. Eduvisors team helps clients gather requirement from a variety of stakeholders, including teachers, administrators and IT staff, to figure out vital, essential or desirable options – before arriving at the detailed requirement specification document.
- Plan the draft: Schools and HigherEd institutions need not start from the scratch for EdTech related strategic planning. Instead, it is advisable to plan a draft document learning from institutions and their experiences. This is where Eduvisors EdTech Strategic Planning (EESP) assists its clients in the whole process. We typically create a five-year strategic plan that includes key milestones and benchmarks, such as due date for updating hardware and infrastructure and how to enable access to digital content and curriculum and other resources.
- Commit to professional development: One may buy the most advanced and cutting-edge technology available in the market, however, if the educators and administrators don’t know how to use it, it becomes worthless. To ensure teachers and administrators are familiar and proficient with the technology, Schools and HigherEd Institutions must provide preliminary and ongoing training and support. Eduvisors, through EESP, offers a knowledge bank, variety of in-person workshops, as well as on-demand support and troubleshooting, as needed.
- Measure success continually: The only way to be certain of effectiveness of EdTech solutions is to monitor and measure the success in an ongoing manner. This can be done in a variety of ways, from surveying administrators, educators and students and asking for testimonials to quantifying engagement and interaction to reporting on student achievement. If the measurements do not match your expectations, a change, of course, will be required.
The key point for Schools and HigherEd Institutions to remember is that they are not alone in this process. It is recommended to look to your peers for inspiration and learning, and you can get professional grade support from Eduvisors and technology partners you choose to work with. Recognising that this is a collaborative and joint effort will go a long way to ensure success.
In the last few years, the education industry and traditional value chain have witnessed a sea change, right from K-12 to higher education to executive & professional education. In addition, the global talent shortage has pushed employee upskilling and internal talent mobility higher on the corporate HR agenda, resulting in a surge in demand for EdTech and associated talent development services.
As the result, the EdTech industry, which offers digital learning management systems, massive open online course (MOOC) platforms, and many other distance learning solutions, has started to grow significantly. The trend is here to stay and will continue even after the pandemic.
There are some pressing and critical questions that could challenge players in the sector. Leading EdTech companies approach us with unique and uncomfortable questions that require a comprehensive analysis. A few of such questions:
- What will be the key skills required by the workforce in future?
- Will the talent shortage gap go beyond the current crisis?
- Are there adequate programs that currently address the huge skill gap for future jobs or emerging technology?
- How can we benchmark opportunities against scarce talent and capital to generate the best ROI?
- What is the secret sauce to gaining competitive advantage and differentiating against competitors?
- Should the go-to-market strategy be global or local or glocal?
- How is client behaviour different across select geographies, product formats, socio-economic and psychographic demographic categories?
Major Challenges Faced by EdTech Companies
Of course, there is a logarithmic growth of the EdTech industry. However, such stupendous growth has also brought the key challenge to stay ahead of the competition. EdTech market is cluttered. Here are a few of the challenges faced by EdTech companies and the strategies they can potentially adopt to deal with them.
- Strategic and Tactical Plans – Many EdTech firms do not create a comprehensive strategic and tactical plan to be able to deliver value to customers. Given the current uncertain and fast changing requirement, creating strategic and tactical plans is no longer an option for EdTech companies. They need to develop a framework that enables the delivery of quality educational services to the right customer segment at the right time and within the budget, thus gaining competitive advantage and tapping the right opportunities.
- Different and Relevant – EdTech companies need to have clear differentiators vis-à-vis their competitors. They need to stay relevant to the customers through creating insights and assessing trends and continuously adapting themselves to stay ahead of the pack. They need a clear and coherent differentiation strategy to deliver relevant experiences to their customers.
- Choose the right partners – The proliferation of advanced and cutting-edge technologies and offerings has made it difficult to choose the right partners. It is critical to understand that the right technology partner may not be the biggest company or the cheapest company or the most accessible company. With considerations in forging meaningful partnerships that are beyond technical and commercial aspects – these include aspects that are cultural, legal, futuristic and people related. Eduvisors assists its clients choose the right partner keeping in mind multiple aspects leading to a win-win situation for all.
How Eduvisors Helps EdTech Companies Grow and Tap Unique Growth Opportunities
Go-to-Market (GTM) Strategy Framework
Eduvisors’ GTM offering considers not just end-to-end market and opportunity but also key risks, which can be customized to clients’ requirements. Our framework addresses three key questions:
- What are the potential opportunities within a target segment?
- Who are the key competitors and potential disruptors?
- How to reach target customers in a scalable, repeatable and cost-effective manner?
Simply put, our GTM framework outlines how EdTech companies can quickly deliver their products or services to the right customer segments.
New Market Opportunities for EdTech Companies
Entering a new market requires a deep geographical, cultural and commercial understanding. By partnering with Eduvisors, clients get access to industry experts, a pool of resources with education and technology experience, and insights that are unique. We consider each market and each client in a unique manner, and we do not use templates that work across markets. This helps us in providing services that ensure high ROI to our clients through new market opportunities.