Minneapolis, Minn. – August 7, 2015 – By Brian Berlin, Augusoft Director of Sales
Technology choices facing the Continuing Education leader seem endless and the financial support and stakeholders needed to make these decisions are growing. Where does one start to get your program on the road to success? Good question! We have outlined key steps with action items organizations can use to make the right technology decision for their continuing education (CE) and workforce development (WFD) program. We start with Discovery:
Discovery or “What’s On My Radar?”
You just attended a conference and listened to your colleague’s success stories. Some of these programs are growing significantly and they seem to have the right software in place to effectively manage their program. You wonder: should I be investigating the market to determine best practices?
You are now in the Discovery Phase: Determining what is the right decision for your organization. You may not even be considering buying technology at this stage, because your real focus is surviving budgetary issues or sidestepping the next political landmine to keep your program healthy. There are at least 5 critical questions you should be asking that will help shape your thinking before you proceed further.
1. How strong is the economy and my community? In a bad economic environment, no purchasing decision goes unchallenged, regardless of funding. A growing economy, and a growing community can serve as compelling events in advance of defining problems.
2. How committed is my school’s leadership to CE/WFD? We’ve heard of college presidents that promised to find funding for CE and WFD initiatives because of the importance to the community, businesses, and most of all to the school. When there exists the potential for revenue growth, college presidents are listening and acting.
3. Is there money to invest in the programs needed to compete and thrive? If peer programs are expanding, how are they investing? Did they budget for technology purchases, obtain grant funds, or are their programs generating investable money?
4. Do I have the right staff? Technology cannot cure staffing. Do you have the right headcount? Are you throwing people at problems because there is so much manual processing involved in your programs? Can staff be repurposed if suitable technology is available?
5. Do I need to re-organize my staff and department to gain alignment? Do you have the right people in the right seats? The CE/WFD market is growing. Can your staff meet the challenge, and more importantly, do they want to?
This is a good time to ask yourself, your team and other potential stakeholders: “What are our stated business goals and objectives with CE/WFD?” Program goals usually focus on driving enrollment and revenues, and lowering costs. Framing the question in terms of business objectives is important because if you ask for a technology investment, you will need to show you can cover the costs easily and make profits readily.
To learn about the other key steps to take on the road to Successful Technology Decision Making, download our Buyer’s Guides for CE/WFD Managers.