How To Know When It's Time for New Tech

March 16, 2022 Watermark Insights

We’ve all dealt with a huge amount of change over the last few years, and as a result, we’ve had to adjust the way we work. For many institutions, coping with COVID-related disruption created opportunities to make positive changes. They may have adopted new solutions or taken advantage of underutilized technologies to support teaching and learning.

As you continue to adapt and evolve key processes on your campus, you might be considering new software to support the effort. Here are a few ways to know whether it’s the right time for new technology.

Your Process Works (But There’s Room For Improvement)

Faculty and staff have a lot to balance, and administrative tasks often fall to the bottom of the to-do list. Assessment, faculty activity reporting, and even course evaluation administration can quickly become time-consuming projects when processes and technology aren’t in alignment.

Is your team struggling to use systems that don’t fully support their day-to-day tasks? Or do they need to relearn how to use complicated tools every time annual reporting rolls around? If so, it’s time to reconsider the tools you’re using.

Software works best when it is chosen to support an existing, effective process. Listen closely to the feedback you’re getting about your existing systems and consider finding a new solution that more closely matches the way your team operates.

You’re Missing a Key Feature

Are you managing most of your work in a single software solution, but still handling a few critical components outside of the system? You likely don’t have the right tool for the job. Gaps in functionality lead to creative workarounds, which are difficult to manage and keep track of.

Consider the impact of using a software solution for accreditation reporting that includes a pre-built template that exactly matches the requirements of your specific accreditor. How much time could you save on data entry and formatting? What could you accomplish using that time for data analysis instead?

You Can’t See the Full Picture

The term “data silos” comes up often when institutions are seeking new software. A silo is created when data gathered by one group isn’t fully accessible by other groups in the same organization.

It’s likely that your institution has a handful of software tools that are being used campus-wide, and even more applications that are used independently by individual schools, programs, or departments. This leads to multiple teams entering the same information in their own systems, creating inconsistent, inaccurate data sets (and wasting a ton of time!).

If you’re manually pulling together reports from multiple applications, wasting time reentering data that exists in another system, or don’t have a single source of truth for assessment and accreditation reporting, it’s time to consider a campus-wide solution.

You Can’t Keep Up with Change

Over time, teams tend to eliminate extra steps in their processes to focus on the most important elements. It can be difficult for legacy systems to keep up, particularly when they were chosen to support a process that was put in place years ago.

Consider the transition to remote work. In-person site visits for accreditation were next-to-impossible at the height of the pandemic. Teams were forced to adapt their reporting and document submission methods, as they could no longer review binders of data sitting side-by-side at a conference room table. Schools that were already using a digital assessment and accreditation solution were ahead of the game because their reports could be accessed by reviewers online, from any location.

Take the Next Step

If you’re seeing any of these signs at your institution, now is the time for new tech. Download our latest free eBook, The Essential Guide: How To Be a Tech Champion for advice on finding, funding, and driving the adoption of new software.

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