Student Information Management is vital to a school district. At the core of a school district’s structure, the student management system can have the district running like a well-maintained car, or one that’s been sitting on blocks for years.
Here is how this can happen.
To simplify, let’s say you’ve gone to a dealership and found what you thought was your dream car. After driving it for a little while, you want make a few upgrades to increase the performance and security of the car. Unfortunately, your dealer tells you that any upgrade to your car has to be approved by the dealership or your warranty is no longer valid. But by the way, the dealer sell their own upgrades that don’t affect your warranty, but they are clearly inferior to other solutions on the market.
This is what is happening to many districts that want the freedom to pick and choose individual pieces of software to interface with their student information. Consolidating choices can stifle innovation, and to that end, is it even really a choice?
All SRC Solutions products, including Registration Gateway, are designed to integrate with all Student Information Systems. We believe that school districts should not only have the choice of how to upgrade their student data management but also the complete and unfettered right to choose how to access it, just as vehicle owners should have the entire auto industry from which to choose a solution to a situational problem.
Closed service providers that try to master every single function, from power steering to tires to the car seats for the kids, can present problems. Here are a few reasons that putting all your K-12 software eggs in one basket may be more of a problem than you thought.
1. Eliminating the Options…And the Possibilities
Closed systems don’t allow their clients to think outside the box. By closing their doors and minds to the businesses happening outside their company, they’ve made choices for their customers without consulting them about their needs and desires to innovate and grow.
2. Condensed Management and Support
Consolidated service providers become “sole providers” via acquisition of smaller, specialized companies. When an acquired company is absorbed, a lot of department personnel are lost in the merge. Research and Development and Client Relations departments are often completely gutted; their responsibilities simply given over to the existing staff. This not only halts innovation, it can backtrack it. Relationships and plans between customers and the small company are harmed, promises are easily broken or at least, put on a questionable hiatus.
Ask yourself these two questions.
- Has the satisfaction with my software providers increased or decreased when they expanded into other areas?
- Are my support calls answered as quickly and how much longer do my issues take to get resolved?
3. Too Many Projects,Too Little Time
This one is pretty obvious. If an consolidated service provider says they’re going to provide solutions, from online enrollment to in-the-classroom tools, they’re going to struggle to find the time to deliver on all their promises. Updating software takes a ton of time to design, and then a lot of additional work to implement. This is an example of one big company working harder, not smarter, than all the small companies that work faster and wiser on specialized issues. Ever heard the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none”? Would you rather go to an all-in-one doctor, accountant, and mechanic, or take the time to individually care for your body, finances, and vehicle?
4. Cookie Cutter Products
When a large company has only so much time and so many resources to allocate to a particular issue, the end result is a simplified, one-size-fits-all solution. When a specialized organization is able to narrowly focus on solving a common problem, they can customize the solutions to the source. Collecting feedback from customers is the lifeblood of a specialized organization. It’s how they adapt the process to changes in the industry and in modern technology, and they have a lot more time to focus on their smaller range of products, relationships, and services.
5. Can You Be Your Own Competition?
In a psychological way, sure, but not when it comes to business. For the sole provider of software solutions, incentive to innovate fades out with the competition. Promises to upgrade certain processes are easy to make, and easy to break. By keeping customers tied to in-house solutions, they’ve tied their customers hands when it comes to considering competitive options, allowing the company to charge inflated rates for services that simply don’t measure up to those of the specialized companies.