A Consultant's Perspective: Implementing Employability Solutions
Strategic consulting services are an essential and fundamental component to ensuring a successful implementation of any enterprise solution for higher ed institutions. Only a few providers are able to apply best practices from subject matter experts and dedicate time to really understand the client’s needs. Many EduTech software providers today typically connect their implementation managers to the university teams to ask a standard set of questions as if they were ticking some preselected options. They then load the student or alumni data, provide some access credentials, and allow the university team to figure out most system functionality out by themselves.
Exactly at the moment, when those previously created high expectations were about the materialize, the most frustrating and daunting experience begins. The teams have to go through a great amount of self-training and online guides, the reason for change has not been made clear to them and they feel unsupported. These providers, in their attempts to cut down on costs or to cut down on the decision-making process, oversee the importance of strategic consulting services as a key component of the success of the solution.
There is a wide range of strategic services that can be associated with a successful software implementation, however, one of the most important ones is a solid on-site strategic process discovery engagement upon commencing with the project. With regards to Symplicity CSM, this service engages the entire employability team to discover existing processes, set the vision for change, and identifies any potential risks. Lastly, it then looks at the technical requirements that align with the first two areas and sets a plan for immediate next steps. The success of the solution about the institution is firstly about people, then processes and then the technology to support it.
The Symplicity strategic consulting services team is made up of experienced consultants from the EduTech sector and higher educational institutions. The Symplicity team can speak in six different languages across their consultants and each consultant applies a highly analytical approach. The process of discovery and mapping is supported by in-depth functional expertise of the solution to ensure that each implementation is a success for all stakeholders involved.
Over the last three years, I have personally conducted 11 on site process discovery sessions from Australia and Singapore to Mexico and Colombia. Here is what I have discovered through my experience working with institutions from all over the world:
- Not all universities are the same: Educational institutions vary in numbers of students, team sizes, organizational structure, technological advancement and attitude towards change, just to name some of the differentiating factors. This is why a one size fits all approach does not work.
- Employability has a different meaning to different people: For some universities, awards and certifications form a core part of their career services offering meanwhile others tend to place more emphasis on the validation and evaluation of curricular internships and extracurricular internships. There are very few that are focused on just providing access to a dynamic job board. We have found that it is only through a combination of services that institutions can prepare students for tomorrow´s job market.
- Never underestimate the buy in of the entire team: Many team members are not involved in the initial decision-making process on which platform to buy. Some of these stakeholders are, however, critical to team adoption of new concepts. The discovery session is the perfect opportunity to connect with this audience, listen to their needs and showcase the benefits of the new solution.
- Plan for change and change the plan: A good change management plan is a fundamental component for all audiences: students, staff, employers and faculty. The plan needs to be discussed before, during and after launch for any concerns with measurable activities. However, circumstances and needs often change so revising this plan is a best practice.
- Transparency at all levels: Both as a provider and as a client, the consequence of not transmitting concerns early or in a clearly articulated format can have significant impact in the success of the project at a later phase. Regular communication and raising all concerns (whether they be they strategic, functional or technical) is fundamental.
If you would like to learn more about Symplicity products or our strategic consulting services, schedule a conversation with us.