An Administrator's Guide to Optimizing School Business Processes Using the Cloud
- By Corey Pudhorodsky
The classroom is in the clouds, and it’s optimizing teacher and administrative workloads every day. Education is in the midst of a technological revolution, with technology influencing every part of the school day. This revolution is only possible because of cloud-based computing. When teachers, administrators, and students can work from anywhere, the benefits are endless.
How the Cloud Helps Reduce School Business Ineffiencies
When school leaders have the technological tools to maintain a safe and healthy work environment, they report increased job satisfaction. According to a study from RAND, around 24% of school leaders said they would stay in the field longer if given improved technology systems.
Where technology like virtual whiteboards and school information systems makes a difference in the classroom, technology that optimizes administrative systems are making a difference in the business offices and helping schools to function more efficiently.
According to a recent survey of 400 education and nonprofit professionals, nearly half of the professionals used six different digital tools, and 23% relied on eight digital tools to achieve their goals. These siloed systems resulted in professionals spending at least a quarter of their day managing information between multiple systems.
As a result, efficiency is suffering. Only 33% of professionals said their current use of systems is very efficient, despite 36% saying systems management is essential to achieving their organization’s mission.
How do you solve the problem of inefficient systems? Consolidate your technology stack into the cloud.
Realizing Administrative Benefits
According to the survey, 75% of respondents were more likely to adopt a cloud-based solution in 2022. When isolating for senior leadership-level respondents, 88% of senior leaders said they planned to adopt a cloud-based solution during the year.
Expanding the classroom beyond the traditional four walls and into the cloud has clear benefits for schools and administrators. Inefficient solutions cost school staff’s time. The time spent navigating between separate systems is roughly 10 hours a week or 520 hours a year. What could your school do with an extra 520 hours a year?
Cloud-based systems meet your employees wherever they are, decrease tech infrastructure spending, and increase efficiency.
Cloud security varies by vendor, and when meeting compliance regulations for data security and proprietary information, schools must choose a vendor that employs those safeguards. Good cloud environments use multiple layers of protection that include limited user access and permissions, encrypted data and communications, and industry-specific compliance.
The cloud also has robust internal controls that allow your school’s administrators to limit access to cloud systems to only the parties that should be able to access them.
Finally, cloud-based technologies also help control costs. Where traditional, on-premise systems require onsite servers and dedicated staff to handle updates and troubleshoot problems, cloud-based systems live in offsite servers, and the software is regularly updated and backed up. Maintenance and support spending decreases significantly when a school adopts cloud-based technology. This gives your IT staff more time to support teachers and the education of students.
A Guide to Optimizing School Processes Using the Cloud
Over the last several years, momentum toward the cloud has accelerated. More schools, businesses, and even individuals rely on the cloud for day-to-day use — a trend that’s expected to continue. Several departments could benefit from moving to cloud-based technology when installing a cloud-based system at your school.
School administrators and decision-makers should:
1. Examine the critical-use age of systems.
- Where many teacher, parent, and student information systems are up-to-date and rely on the latest technologies, administrative systems are more likely to be legacy-based and siloed.
- Your school’s IT department and administrators should work together to identify and maintain a list of recently updated systems.
2. Identify and begin the RFP process for systems your school is looking to update.
- To narrow down the technological upgrade process, consider questions like:
- What software features are crucial to your school’s administrative team?
- What are your school’s most challenging issues with technology?
- What new functionalities do you need to improve efficiency?
- What plans do you have for the future or what is your school’s plan for scaling your tech stack?
- Remember that tech evaluations are often time-intensive and should be planned for well before you need the software.
3. Begin the evaluation process.
- Include several administrative members in the demos, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- When considering a cloud-based system, make sure your vendors check the boxes for both compliance and support.
4. After deciding on a vendor, reaching a contract, and deploying, hold regular training sessions to ensure employees are up to speed.
- Good cloud-based vendors frequently offer training sessions and educational resources to ensure their new customer is supported.
- Make sure your staff feels comfortable using the new software. Like anything new, the process will be slow at first, but getting people trained is essential.
Your school's future is cloud-computing, and it looks exceptionally bright and sunny. Implement a cloud-based technology system today, and realize the benefits for years to come.
Corey Pudhorodsky is the General Manager of K–12 Solutions at enrollment management provider Community Brands. With over two decades experience working with cloud-based software, Pudhorodsky is passionate about working with schools to provide them with solutions to improve efficiency and help them functionally.