Is integration the expected new normal for VET tech?
All-in-one technology systems promise the world, but integrations could be what delivers it in the end. Are you ready to embrace integrations?
When Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) approach the question of procuring new technology, often, they think about whether they want an ‘all-in-one’ system that ‘does everything’, or want to curate their own tech ecosystem through system integrations.
In our view, this is a false choice. That’s because the all-in-one system is a bit of a myth!
All systems today are essentially integrating to create holistic student management propositions. This is evident across multiple functions, whether you're talking finance or learning management. The impetus for integration has been accelerated by the explosion in cloud SaaS and EdTech, both before and during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
The reality faced by RTOs in today’s marketplace is that no system does everything. Or, more accurately, if they try and do it, they won’t be able to do it all very well. It’s no longer a question of whether integration is the pathway forward, but how much of it do you do, how intentional are you about curating technology, and how well that is executed.
Is there a difference between large and small training providers?
So integration will be a part of what you do, whether you are a small or a large provider.
However, depending on the size and needs of your education and training business, providers naturally have different appetites for a more curated approach. Typically, we see larger providers taking a more active approach to choosing and integrating with the technologies they need. Smaller providers do this as well – and this is becoming evermore accessible with the cloud – though some can be put off by the idea of utilising multiple systems.
The case we would make is that, no matter what your appetite for integration may be, all providers need to be considering this more carefully as we head into the future of education.
Why is integration so important to the future?
It’s worth painting a picture of where we’re going as a training market - and a technology market - to see what the future looks like and why we need to consider integrations.
There are quite a few challenges coming in the future. We could summarise them as digital transformation from competitors, modernisation and centralisation initiatives from governments, the growth of EdTech and trends in tech, and the impact of industry.
There will be a need for technologies to step in there and solve problems, often in fast-moving and agile environments; for example, ReadyTech was called on to support Canberra Institute of Technology’s construction team using our Ready Skills platform to integrate some VR technology into their construction program through an integration in Covid-19's remote times.
For us, creating an ecosystem of integrated technologies allows us to deliver more value to training providers faster. The nature of software development means that small teams working on bespoke problems work faster than large teams trying to do everything.
Connecting and delivering that value helps providers access better solutions faster.
On a provider level, that means over time, you are receiving the benefits of connected technologies that work together to help you become more efficient (think data automation), make better decisions (business intelligence and machine learning), and provide world-class software in different areas (for example in the area of learning management).
Providers will also increasingly be able to add tools through tech marketplaces, where it’s easy click to add on or augment your tech line-up to achieve the results you’re looking for.
The reality is that EdTech in Australia and around the world is exploding. In Australia we have over 600 start-ups and companies employing 14000 people all working to build technologies across the student lifecycle. That’s a huge opportunity for providers to take advantage of as they seek to solve problems and realise their business and student visions.
What should I do if I'm considering a curated approach?
What do you do if you are considering a more integration oriented approach to technology?
The first thing would be to step back. What is the technology really there to do? It’s not necessarily about features – although that helps – it’s about solving problems. What problems do you have that you need technology to solve for you? What problems are you likely to encounter as your business shifts and grows, and will your tech support that agility? Are you taking an active look at the market or taking a set and forget approach?
The second thing is to think about the practical implications. Are there any internal staff resourcing, capability or competency requirements that providers should look at as part of this strategy? For smaller providers, what should they be considering as they mature their approach? Though ReadyTech provides an ecosystem approach, providers need to be cognisant of the fact that tools are often only as good as the people using them.
So take a good look at your technology and then lean on tech providers like ReadyTech. In Australia the EdTech market has entered a new era of creative problem solving, and ReadyTech is about partnership rather than selling product as a vendor. We want to be able to provide solutions, and it pays for us to listen and learn from customers and support them through the likes of integrations into the future. So what are you waiting for?
Interested in learning more about how we help providers with next generation enterprise student management technology? Learn more here.