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Q&A with our Implementation Team

Introduction

Purchasing new software is exciting and presents an opportunity to grow in ways that may not have previously been possible, especially in higher-ed. However, the auspices posed by novel technology can take time to realize and the process of implementing it can be challenging. We sat down with our Customer Success and Integrations team to understand these challenges, how schools can set themselves up for success in on-boarding, and how Coursedog differentiates itself as a partner for schools hoping to improve and become more efficient.

 

What are the most common challenges that come up in any technology on-boarding process?

What comes to mind first for our team pertains to data issues. Often times, schools haven't taken a look at their raw data or its structure for years. This lack of familiarity can make it hard to identify what's important, where it's located, how the information is communicated, and how it should be leveraged moving forward.

Inconsistent buy-in from key stakeholders can also present challenges for folks hoping to drive (technological) change on their campus. As we detail in our class scheduling playbook, commitment from people at all levels of the institution is an absolute necessity to ensure that progress can be made efficiently and substantively. Moreover, given that the onboarding process is a somewhat time-intensive one (a few months), it's important to establish everyone's commitment to the long-haul and ultimate betterment of the university.

Lastly, figuring out to make use of the Coursedog product suite to best serve the needs and workflows of each institution and its constituent departments naturally takes time. While we pride ourselves on the intuitive, user-friendly nature of our software, learning the ropes of any new technology comes with time.

 

What does Coursedog do differently to ease the process?

For one, we draw on years of industry experience, both in ed-tech and registrarial affairs, and spend a lot of time developing data-mapping tools that empower schools to understand their data and align it to the data Coursedog needs. Doing so ensures we can hit the ground running as soon as we begin the actual integration process, first by pulling information from your SIS, and lastly by pushing it back.

We also invest time in working with clients to establish project roadmaps and timelines, best practices for communication, and expectation management, all of which ensure that everyone has a role to play, understands what's at stake, and has the resources and support necessary to get the job done. Ultimately, our commitment is to be exemplary stewards of folks' time; we're willing to do whatever is necessary to optimize our time together, be it working through email, recordings, on-site, etc.

Perhaps most importantly, though, we make sure that what schools want to be able to accomplish is aligned with what the platform actually does. We provide countless resources in the form of documentation, online training modules, and in-person sessions to promote self-sufficient use of the Coursedog platform.

 

How long does the average implementation take?

While it varies by product, the implementation process takes approximately 90 days (3 months). However, some products, especially Catalog and Events in the case that rooms are not being pulled from the SIS, can take as little as a few weeks to 60 days.

 

What does Coursedog do particularly well in the on-boarding process?

Everyone on our customer success team demonstrates phenomenal project management and relationship-building skills, both of which are indispensable in effectively any professional setting, but are especially important in this context.

Equally as important, as former university registrars and leaders in ed-tech, they leverage years of experience to speak in terms familiar to university registrars and IT teams alike.

 

What can schools to set themselves up for success in the on-boarding process?

Perhaps the most important thing would be to establish appropriate expectation management and lines of communication with folks at all levels of your institution. If expectations for the project and for the ultimate use of Coursedog are articulated clearly, both internally and with the Coursedog team, everyone can invest their time and energy into the implementation process confidently, knowing that their time is being well spent and geared toward the common good.

Lastly, it's vital that the advent of change be meaningfully reconciled. Altering the fundamental modus operandi can be really challenging, especially in higher-ed where previous customs, workflows, and processes may be decades old and comfortably familiar to the people involved. Put simply, there needs to be a common understanding that change is coming, and that while it may not be comfortable at first, it will ultimately promote efficiency and improve the experiences of all involved.

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