Digital Transformation Strategy | Where Do You Start?

Dec 15, 2022

When it comes to planning something as significant as your digital transformation strategy, you may be unsure of where to even start. At DMS, we aim to make the complex simple, which is why we’ve produced this guide to getting started in digital transformation.

How to Get Started in Digital Transformation?

The first step in digital transformation in education is to evaluate the current needs and potential areas for success within your school. It is important to understand how staff currently use technology, identify what is working well, and pinpoint areas that require improvement.

With this information, you can make informed decisions to drive positive changes in your school.

Things to Consider

Form a Working Group

Form a team that includes representatives from various perspectives, such as students, parents and teachers, and gather input from your stakeholders. This will aid in setting achievable goals, determining priorities, and ensuring that changes are effective.

After implementing new systems, request feedback frequently and work to address any challenges or areas where improvements are needed.

Carry Out Surveys

According to a 2020 report, nearly half of teachers reported feeling unsure about using the technology provided by their school. However, a report published in 2022 revealed that there were some benefits that emerged from the switch to online learning during the pandemic.

By conducting regular surveys to gauge staff's familiarity and comfort with technology, you can identify those who are proficient and those who may require additional support. By identifying experts, you can provide guidance and assistance to those who need it.

Building staff confidence is crucial for the success of your digital transformation strategy, and it is important to identify any areas where there may be gaps in knowledge or understanding.

Survey Staff Workload

Evaluate the amount of time staff spend on non-teaching activities and analyse it in relation to a full working week. Determine if the time spent on these activities is appropriate or if adjustments need to be made, and think about the impact it has on students.

Consider if technology can aid in automating these processes to optimise the time and effort required.

Review Your Document/Admin/Finance Processes

By thoroughly reviewing and documenting all aspects of data flow within your school, you will have a clear understanding of where current digital technologies are being used and how data is being managed.

By identifying areas where technology can be implemented to increase efficiency, you can optimise the benefits of any investments made and advance the digital transformation process.

Review Contracts and Service Level Agreements

When planning for digital transformation, it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of your current commitments and the services you pay for. Knowing your expenses and when contracts are set to expire or renew will assist you in incorporating timeframes into your plan.

For example, before renewing a contract, you can conduct a survey to evaluate the effectiveness of the technology in question, and if the feedback suggests it is not providing substantial aid, it may be worth reevaluating the renewal of the contract.

Audit Your Existing Hardware, Software and Subscriptions

Assess and identify areas for standardisation, redeployment, decommissioning, and investment.

With this information, you can create a set of guidelines and determine what should be retained and what should be phased out. This will aid in creating a budget and schedule for future developments.

Ensure You Have EdTech Foundations in Place

A crucial element for a successful digital transformation is having a stable foundation to support your strategy, including a robust internet and network infrastructure, and ensuring the security of your data system and students' information.

Assess Your School Wi-Fi Network

Wireless connectivity is considered a fundamental necessity in most modern educational institutions, becoming as essential as the traditional pen and paper.

By installing dependable, secure and user-friendly Wi-Fi, educators have access to a broader array of resources that promote more efficient learning and growth.

The Department for Education has recently released new technology standards that all schools should take into account.

Assess Your School ICT Infrastructure

Having knowledge of the physical and technical aspects of your school's network is crucial for providing a high-quality digital service.

Your IT support team can give you an updated overview and indicate any areas that need improvement. It is also important to evaluate any service contracts, noting which ones are successful and which ones cause dissatisfaction.

Audit Your School’s Physical and Virtual Spaces

Assess if the physical and virtual spaces available to your school are utilised optimally.

Analyse the current use of technology to assist in creating your overall strategy and plan for the future. Identifying the current state will aid in developing your desired future state and provide a foundation to build upon.

How Can I Start Digital Transformation in My School?

Digital transformation is not as straightforward as shifting your server to the cloud or enhancing your Wi-Fi coverage. It starts with a strategy, an examination of your goals and reasoning behind them.

Your strategy must include timelines, change management plans, support for staff, and communication with stakeholders.

Communication is crucial as digital transformation is not only a technological shift but also a cultural shift, and it is important to build a solid justification for change and generate excitement to achieve the best outcome.

Plan Your Journey

As with any venture, a plan is crucial for the success of your digital transformation journey. A well-communicated plan that has buy-in from key stakeholders is necessary.

The plan should align with your overall vision but be broken down into manageable milestones that have clear goals and objectives. This should be outlined in a DX journey roadmap.

Flexibility should be incorporated into the plan and regular reviews should be scheduled to ensure progress and evaluate any potential changes such as advancements in technology or new government directives.

Utilise any data collected during the assessment of the school's current state, such as staff feedback, as a key part of the planning process. This can help understand the current state and prioritise areas to focus on in the short and long term.

Defining the desired state within each area such as strategy, infrastructure, or digital capabilities are important steps in developing the overarching plan.

Don’t Skimp on Chance Management

Sustaining transformation requires investing time in embedding new behaviours and working with staff.

Your strategy must include time for change management and continuing professional development (CPD). As a rule of thumb, we recommend that 20% of the project should be allocated to this purpose.

The success or failure of your digital transformation strategy depends on the involvement of the entire school community and the empowerment of all stakeholders to leverage technology in exciting and innovative ways.

Stay Aligned with Your Overall School Vision

Your transformation plan should not be created from scratch, but rather be an evolution of your strategic priorities and the requirements of your users. Involving stakeholders in the strategic process is crucial for the success of the plan.

Utilise Public Sector Frameworks

Introducing KCS Procurement Services

The KCS Group, established in 1902 as an education supply department, is a specialist in the field of education.

Comprising of KCS Procurement Services and KCS Education, KCS Procurement Services is a top provider of fully-compliant, national frameworks designed specifically for schools and in compliance with Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

Their goal is to provide innovative solutions through their frameworks and services to help schools run smarter, not harder.

Why Use Frameworks?

Frameworks offer a convenient way to access a supply chain that is compliant with Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

The objective is to streamline procurement, saving schools time and resources. In a market with multiple frameworks, school decision-makers must determine which are best suited for their needs.

Utilising frameworks has numerous benefits and can assist schools in procuring goods and services in a compliant manner.

Benefits of KCS Procurement Services Frameworks

Select a Digital Transformation Partner

Many schools try to handle technology and IT internally, either by doing it themselves or assigning a staff member the task, but why?

You wouldn’t trust someone who is not a doctor to diagnose health issues. Or trust someone who wasn’t an architect to design your building. Or a non-pilot to fly a plane- so why attempt to design, implement and support technology for your school when it is a field you aren’t entirely familiar with?

What to Look for in a DX Partner

As the pace of business and technology accelerates, and knowledge becomes more widespread, it is becoming increasingly easy for anyone to establish an online business providing technology services and support at subpar standards, leading to price wars in the industry.

These companies lack the expertise, niche, experience, or high-quality offering, but may still attract clients due to their low prices. When considering technology companies, look for those who do not engage in price wars, but instead maintain high standards and do things the right way.

Use the following steps to help you find a top DX partner:

Are They Proactive or Reactive?

When working with a company that has a "break-fix" reactive approach, you may encounter a lack of support and outdated technology.

By opting for a proactive managed approach, you can take advantage of the full benefits of a managed service, leading to improved service delivery, increased uptime, and more efficient processes.

Vendor Partners & Vendor Management

Enquire about the company's partners and how they handle relationships and procedures with vendors. Verify if they are associated with reputable companies in the industry.

Do They Add Value to Your School?

It's important to ask what extra services and value they can provide for your school. Ask about how they can go above and beyond and how they can contribute to the school's success. Delve deeper and inquire for more information.

Pricing

It is important to note that the lowest cost option may not always provide the highest level of service. While price comparisons are valid considerations, it is also important to exercise caution when faced with drastically reduced prices, as this may be indicative of potential business instability.

Communication

Effective communication is crucial for any partnership, especially in the context of digital transformation.

Consistent communication, updates, calls, and meetings are essential in order to maintain a productive relationship and ensure a successful strategy.

It's important to keep your partner informed of any changes in the direction of the school, so they can adjust their approach to support the transition. Ask about their communication plan and how they intend to keep you informed.

Accreditations

Take a look at what the industry accreditations are for specific technology and check to see if any accreditations they have are relevant. Do they have quality standards, such as ISO 9001? Are they a member of government bodies? Have they been awarded any frameworks?

Do They Talk in Jargon or Real Business Terms?

It is essential that your time is used efficiently and not wasted on deciphering technical jargon. Ensure that your digital experience (DX) partner communicates with you in a clear and simple manner and focuses on the outcomes for your school, rather than just technical details and reports.

Don’t assume that they fully understand the subject matter just because they use technical terms. Verify that they thoroughly explain the solution and how it will benefit your school. Remember, while implementing new technology may be straightforward, ensuring it aligns with your school's needs and keeping it relevant is the challenging aspect.

Technology Roadmap

Ensure your technology partner works with you to create a 3-5 year roadmap that aligns with your school’s goals.

How DMS Can Help Your School to Become More Digitally Mature

At DMS, we understand that schools and other educational institutions are constantly trying to keep up with the latest trends and technology to promote innovation, greater creativity and foster new skills within learning.

We also appreciate the pressure schools are under with such limited budgets due to stringent government cutbacks, making IT equipment funding more difficult than ever.

That’s why we offer tailored lease packages that meet all your school, college or university’s needs, helping you to spread the budget over a longer period of time whilst benefiting from the latest technology.

For more information on how the DMS Group can help your school, college, university or other educational organisation, get in touch with our team today.

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