Words By:
Chitra Kanagaraj
Co-founder
Posted On:
November 14, 2017

Technology is rapidly evolving

Obsolescence is a key factor in every ed tech leader’s mind while adopting new technologies for their schools. Remember those days when you approved a new server rack for your district after extensive research & RFP process? Finally, you got it through budgeting and procurement and by the time you got to installation, you realized that your specs on the server are already outdated and surpassed by newer models!

A room full of old and outdated decaying computers needing to be replaced with a digital product

Here comes the SAAS (software as a service) model to save the day!

With a SAAS model, you pay for the service rather than the physical product. This model provides schools and districts with all of the latest tools bundled with the most recent updates, and at a fraction of the cost. The value is so compelling that SAAS has become the defacto standard today for most digital solutions in K-12 market.

Addressing the Myths surrounding digital product adoption in schools and districts

As we all know, sales and implementation of any product are two different sides of the same coin. Sales focus on the pretty side, while the implementation team focuses on the meat and bones. Once the implementation process starts, the users start to feel the pinch, be it effort or money spent. This is usually caused by a steep learning curve that they were not prepared for. With our years of product rollout experience, customer satisfaction rapport, and a user-centric implementation process, we have derived a list of the most common myths that lead to a failed rollout.

Myth 1: Digital products are always plug and play

Picking a comprehensive digital product directly off of the shelf can deliver remarkable results that nail every specification needed. It just requires dedicated integration, customization, and training. Users will need to learn the new product before it can be used to its full potential.  Plug and play solutions seldom solve real-world problems without any work.

Myth 2: School districts have no up-front work when adopting a new digital product

I remember how difficult it was trying to figure out how to swipe on my first touch-screen phone, and now it is completely second nature! Being uncomfortable with new technology is something that we all have to work through to ensure positive change. Whether it be at the district level, or down the parents and staff. The leaders need to be the pioneers that help their community with this change. It’s ok though, I know a good group of individuals that are professionals at this.

Myth 3: Digital product rollouts only fail because the product wasn’t the right fit.

People don’t return their brand new shiny smartphone because their old phone case no longer fits. The same goes with trying out a new digital product. Most of these products fail because of the resilience to adaptation and not because of the technology itself. If your team is excited and ready for a new challenge, the rollout process is going to be a piece of cake.

Lady smiling while holding a smart phone, embracing a digital product

Leadership commitment is an integral piece of the puzzle. Most of the problems adopting a digital product can be solved before the process even begins. The above myths can only hold true if innovation and change is not a priority. To avoid some of those challenges, make sure to:

  • Involve the right teams when it comes to product selection.
  • Clearly define the product requirements.
  • Plan for change management (the adaptation phase).
  • Practice transparent communications to all stakeholders.
  • Leadership must commit to helping with a successful rollout.
  • Coordinate and conduct a successful launch with measurable goals.

How it works at Pikmykid

Our team is committed to helping administrators and leaders make the right decision when it comes to conducting a successful product rollout. We equip districts and schools with the appropriate tools, adequate training, and guidance to ensure safe dismissals. Before implementation, we process our partners through a custom build rubric system that will evaluate their readiness through the commitment and rollout phases.

Here are some examples of great change leadership from our PikMyKid schools

P.S. 354 The Jermaine L. Green STEM Institute of Queens, New York
Principal Raevan Askew, Assistant Principals Mrs. Glaser and Mr.King championed the program and created new tools to help their staff and parents adopt the school safety network. They showed them how the benefits of  pikmykid program and old process getting replaced, and provided documentation to help every step of the way.

Concord Elementary School, Missouri
Angelina Moehlmann, Principal at Concord Elementary took the leadership commitment to a different level and created custom parent training videos for their entire school to ensure that all families were engaged right from the beginning.

E. B. Morse Elementary School, South Carolina
Principal L. Lynn Owings and parent coordinator Jannet Skinner had a hands-on approach. They personally chaperoned the adoption of the program between parents and staff. They took a very efficient yet disruptive approach and routed all of the parents to the front office to download the application to ensure that safety was a campus-wide effort.

Leadership motivated by innovation make it all happen.

PikMyKid is honored to be working with these change leaders, pioneers in getting their students ready to lead the digital generation.

Happy boy jumping in the front of the school.

That being said, One size does not fit all. We customize our rollout strategies to fit the specific needs of each school and district, small or large. Self-starters are more than welcome, but we’re also here if help is needed. We are excited that the thought leaders of the 21st century are embracing digital transformation and our tools are helping them to do so.

Start keeping your kids safe.

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Chitra Kanagaraj  -  Co-founder

Chitra brings years of IT industry experience & SAAS Product Strategy and Customer Implementations to the PikMyKid team. Most recently, Chitra served as the Strategy Director at Cognizant. She has lead cross-functional teams in multinational fortune 500 companies and excels in delivering market ready technology solutions. She has an MBA from University of South Florida and holds a BS in Electronics Engineering.