Considering an Ed Tech Vendor? Seven Factors that Matter Most for Success

Your school is preparing its budget for next year, and you’re interested in pushing forward on a new technology initiative. I’m stoked for you!

Before you do, consider seven factors. In our 3+ years of impact and customer success at Schoolzilla, these factors consistently predict success for a school’s new vendor initiatives (e.g., data warehouse or new formative assessment system). Ultimately, addressing these factors with your prospective vendor will help the initiative be successful, give you clout internally, and most importantly, benefit your students.

In this post, I’ll walk through each factor briefly, and in subsequent posts.

I’ll do a deep dive on each factor.

  1. Executive Sponsorship: Who is the leader at your organization allocating the budget and holding your team and the vendor accountable for ROI?
  2. Champion Capacity: What teammate(s) can devote time – especially up front – into learning and applying the initiative to your organization?
  3. Champion Expertise: Beyond capacity, do your internal champion(s) have the knowledge, experience, and insights with the domain / subject matter?
  4. Support Experience: When you run into a challenge, how accessible, knowledgeable, and approachable is the vendor’s support team?
  5. Product – Need Fit: Does your need (e.g., “see data in one place and get actionable insights”) match nicely with the main focus of the vendor (e.g., Schoolzilla)? Or conversely, are you trying to pigeon hole a product to meet a need that it is only tangentially related to its intended use?
  6. Trust in Product: Ultimately, can you trust the products that the vendor produces? Trust may come from various sources – e.g., prior success or deep orientation of the vendor’s processes.
  7. Culture: Are there some colleagues at all levels behind this investment? For example, if you’re purchasing a data warehouse, do your colleagues see data-driven conversations as a critical step to supporting students?

If you’d like to learn more about these factors, or would like to see rubrics developed by Schoolzilla or other school systems, please reach out.  Also, if you disagree or have other important factors, let us know. I’m happy to talk more!