Let’s face it, purchasing technology for your school or district is hard. There are so many options, and never enough time—especially given all you have on your plate already. It can get overwhelming quickly.
You want to do everything correctly, but don’t know where to start. Finding the right EdTech products can be a huge challenge. You need a way to narrow down your options and make sure you only invest in products that will really help your students and teachers succeed.
How do you do that?
We’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll break down the key challenges facing K12 schools and district buyers today and give you some tips on how to tackle them.
Ready to jump in? Let’s go.
Here are the top 5 challenges for EdTech buyers:
Finding the Right Vendors
One of the biggest challenges faced by all EdTech buyers is finding the right vendors. It’s difficult to know who does what, which companies are innovative, and most importantly who has what you need. With over 4000 EdTech representatives offering a wide variety of solutions, it can be difficult for buyers to know where to start.
The number of EdTech solutions available can also be overwhelming. Going through the process of identifying, evaluating, and then ultimately choosing an EdTech solution can be time consuming and frustrating. It may lead districts to work with vendors they know, rather than those that might be best suited to their needs. This is especially true if a school or district is new to the EdTech space and doesn’t have experience with other vendors’ offerings.
Scheduling Vendor Appointments
Scheduling vendor appointments can be a real pain, especially if you’re trying to get a bunch of them done at once. Some vendors will try to get you into a two-hour meeting, but where do you find that time? Or what happens if you need to meet with five or six vendors? You could try scheduling all of them for one day, but then how are you supposed to prioritize which ones are most important?
And let’s not forget about the huge challenge of simply trying to get a hold of a vendor. They’re often difficult to reach by phone, email, or online forms.
So, what if you have time now, but the vendor is not available? You leave messages and then have to wait for them to respond and then hope that they are available when you are. And when they finally do get back to you, they say they can’t meet with you until the end of next week.
It’s frustrating and stressful! If only there were a way to coordinate all your purchasing projects in one place.
Knowing What to Look for in an EdTech Product
Comparing available products can be extremely difficult. You need to talk to colleagues, ask for other people’s opinions, read product reviews, and do as much research as you can before making a decision. Maybe it’s been a while since someone has purchased technology for your school or district. So, when evaluating possible solutions to your problems, keep in mind that comparing new solutions to your existing systems can be misleading.
As well, vendors may explain their products differently, making it hard to know whether two similar-sounding solutions are comparable. And because every vendor has a slightly different approach to pricing, comparing product quotes can feel like trying to compare apples with oranges. If you’re not careful, you could end up wasting time on a tool that doesn’t match your needs or budget after all.
In fact, understanding what you need before evaluating vendors is just as important as finding the right solution. To do this successfully requires feedback from teachers—and lots of it. Plus, it’s better to meet many vendors and just explore the options before digging in deeper.
Quotes Aren’t Always Easy to Compare
When you’re shopping for EdTech, getting a quote is a necessary step in the buying process. However, quotes aren’t always easy to compare. Different vendors have different models, product names, options, and services. Think about what matters most to your organization and make sure you’re comparing the right options.
One of the first steps in this process is determining what your school or district needs, not just in terms of products or services but also in the support needed to ensure their success. For example, if you need ongoing coaching or training on how to use a new product or service effectively, be sure to ask the vendors if they offer that as part of their package and if so at what cost.
Not Having a Strategic Plan in Place
When it comes to purchasing EdTech solutions planning is everything. Without a strong plan in place, you end up wasting a lot of valuable time.
Just think about it…if you reach out to three vendors, you end up with three sales reps looking for updates. That’s three emails a day, three voicemails a day, and potentially 3x as many meetings and follow-ups. And what about those two-hour presentations.
Plus, you need to book meeting rooms, schedule colleagues, review proposals, and so on. All of a sudden, you’re managing a huge project. And that’s just the first week. Now imagine having to do this for 3 or 4 weeks. It’s exhausting. There must be a better way!
We’re not saying that there isn’t a lot to contend with when making purchasing decisions—just that your time is valuable and working strategically is a far better option.
As a K12 school or district EdTech buyer, you face some very specific challenges. However, knowing what to expect will help you find the solution that works best for your organization.
You’re not alone, and you’re also not doomed to failure. Having a greater awareness of the specific challenges that your organization faces is an important step toward overcoming them. The key is knowing what you’re up against and knowing that there are solutions available that can help such as Once-Over.
Once-Over is the fastest and fairest way to evaluate EdTech. We help you to quickly explore the options using micro demos, saving you and your school district time!