David Murphy, Information Systems Manager at Silver Lake Regional School District.
When you search on Google for an EdTech solution, what comes up first? That’s right. The companies with the BIGGEST marketing budget. Surely a company with the biggest marketing budget and largest market share is the best option, right?
Not necessarily. It only shows that customers believe the RIGHT solution must be the FIRST solution. But the reality is – these companies invest a lot more money in marketing than in developing their product. So, you’re not always guaranteed a product that satisfies your needs.
The Once-Over platform was created to combat this problem. It makes every vendor EQUAL and gives you the power to choose a product that fits your needs.
A few years ago, Silver Lake Regional School District (SLRSD) had a horrible experience trying to find a mass notification system. David searched on the Students Information Systems website for certified vendors that could integrate with their technology.
We threw out any vendors that we had previously worked with or didn’t like and this left us with only one vendor. So, we booked a demo with them and signed a three-year contract. But unfortunately, it wasn’t the best choice for us.David Murphy, Information Systems Manager at Silver Lake Regional School District
The three main challenges that David experienced while trying to find a mass notification system were:
1. Finding the Right Vendor
David had tried all the BIG vendors and only had one left. He essentially settled because it seemed like there weren’t any other solutions out there.
Small Innovative companies who’ve got really cool technology have to fight really hard for the same attention or any attention at all compared with the bigger companies.Padraig O’Shea, VP & Vendor Engagement at Once-Over
Companies that scream the loudest will get the buyers’ attention but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they have the best product to meet your needs. As was the case for David and the team at SLRSD.
2. Time Consuming Research
The most challenging problem for SLRSD was time commitment. It takes time to research through multiple vendors and what they offer and to narrow down which ones you want to engage with further.
We would reach out to other districts and ask what they were using. We searched Google to see what’s out there. And we’d often say, ‘No, it’s not in the budget or our current system doesn’t work with it or it’s just too much effort to switch.’ All those excuses.David Murphy, Information Systems Manager at Silver Lake Regional School District
3. Hours of Ed-Tech Demos
Not only does it take a couple of hours to research who to engage with but it takes another 12 HOURS of Ed-Tech demos to find the right solution. For example, you will probably schedule demos with 4 different vendors and each demo will take one hour to present. When you have 3 people sitting down to evaluate those 4 vendors, you’ll lose 12 hours worth of time. And from there, there could be a couple more hours of questions and further engagement from other people in the team to decide on the right vendor.
We cost ourselves days or even weeks worth of demos. Each demo wasn’t happening at the same time, we had to schedule them to fit around everyone’s busy schedules. It’s been one of the least favorite parts of bringing new EdTech into the district.David Murphy, Information Systems Manager at Silver Lake Regional School District
Since SLRSD was frustrated with the solution they picked, David decided to contact Once-Over to try and find a different mass notification system that would work for them. Since then, things have changed for the better. Not only did they find the right solution, but now the responsibility of research and scheduling is taken care of by Once-Over and the results have been incredible.
1. All vendors made equal
Once-Over acts like a supermarket, all vendors are on an equal playing field and have a chance to solve a problem for a customer. With all else created equal, it’s only the product itself that differentiates a vendor from a vendor giving you the power to choose the right product to suit your needs.
At the start of the 2019 – 2020 school year, the principal at one of our elementary schools came to us with a problem. They said they needed a school dismissal management tool to help process paper notes coming in. For example, notes saying Sally’s going to ride bus 36 today. They found a tool from Vendor X and were unsure if it was the best option for our budget.
So, they came to me and I sent Once-Over a three line message about the school dismissal management tool and what Vendor X was offering and I asked them to book some micro-demos for us from other vendors. That’s all I said.
Once-Over picked up the request and asked a couple of short clarifying questions such as when we’d be available for a one-hour demo. Three business days after my initial request, Once-Over lined up five vendors for micro-demos the following day.David Murphy, Information Systems Manager at Silver Lake Regional School District
David didn’t have to spend hours trying to find vendors from scratch. Once-Over searched its catalog of over 3,000 different vendors and researched which ones could provide them with a school dismissal management tool that worked with their technology.
2. No More Research
David no longer has to do research anymore, Once-Over does it all for him. Which means David saves more than 12 hours worth of time researching EdTech solutions. And what’s even better is that David and his team are presented with solutions that actually work without having to navigate through marketing campaigns.
Once-Over presented us with the research they found and acquainted us with vendors we had never heard of before.David Murphy, Information Systems Manager at Silver Lake Regional School District
3. Micro-Demos to Save Time
Instead of sitting through hours worth of demos from different vendors and wasting staff time, Once-Over organized micro-demos for David and his team. Micro-demos allow a vendor a 10 to 15 minute time slot and help David and his team to understand what differentiates a product from another without hearing all the features that it offers.
After seeing what was available and not available across different vendors for the school dismissal management tool, we had a clear picture of pricing and we were even offered free demo sessions from companies trying to win our business.
We remained anonymous the entire time and Once-Over managed the quotes for us. And because these micro-demos were online through the Once-Over evaluation platform, Once-Over provided us with recordings for us to review later and share with any staff who weren’t able to make it to the meeting.
All this happened within a week of sending the initial request to Once-Over. Within a month, we had a signed agreement with the finalists and we’re still using their solution to this day. We love it. We’ve used Once-Over in 4 different projects and don’t plan to stop. It really works.David Murphy, Information Systems Manager at Silver Lake Regional School District
In total, Once-Over has saved SLRSD 160 HOURS worth of work researching and setting up demos for new EdTech solutions. David was so impressed that – no matter the problem – Once-Over was more than capable of finding them a solution.
I asked Once-Over to provide me with a solution that they hadn’t come across before but within a week and a half they provided us with a good selection of vendors who could fix our problem.David Murphy, Information Systems Manager at Silver Lake Regional School District
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