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Breaking Down Silos: Why Marketing and IT in Higher Ed Need Each Other to Thrive
Zach Busekrus: [00:00:00] Hey folks. Welcome to Enrollify’s latest podcast series, The Modern Student. The Modern Student, is a special podcast series that explores how technology is revolutionizing higher ed and engaging students. This special series is brought to you by our friends at Squiz. Squiz is a technology company that is revolutionizing the way higher ed builds digital experiences for its constituents.
The modern student is hosted by me, Zach Busekrus, and Jeff Dillon, a senior consultant at Squiz. This series will explore how the modern student is shaping the future of education. How to find and engage new student populations, why marketing and IT and higher ed need each other to thrive and the future of technology in higher ed.
You can learn more about the incredible work Squiz is doing and explore their client case studies at squiz.net. Or you can connect with Jeff on LinkedIn via the link in the show notes below. [00:01:00] All right, Without further ado, welcome to the Modern Student.
All right, sir, we are. We're live again. How are you doing? I'm great, Zach. How are you doing? I'm doing well. Um, we were just talking offline and you know, today's topic, today's topic of conversation that we're gonna be, uh, working through is taking on higher ed tech silos and discussing ways in which we can kind of fix them through collaboration, uh, especially between IT and, and marketing.
But what, what I think is, I don't know if it's serendipitous, but you were. Sharing with me that you're training for an Iron Man. And I feel like breaking down silos in higher ed is, is somewhat like training for competing in an Iron Man. Um, or at least it can feel that way for some. So I don't know. I feel like that's a very, very serendipitous, uh, considering the [00:02:00] topic of this, of this week's episode and also what, uh, what you're training.
Jeff Dillon: I think, I think it can feel like an endurance event sometimes. Let's just put it that way.
Zach Busekrus: Uh, well, I'm excited for, for this conversation cuz over the course of the series, we've uh, we've been talking a lot about technology, the role that it plays in higher education from a recruitment standpoint. Point from a marketing standpoint, just from a, from a systems standpoint.
And what I'd love to kind of focus today's chat around are some of the ways in which folks can just very practically break down some of these silos. And Jeff, I wanna get your thoughts to, on just things that you may have tried that have worked well, things that you've. Tried that have not worked so well over the course of, of your tenure.
But I actually thought to kick off the conversation, it'd be helpful to kind of discuss different responsibilities and roles in higher ed, especially as it pertains to IT and marketing and like how you've seen that evolve over the course of your career.
Jeff Dillon: Yeah, that's a great place to start. Cause I do have a couple, well, one, one kind of story about [00:03:00] that because I actually started in the marketing side of academia back in 2000.
So back when. Colleges were just getting websites up. Yeah. You know, the, the it, someone in IT would put up a website and so I was the first webmaster that that marketing took over the website when I got hired and took it out of it. So there was already probably a little bit of. Maybe animosity. I don't know what what it was, but I had to work with it at that point.
And I was brand new. I didn't know, I didn't understand the politics of it all. So I had this pretty proactive, uh, marketing director as a boss. And I told you about this one in one of the previous episodes about Liquid Matrix, and she found this and we looked at it and we're like, Oh, we're getting that.
And so I thought that's how it worked. You just go buy something and then you tell your IT people. To go do it, implement it. And we did that and she did it. And, and, and we got called into the CIO's office and ate some crow . And it was, I was young and I didn't know, I mean, I understood then that there's, there's collaboration that needs to happen.
And, you know, since then we've had all these, I've had all [00:04:00] these iterations of that same scenario, but, um, you know, we all know some version of that story, you know, and it always wants to be involved. Um, but, but that's how I started and, and. That, that we have to work together now, it's more critical than ever.
Yeah. But before we get into that, I think you have a, you're right on with, um, talking about maybe the roles, um, One way I think to to think about it too. And, and often we don't think this way is, you know, I was a director of a silo, I would say a web and mobile team at a university. My, my previous job at Sacramento, we had directors in over many silos.
Yeah. And this is just within it, this is not the whole organization. Right. We had 'em everywhere. Yep. But within it, We had directors of teams and we would own our little silos and we would collaborate with the other directors. And, and I said, you know, to my boss, I said, What if we had our web, We had a, a team called the enterprise applications, a web and mobile team, um, and one called campus applications.
Huh. How do you, how do you determine, how does the rest, the campus know? What campus [00:05:00] applications does? Enterprise applications versus web and mobile. Yeah, it's all the same to everybody else. Enterprise was actually PeopleSoft, That was the PeopleSoft team. Campus applications was kind of like the legacy team, and we were kind of in between.
We kind of did everything, but I said, Why don't we position the web and mobile team to be the user experience team? Hmm. And rather than defining a silo, why don't we define it from the user's perspective? And that will tell camp as one thing that, hey, you know, along with accessibility and security, where we're already doing that.
Isn't user experience as important and it doesn't cost a lot. Yeah. To re kinda re relabel your team, cuz they're already, they should already be doing that. So it gets them refocused. So having a layer within the IT organization, um, that's, , you know, in California, a lot of this is happening within, um, accessibility all over the country.
It's, it's security. But what if we treated the user experience the same way and had it cross the organization? So I think that's one, one easy step to take is, yeah. Do you have anything like that within your central IT team? You could [00:06:00] take that, apply that across the board in, in higher ed, um, outside of it, but, um, That's one thing I was just thinking about that happened right after I left is like they finally did change that job title of the director and the team within.
Um, and I think it does help. Yeah. The other things I think we can consider is look at how the evolution of, of the marketing stack, you know, has, has come how far it's come. Right? Yeah. This is what you do all the time. Yeah. You know, because back in the day we didn't have many tilt to worry about and the IT people had to worry about the bites and the pixels.
That was it. Yeah. It was print. That was it. All we had was print. So the obvious answer is like, marking has to keep up now because we're all dealing with the pixels and bites now. You know? There's no way around it. Yeah. And, and I think we all, we all know that. So it's the, there's the
Zach Busekrus: foundation. I just wanna kind of circle back on this notion of how important, like, naming is too, right?
When you're, when you're thinking about a team and how it, it, it seems like it's a relatively, like, I like to talk. Simple things, right? They're not always easy, [00:07:00] but they're, but they're simple, right? And a simple thing to do is to come up with a name like you all did that, that made sense, that could be understood externally as well as internally.
And just that, just that little change, I would imagine created a broader sense of community and unity than, than when it existed before. E and it's just, it's just a name, right? Um, and yes, you know, there's some org structure stuff that, that can follow and, and, and whatnot. And it shouldn't just be. Just be a name forever.
But first step is how do you create something that makes a little bit more sense to people, internal to the team and external to the team, again, with the purpose of trying to achieve more, more unity. So I, I love that. The second thing I just wanted to comment on too is it, it's funny how these, it's funny how like terms, right?
Like user experience, Been around for a while. I think historically it's been something that like the technical people cared a lot about right now. Like designers obviously care a lot about that now. I would even argue there are more people in the [00:08:00] marketing team that are talking about thinking about and using right, and and caring about UX than ever before.
And I feel like there's this like trend that happens. And again, maybe this is just from, you know, my, my perspective, but I'm, I'm sure it's not that, like a lot of things start in the technical. Right. Um, but then they, they almost like graduate to marketing once, once they're ready. Like I think about like the website for instance, right?
You see more and more organizations in institutions in particular thinking that like, you know what, while it is responsible for managing the website and making sure that it's like it's functioning well. More and more institutions are, are saying, Hey, marketing, you get the keys to, to the website because this is a, this is a lead gen asset, right?
Like this is, this is an enrollment asset or an advancement asset, and that's, that falls under your domain. So it's funny to see just how, again, things kind of evolve and change from living in the technical realm to all of a sudden being recognized as, No, no, no, this is like a sales asset, or this is a marketing.
It's, it's time that we [00:09:00] graduate this particular team or this particular idea to, to marketing. Is that something that you've kind of like observed or, or, or paid attention to over the years?
Jeff Dillon: Completely Zach. Um, even in my role, you know, here at Squiz, I talk to universities all the time and one of the questions always ask is, how do you work with your IT team?
Cause I'm often talking to one or the other. Yeah. You know, more often than not these days I'm talking to someone in marketing. Is saying, like, I just want to check out what's available out there. And, and I love these people because they, they realize that they're in their silo. They're trying to, they're trying to broaden their perspective and they say, But my problem is that just, you know, it kind of owns, you know, owns the site.
Yeah. And, and it's hard to get a meeting with them. And they're not saying anything too bad. They're just saying just how life really is. And one example is, is most Mar many marketing teams or staff throughout academia don't. Really access or knowledge of, of what people are using to, to search when they're searching.
What are the search terms being used on the site?[00:10:00]
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Jeff Dillon: And that's a huge thing that that, that they need to be aware of because, um, one of our schools. Was telling me that they, they use, they use that data to decide what programs they're gonna offer. Yeah, yeah. Because they'll see something being searched. They're like, Gosh, we're not offering that. They'll do a little research and, and you know, that's one example.
They don't even, some, some marketing teams, many don't even know that's even possible. Yeah. Like, Oh, I can have access to that because the tools available up until. You know, a few years ago, you know, didn't really support
Zach Busekrus: that. Yeah. Do you do, So how do you know what questions to ask? You know? Yeah, yeah. Do you, do you think, or do you have, again, you have a totally different vantage point, um, than I do on this, um, just cuz you have access to more of these conversations, but like, are, are there, is this, are, are there moves to try to take.
[00:13:00] Developers and obviously sort of a digital design, right? And move, move them fully into the marketing team. And it's almost like the IT team is, is is there, but it's really just there for security and anything that, you know, institutionally maybe, maybe sort of like, uh, member logins or they're, they're monitoring like the sis and making sure things are just kind of like functioning well.
Is there, is there a move or a reality? Essentially what we think of the IT team as today really just becomes high level security, right? Systems management at the highest of levels. But in terms of like configuration experts, maybe? Exactly. Exactly. But in terms of anything that has to do with web development, right?
Or or UX design, all of that just comes. To marketing? Like are, how, how are these things? Is this happening? Or, or what is your perspective
Jeff Dillon: on all this? I, I think that's what's happening. I mean, I think the, the, it's, [00:14:00] it's tough to see like what the trend is. Cause I think every school's at a different level right now with that.
Yeah. Yeah. You know, and, and you talked about, about UX people or designer type people. Um, moving, you know, I think, I think marketing teams are looking more and more to get their own resources that way. Yeah. Having someone move internally within an organization is kind of tough. That doesn't, I think that's not quite what's happening.
But when you. That latter part. Yes. I think that is where we're headed, is that those skills that brain drain's been happening for a while. So these really great people often have left to go to the private sector. Yeah. To build these incredible companies Yeah. That are now supporting higher ed. So, It's becoming affordable.
It's becoming, they have all the tools, they know the market. Um, so yeah, I think that's, that's kind of where we're headed and I think we're gonna, we're gonna see a retooling of what IT division look like. And I think that fear some, some leadership in it and, and universities are afraid of that. Yeah, of course.
They're afraid of change of, Right. They're afraid of, like, of course number one is the whole remote thing. Like, what am I gonna do with all these buildings? Well, let's think creatively [00:15:00] and, and maybe we can repurpose these buildings for food pantries and, and things like that. Um, from the IT side, you know, I've heard someone say at a director level, and, and hopefully this is uncommon, you know, I don't want my people to learn anything new.
Yeah. You know, I think that's not in a, and there's an old attitude there that, that, that people need to stand their lane. But, you know, someone who's, let's say Aple developer, if they have those skills, they can pick up other skills as well. Yeah. They think they can do other things. They have the brain for that.
So, um, there's that. We're gonna stay on this te. because we have it already. Yeah. You know, we have to think, you know, I think we have to think different, um, and, and really trusted our people.
Zach Busekrus: Are flexible and they wanna learn. Yeah. Yeah. What, what are your thoughts, uh, again, in the, in the spirit of kind of breaking down, down silos here, right?
One way to break down these silos is, is obviously we take, we, we kind of retool, uh, as you've been talking about the IT team, right? More and more over time, what we think of, uh, web development. We think of, uh, you know, UX design [00:16:00] as, as you know, it could live here in marketing or it could live in in it, right?
And there are justifications to be made for both. Let's just say we're living in a world where, All of that is living in marketing except for like security and, and just overall systems engineering. Um, That, that is one very practical way of starting to break down the silos that exist between marketing and it.
Right? Cause you know, a lot of, a lot of people I talk to, for example, the, the, the reason they have to go to agencies or go use agencies is because the web developers that the institution does have, they're just like swamped, right? They have like no time. Like they're, they're working on these major projects, right?
Um, that they can't make, you know, simple, uh, designs or they, they can't develop a simple like landing page or a simple like website page, right? For. Admission teams open house next month. Right. Like they just, they just don't have the resources for that. Um, but, but I'd be curious, like when you think about other ways that silos can, can be broken, other than just kind of a retooling of, of organizational structure, what comes to mind?
[00:17:00] Cuz I think for some people this will happen for others, you know, we're years away from like getting to a point. They can, with a magic wand, wave it, and then all of a sudden they can retool teams as they, as they see, as they see fit. So like what other, what other things are you seeing folks do that you're impressed by or inspired by in the lane of, of breaking down silos and increasing communication and collaboration.
Jeff Dillon: I think when I see a marketing staff person contact us and say, Hey, we wanna see your offerings. We love what you're doing. They haven't talked to their IT team. You know, they're doing their own research. They're like saying, Hey, I wanna, I wanna create a great argument, a great case to show my IT people what we can be, what we can be doing.
And you know, aside from going back to the whole, another way to say it was, was look at your org chart first. Yeah. You know, where with the job titles and like the structure of your org chart that that should be done. But, but realizing that, that putting people, empowering [00:18:00] people to everyone, be a champion and, and put it in their job description to say like, Yeah, you need to help us find the best solutions.
Um, putting processes in place to support that. Maybe if you're still in a siloed system. That web governance is even more important, like that separate arm, you know, we keep going back to this, but. That. I don't think there's any, a real, a real easy answer to that. Yeah. But what I do see is these, um, I would say staff, people, developers, people that they, they tell me you're up to bat when they meet.
Like, I don't have the decision to, I don't have budget. Yeah. But I really want to, to learn more. That's, that's, that used to be unheard of. Hmm. I mean, people wouldn't, they would go through, It's a, there's a hierarchy in higher ed. Yeah. Yeah. You go, you go through your chain of command and that, that. For debate whether we should be that, that hierarchical.
But you know, I think empowering people and really supporting those, those champions at whatever level they are, however you can do that, you know, um, through, through formal processes and through just hiring the right people. And, you know, [00:19:00] in a few years the people who really can't, don't want to work in this new environment.
Some are retiring, you know, the, the new world is. I talk to people outside of higher ed and they think we've already evolved. Yeah. Like all my people that are like, Yeah, you're doing remote now, right? I'm like, Yeah. I mean, it's kind of like that, but, but we're just at the beginning of this, you know, to figure out how, how we're gonna do it.
Um, So roundabout answer, it's tough,
Zach Busekrus: but, um, , No. No, but I, but I, yeah, I, I wonder too if there's, if there's a solution where you almost go and you, you, you, you plant like marketers in, in the IT team, right? Like where, where it's almost, because I think, I think one of the challenges to, for both technical people and more non-technical people is the technical people.
They oftentimes can have a, it's often challenging to. Accurately articulate. Like what, how, how to do something or like how something is done, right. . Um, and then you got your non-technical people thinking, just gimme the info. Just gimme the data. Can't you just, you know, [00:20:00] throw this thing on this page. Like, and, and I feel like the gap, right?
It, it is closing, uh, as people just get a little bit more smarter as we get used to kind of, uh, Is there are quite frankly, more like CMSs out there that are user friendly, that like anyone, any dummy like me can like go and whip up a landing page as that trend continues, that I think that that gap, um, shrinks a little bit.
But I still think right now there are these massive gaps in understanding of how things work, right. And why. Why things are set up the way that they're set up. And so I wonder if like another way to break down a silo is what, what would it look like to take marketing teams and, or a couple people, almost like have 'em go in and say, Look for the next three to six months, You know, Jeff, you're kind of heading up the IT team.
I just want, I want you to just like educate me on like literally everything that you possibly could about like, The digital presence of this institution functions. Right? Like, how the hell does all this stuff actually work? And I wonder, right, if you were to do, if you were to assign somebody to go work on this special project, [00:21:00] like what would they come back with?
Or what insights would they, Oh my gosh. Wow. We're, did you guys know we're collecting all of this data and literally no one is doing anything with it because it doesn't know that that's important. No one's told them. Right. And then the marketing team was like, Holy shit. Like we had no idea we had this data.
we could do a lot with this, right? So I wonder like, if, if that's again, just another super simple, you know, uh, quotes around simple, but like a simple way for folks to, to learn to break down some silos and to increase collaboration.
Jeff Dillon: Yeah. I think that's a great plan, Zach, with my experience in higher ed.
It's not simple, but it sounds, it sounds simple. Yeah. Um, It should be simple. Yeah, it should be simple. Um, and one step we took towards that is this, I could talk about web governance. We met every month. Yeah. And we had a group of 20 people from all over campus that met every month, but it led it hardly anyone brought anything to the table after about five months.
People started proposing ideas. Yeah. And it was great because then we weren't, we didn't have to be the bad guys and say, No, that doesn't really make sense. Yeah. It was just thrown to the group, like, why are we not adding this [00:22:00] link to the homepage? Or, you know, we, we need a new forms tool. Here's, here's the things we're looking at.
There's any, any other tool that we should be looking at, and we were doing that. Yeah. Um, to have someone like being shadowed and learning like in, in depth, that would be ideal, but it's just probably not possible. It. Well, it's just challenging. I mean, but it's a great, it's a great, the ideal is there, um, but another thing to kind of point out is, you know, we talk about it shrinking and marketing teams evolving.
If you look at an org chart these days, you might have a hundred people in an IT division at a large school. Yeah. You might have, you're lucky you might have 10 in a marketing division. Yeah. You might have less. Yeah. You might agree. Yeah. I mean, I mean, we're, we're. But what happens is those hundred people there, it's much more likely for someone in the infrastructure, telecom, all those things that are in it that you don't think about to have the skills and the way to think to like be able to do something, but they might not do it well.
Yeah. Um, so, so you're right with the tools now, like, like it's gonna skew towards, um, it should towards more marketing [00:23:00] people, um, because they're more in touch with the, uh, with our customers.
Zach Busekrus: Um, generally. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. No, it's, I mean, it's a, it's a conundrum really. Um, but. But I think the schools that, uh, are, are scrappy enough and, um, who just decide, you know, what we're, we are really gonna take this on.
I, we've talked about this I think on a, a past episode, but I also think that like, just in terms of how trends are changing with how students kind of search and their expectations for, to be able to kind of self-service, find what they're looking for in, you know, uh, in a matter of seconds as that just continues to become, uh, it, it's no longer a luxury, It's just expected.
- This kind of collaboration is going to be forced because literally it is just not gonna know some things and marketing is just not gonna know some things. Right. And so like un, unless there is a regular flow of communication and conversation. Right. And I would argue that like, it's also like brainstorming.
It's also like, Hey, let. IT team needs to [00:24:00] come to the table and say, Here are like five things that you might not know that we have or that we have access to, or, or data that we collect that could be of interest to you. Right here. Here's, here's, you know, the top five and roll through a super simple slide deck.
Then the marketing team, right? Can you know? Ask questions. Maybe they get ideas, you know, initially, or what they can say is, Okay, great. That's amazing. Here are kind of five marketing, core marketing objectives that we have over the next 12 months, right? Mm-hmm. . Here's what we're trying to do is do we have anything like that?
Exists that could help us do this better? Do we need to go shop around for something like, and if, if just pe, if people focus on, maybe it's even just three, what are like the three things for each team to come to the table every month? And you're talking about just three very practical things. Cause I think sometimes what comes, What happens with these meetings are, at least what I, the stories I hear is, you know, the monthly web governance meeting is set up and it sounds like you guys fell into a rhythm and it really worked.
[00:25:00] If people don't come to that meeting ready, right? It, it can kind of just be like this, this waste of time where people get very territorial, right? But if, but if instead, it's like, no, no, no, no. It team, your job is to show us three new things. Marketing team. Your job is to tell us three of your challenges and three of the opportunities that you see, uh, before us.
And then we can have an open, honest discussion about, you know, how we might be able to, what is realistic? What can we do? What, what can't we do?
Jeff Dillon: You're, you're, you're kind of painting the picture of the ideal scenario, which I think is amazing. It's, it's, it's what I think no one would argue with if they heard you, but they, they could probably, with experience, you could probably see where it gets challenging, but of course we need to be there.
Um, the, the one thing that we have to understand is that, like, I think we both alluded to and set up outright, is that we can't keep up. It cannot keep up like they could 10 to 15 years ago. No. If, if we can't keep up. So, so if, if it can't give us the short list of the CRMs for [00:26:00] advancement or admissions because they don't know the admissions and advancement people.
I guarantee you. They know. Yeah. They know they have their top three that I wish we could get this because we know so, so we, we have to leverage that just for the fact that we can't keep up. Yeah. We have to give in, in, in. In that vein, those student affairs and advancement and admissions people have to do their job too and can't expect it to go find the best solution for them.
Yeah. Because they're not gonna be able to know. No, no. So, so, so some of the best proactive divisions are doing that themselves and pushing through, saying, Look, we need this. Here's our requirements, here's why we need it. They're doing it. It's just a spectrum of. You know, the, the politics and the personalities involved and, you know, it comes back to leadership often.
Yeah. But, um, we just can't keep up, so let's rely on each other and help each other if, if at the most simplistic way.
Zach Busekrus: And I, I think, I think what's, what's, you know, the broader trend too. I think a lot about like no code tools, right? Like tools that you don't have to be a developer, um, but you can kind of fiddle around and there's, there's enough [00:27:00] flexibility to kind of like build a landing page or build an email template or whatever it is.
They've no code tools have become incredibly sophisticated even over just the last few years. Like I think about like web flow as, as kind of like a cms, not, not a solution at all for, for an institution by any means, but just as like marketers who are working in this space become very familiar and used to building out content that is then on a website that people can convert on and whatnot, Is that just from a societal perspective becomes more normalized.
From a rete, a staff retention standpoint, it's going, If you have to deal with a ton of friction every time you're talking to your IT team to kind of get something done when you're like, Dammit, I could build a freaking website page and web flow in, you know, two seconds, and this could serve as my place, you know, just to drive event attendees too, obviously, again, I'm, I'm, I'm being, being a little harsh here, but my, the point being from a retention standpoint, you're dealing, you're going to be dealing with a generat.
Isn't going to be that patient. [00:28:00] Uh, and I'm talking about your, your employees, right? Not, not, not students. And I think that like, if, if we don't seriously tackle these challenges now, it doesn't matter. It, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter who's right. It doesn't matter if it's right. It doesn't matter if marketing's right, if things can't get, get done in a very quick.
And stream liable way. People are just gonna, people are gonna lose patience. And your best people, uh, actually should leave. Right? Because cuz they're wasting their time.
Jeff Dillon: Well, you're right onto something I wanted to talk about, which was, um, one of the reasons I came to qui was because of the, one of the low code solutions we offer.
Mm. How do we connect everything if we know that these systems are gonna keep proliferating and being purchased and it's gonna be difficult to keep up. So how do we connect them? Yeah. Right. In a, in a smart way. Yeah. And that's where I'm really excited about, um, that opportunity. If we, if we're losing technical talent, but we still need to connect systems, how do we do that?
Yeah. Yeah. So we do it with [00:29:00] a low coat integration platform. Hmm. Which is kind of groundbreaking I think, in that there's, um, there's other. Integration platforms that are pretty complex and they take kind of weeks of training and, you know, they, they, they work pretty well and they're for connecting enterprise systems to each other.
So there's this new category of software like that. But this is a different in that it's, it's an integration platform as a service. Hmm. That's low code. Yeah. So you can, you can plug in, let's say you're, you're on Salesforce, but maybe you move to hotspot. Yeah. You can plug and play these and you don't need a technical person.
Hmm. Um, maybe your cms, your CR. Um, and build your portal with it. Build your Progressive mobile app with that. So that's what we're really trying to do at squi is, is make, you know, evolve with our, with our customers. Yeah. And then see, see what that future would, would look like.
Zach Busekrus: Yeah. That's, I, I didn't realize you guys, you know, were doing this, so that's fricking amazing.
Um, and, and spot on. I have another question for you, Jeff, just around, like, as you, as you think [00:30:00] about, um, you know, The short term future here, right? What, what are some things like, I, I, I guess when, when I think about new software and new solutions and new platforms, right? They are popping up all the time and it's, it's.
It's tempting to just be like, Wow, this is a new flashy thing. This looks epic. This solves my problem today. I'm gonna buy it. I'm gonna do this now. And then you encounter a different problem tomorrow and it's like, Oh, well, shit, like this one doesn't like solve that problem. It solves, it solves this problem, but not this new problem that I created, right?
Mm-hmm. . Um, and one of the things like I think about sometimes is what, what is an appropriate, um, what is an appropriate sort of adoption look. In higher ed of, of new software and new technology. And I think sometimes, like one of, one of the things that we're seeing happen right now, this isn't true totally across the board, but like school's relationships with OPMs, many of them have very complicated relationships with OPMs and the number of schools that have talked to me, to [00:31:00] people offline that say, Hey, I'm, we're doing everything we can to break up with our, with our opm, uh, is, is, it's ridiculous.
Like, I, like if I had. For every time I've heard a complaint recently about OPMs and then obviously everything, you know, you've seen two U layoffs and just other, other things kind of happening right now. Um, and, and I guess my question is, what am I really trying to ask? What I'm really trying to ask is there are so many new tools, so many new software, so many new platforms that are popping up.
You obviously can't just like adopt them all overnight, but also. How do you balance that with like the risk of getting locked in to like a seven to 10 year contract with a software company or like a, you know, ansis, what, what is the appropriate balance there between being open to adopting new things, you know, not quickly abandoning those new things, but then also like not being in a situation where you're stuck using a system just because it's the system that your school has always used.
Jeff Dillon: Yeah. Wow. That's a great question. [00:32:00] Um, maybe we need to add some episodes on here. . Um, the, the, I think essentially, um, we need to, to implement systems that are built on open standards. You know, that
Zach Busekrus: that's something like what, what does that mean exactly? Sorry. I don't know what does open.
Jeff Dillon: So, so open licenses, um, If you were to, to leave, are you gonna be being stuck in the, in a boat where, you know, you don't, you don't have your data?
Um, yeah. You know, those, those types of agreements. But if someone's trying to lock you into a seven to 10 year contract, this might not be the right vendor. They might not be higher ed Focus. Mm. So I, I think you need to start it. How do you get to your short list quickly? Yeah. Cause a lot of it is, is how quick we can move and we can't, we can't go too slow, but we can't, like you're saying, we can't just buy the first thing we see.
Yeah. So there's at least middle ground we have to hit. Right. So how do you get to your short list of whether it's a CRM or OPM or, or whatever. To determine what you're gonna um, use. And number one is, are they a higher ed vendor? Yeah. And if you're a higher ed vendor, what that means is that your [00:33:00] roadmap is built for higher ed or it's built for higher ed and, uh, you know, government like that, which take into account accessibility and the most complex environments that you can imagine.
So, So if you're less than 5% or so, I mean, do you really want to take the risk that your licensing isn't set up for higher ed? Yeah, that's the other thing. When we're locked, Dare I say the Microsofts and Adobes that we have to use. Yeah. Um, but the licensing and pricing just doesn't, doesn't work very well.
Um, That's the offline, right? They're the big heist. But, but Right. There's a sweet spot. There's the niche players, there's the mid-size, and so you wanna find that sweet spot of, you know, and there isn't, there could be many right answers, right? Yeah. And so it's all about like, can we implement something that might have been the, not exactly the right way, but if we used, if, if we built it, So that it can be scalable, um, and it's gonna handle, maybe we defined one use case, two use cases off the bat, and it's working, and then we can, we can build onto it.
You know, no one wants [00:34:00] to be on the bleeding edge. Yeah. And some schools actually do, but we do wanna be on the, on the leading edge. So, you know, you could get lucky and be the first one to use a company that's, it's emerging, but often you're gonna hear from your peers, you know, what, what other schools are doing.
And, and that's why all these community groups
Zach Busekrus: are out. I think what really where it's coming from is just this, this I, this idea of like, I wish it was easier for people to try things to see if it would work for them, and then to be able to quickly get off of them and pivot without a ton of pain should they realize that, you know what, this actually isn't exactly what we need because maybe we evolved or maybe we shifted or maybe our strategic priorities changed.
E even just a year after adopting insert, you know, name of ed tech company here and, and, and I think that like, You know, I think a lot about the freemium models, and you've talked about this on previous episodes too, that a lot of these, uh, software companies have of you get in. You, you, you play around in the sandbox a little bit and then you realize, Oh, wow, like this is really cool.
This is great. I wish it was easier for different [00:35:00] stakeholders within the context of an institution to be able to do those things and actually build like a real, like a, you know, a real use case of like, Hey, this is actually how we would do this for us. Here's how it would work, and then be able to kind of d.
This isn't the tool for us. And I feel like it's there, there aren't lots of great examples of like that being possible. Um, at least that I'm aware of today. Yeah, I think
Jeff Dillon: it's, I think the other way to look at it is that, Since we're evolving so fast, it's really difficult to see it further than two or three years out, right?
Yeah, you can. You can say, you can say you, you really can't, but you really can't. So if that's the case, you know, build something that you can, that you can replace systems if you need to. Yeah. And as these companies get better at at development, implementation, it gets easier. Is it that big a deal if you're replacing a system every two or three years?
Maybe it shouldn't be. Yeah. Yeah. I guess it's a different way to think about it that you know, as long as you have your. You know, and, and, and you get the, the contracts written in [00:36:00] the favor of the university that like, this is not gonna hurt us when we leave you after this three year contract is up. Um, you need a foundation that can keep, It's not about the front, the front end technologies.
It's about keeping your foundation, your integration platform. I think. Consistent so you can, you can keep plugging and playing
Zach Busekrus: as you go. Yeah, that's a, that is a super keen insight of like, maybe, maybe what we're really kind of saying here is the new expectation, right. Should be, or we're not, we're not too far from a world where every two to three years, your tech stack is gonna change up.
Uh, and that's, and that's just like, that's just standard. Like, that's okay, right? Like, and as opposed to these, like, you know, Oh wow, we've been on black Pod for 15 years, or Oh wow, we've been on slate for, you know, 10 years, whatever it is. Like I, I, I do think that that. Makes sense given the rate at which technology is continuing to change and adapt, um, the rate at which new players are coming into the space.
Maybe. Yeah, maybe that's a good kind of takeaway is, hey, we're not too far from a world where not for everybody, but for many of us, every two to three years, you're probably gonna shake up your tech sec and that's [00:37:00] okay. You know, , right?
Jeff Dillon: It's hard to get, grasp your head around now, but it's, it's scary, you
Zach Busekrus: know, maybe.
Yeah, I was just saying cuz some of these, I mean, I, I don't wanna call it, I won't call it any specific company name here, but like, I have had many conversations where it took two years to stand up the su the tool, right? It took two years to onboard and by the time you're there, it's like, okay, now you can use it two years after you purchased it.
And you know, in, in this new reality, two years from now, there's gonna be something that's significantly better, but people are gonna be so annoyed and pain, you know, like it just, the, the headache of think. Now moving off after we just did all this for two years, like people aren't gonna wanna do that.
And so they're gonna, they're gonna be complacent and they're gonna, you know, be satisfied with inferior product simply because they don't wanna go through the headache of like having to wait two years to use it again. Maybe, maybe
Jeff Dillon: we start and say, let's not sign contracts longer than three years, you know, And every three years we're gonna look at, look at what's
Zach Busekrus: out there.
This was fun. And I, I think, you know, there are, are lots of good takeaways here. One, just. Any collaboration, [00:38:00] any, any conversations, any standing meeting that can happen between IT and marketing over the next couple of years is gonna be incredibly important as these teams kind of shift and mold. Uh, and I know that we're, we're picking on marketing and it here in particular, I think this is true across the enterprise, but like, you know, for the purposes of this conversation, I think that these two, these two teams, these two divisions, there's going to be, there's going to need to be way, way, way, way.
Collaboration and an openness and, and camaraderie quite frankly, than ever before. And then number two, I think that, you know, when it comes to thinking through new technologies and the adoption of new software, new platforms, new services, it's not crazy to think that we're moving into a world where we're gonna be adopting these new things every two to three years.
And like that should just be expected. That's just a standard. There's nothing wrong with that. That's just. That's the new, that's what 2020 and beyond brings you. Right? Um, and then, and you know, on that note too, I think if, if we are living in a world that does that, uh, just quickly adding this thing on too, we, we also need to be living in a world where the implementation of these tools, right, doesn't take two years, right?
Like if every two to three years [00:39:00] we're gonna change things up, you gotta be up and running and set up in 30 days after signing. Like, and that's, and that's just, you've gotta budget the time to make that happen. You gotta make sure you've got the vendors in place or the software providers. You know, equip you to be able to do that.
But we're talking like 30 to 60 days, not, you know, three to six years of, of being able to like, be stood up and, and using the tools. So yeah, I think that this is a, you know, the start of a very, very important conversation. Yep. I agree.
Jeff Dillon: I love talking about it. Thanks,
Zach Busekrus: Zach. Well, thank you sir. And for folks who are tuning in for the first time, this is episode three of a special Enrollify and Squiz series.
If you scroll on down to the show notes, you can click onto episodes one and two, and or if the series is complete by the time that you are listening to this podcast, episode four will be linked as well. Thanks everybody for your.
Hey, I'll [00:40:00] Zach here from Enrollify. If you like this podcast, chances are you'll like other Enrollify shows too. Our podcast network is growing by the month, and we've got a plethora of marketing admissions and higher ed technology shows that are jam packed with stories, ideas, and frameworks that are all designed to empower you to become a better higher ed Professional.
Our shows feature a selection of the industry's best as your host. Learn from Mickey Baines, Jeremy Tiers, Jaime Hunt, Corryn Myers, Jamie Gleason, and many, many more. You can learn more about the Enrollify podcast network at podcasts.enrollify.org. Our shows help higher ed marketers and admissions professionals find their next big idea.
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About the Episode
The what's what...
On episode 3 of The Modern Student, Zach and Jeff discuss how technology can help you develop a stronger enrollment plan and the value of having unified marketing and IT departments.
About the Series
The Modern Student is a special podcast series in collaboration with Squiz, exploring how technology is revolutionizing higher ed and engaging students. Squiz is a technology company that is revolutionizing the way higher ed builds digital experiences for its constituents.
The Modern Student is hosted by Enrollify Founder, Zach Busekrus and Jeff Dillon, a senior consultant at Squiz. This series will explore:
- Ep. 1: How the Modern Student is Shaping the Future of Education
- Ep. 2: How to Find and Engage New Student Populations
- Ep. 3: Why Marketing and IT in Higher Ed Need Each Other to Thrive
- Ep. 4: The Future of Tech in Higher Ed
About the Enrollify Podcast Network
The Modern Student is a part of the Enrollify Podcast Network. If you like this podcast, chances are you’ll like other Enrollify shows too!
Our podcast network is growing by the month and we’ve got a plethora of marketing, admissions, and higher ed technology shows that are jam packed with stories, ideas, and frameworks all designed to empower you to be a better higher ed professional. Our shows feature a selection of the industry’s best as your hosts. Learn from Mickey Baines, Jeremy Teirs, Jaime Hunt, Corynn Myers, Jaime Gleason and many more.
Learn more about The Enrollify Podcast Network at podcasts.enrollify.org. Our shows help higher ed marketers and admissions professionals find their next big idea — come and find yours!
About the Podcast
Zach is the Founder of Enrollify. He thoroughly enjoys building new brands, developing and executing content marketing strategies, and hosting podcasts. When he's not working on Enrollify, he enjoys discussing life's quandaries over coffee (or a good bourbon) with friends, building Sponstayneous (his travel brand side hustle), trying out new HIIT workouts, and adventuring across the globe with his wife!
Jeff Dillon is a senior consultant at Squiz - a technology company that is revolutionizing the way higher ed builds digital experiences for its constituents. With over 21 years of higher ed experiences working on the tech side, Jeff is a proven leader in managing dynamic and complex IT organizations, and driving business transformation. He is continually striving to use agile principles to enhance project and business processes and has a passion for leveraging teams of developers to optimize User Experience with the core principles of Universal Design and Accessibility. Jeff is a frequent speaker and presenter at Higher Education technology conferences and welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with other schools to improve the quality and speed to deliver student centered services.
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