It’s no secret: money talks — especially with your CFO or school board. If you’re trying to generate buy-in for a school initiative, it’s wise to focus on the numbers to get their attention and (hopefully) their approval.
Calculating said numbers is a whole different ball game. It can be hard to put a number to something like the ROI for your student information system. But with the right quantitative evidence, you can show the financial benefit of switching from multiple software systems to a one-record SIS like Veracross.
Here are a few things to consider when quantifying the time, money, and energy spent managing your school’s student information across multiple systems.
Put a Number to People and Resources
The first step towards calculating your ROI is to determine how many people are affected by your school’s technology.
Spoiler alert: it’s virtually every single faculty and staff member, student, parent, donor, and alum within your school community. Different users will be affected in different ways so be sure to consider the various areas of friction or frustration. (For example, a student might not be affected by your tuition management system, but their parent likely will.)
A student information system like Veracross can streamline manual tasks to help save valuable time and resources for school staff. This energy can then be reallocated elsewhere.
Total Up SIS Software Contract Costs
The second step in calculating ROI is to conduct a full inventory of the hard and soft costs associated with each technology platform.
How many different systems are you currently using to manage your school’s student information? If the answer is more than one, you’re likely paying redundant fees to manage disparate systems — not to mention paying for the mental headache of reconciling data in multiple places.
Each individual system comes with its own contract, various integration fees, incidental costs for support and add-ons, and an initial cost for the software, which will likely grow year by year. There are also many forgotten costs like time and staff morale that need to be considered when calculating your total system cost. You can use our free software budgeting calculator to add up all these costs and put a realistic monetary value on all your different systems.
Consider SIS Software Inefficiencies
Time is money when it comes to running a school efficiently. If you’ve ever had an unexpectedly chaotic workday, you know small tasks can add up big time.
The third step in calculating ROI is to consider all the inefficiencies your school struggles with when working with your current software. Here’s just a quick snapshot of what those could be in relation to your student information software:
- Manually importing and exporting data
- Deduping data
- Managing multiple systems
- Providing tech support
- Delays between systems
- Using systems not originally designed for K-12 independent schools
- Training new staff on multiple systems
By listing out each inefficiency, you’ll see how much work is redundant and how much time could be saved with a streamlined workflow.
Survey for Dissatisfaction
In a similar vein, it’s also important to check in with school constituents to see how they really feel about your current systems.
Have you ever opened your email to 30 useless system notifications? Or wanted to yell at the computer when you’re locked out of your account once again? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
These small annoyances and errors can combine into one big exasperation with the overall system. It can be very difficult to quantify how dissatisfaction affects your school, so getting feedback from parents and staff is important. Be sure to ask about all current systems and the daily troubles they face. This will help you see the total impact of your school’s technology and identify areas of opportunity.
This is especially important since there’s so much competition for K-12 private and independent schools. The overall experience you provide families will affect their decision to stay at your school or move to the charter school up the road. A user-friendly SIS like Veracross can be highly influential in their decision to enroll or reenroll their child at your school.
Additionally, disjointed systems can heavily impact your employee experience and result in high turnover rates for faculty and staff. Asking for feedback on your current technology systems will help employees feel heard and ultimately make their jobs easier if you move to a better solution.
Identify Data Vulnerabilities
If you’ve ever received an email from a company letting you know your information was impacted by a data breach, then you know how vulnerable it feels. The last thing we want is for you to have to send the dreaded data breach email to parents or donors.
How many different software systems did you calculate in step two? The more systems in your tech stack, the higher likelihood for a data breach.
A cyberattack is unfortunate for many reasons, including a dampened reputation and financial repercussions. A recent IBM report shows that the average cost for a data breach in 2022 reached $4.35 million — an expense most schools cannot afford. As you think about the ROI of your school technology, be sure to factor in the cost of multiple systems and the associated data privacy and security risks.
Totaling Extra Support and Incidentals
While we wish we could all be tech pros, the reality is that not everyone at your school is as tech-savvy as the kids raised in the era of smartphones and tablets. Tech support can quickly become an all-consuming job, especially when you have contracts with multiple technology providers and various levels of tech expertise on your team.
Try to calculate how much you pay for extra training, account support, and other incidentals not included in your contract. Multiply this number by each system, and you’ll quickly see how fast this adds up. And that’s just the hard financial cost — you’re also spending valuable time on support calls and training sessions.
As you think about an alternate solution, look for an SIS like Veracross that doesn’t charge extra for support. This will save your team both time and energy down the road.
Calculating Your ROI
Once you’ve gathered your numbers, you can calculate your ROI and showcase the value of a streamlined solution compared to your current technology stack. It’s important to remember that every school has different needs and use cases for technology. Listen to your community and be intentional about your next step. The right solution will serve your school ten years from now — not just for the next ten months.
For more guidance on this topic, check out our recent webinar: Measuring ROI, Developing a Business Case, and Obtaining Buy-in for a One-record SIS.