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How one IT leader and his team increased efficiency and productivity district-wide

A leader of a business operations interoperability transformation management project offers tips on how to align IT to achieve budget, efficiency and productivity goals. The first in a series for IT leaders on how to increase efficiency and productivity on IT projects.

The mass closure era of COVID-19 brought changes to nearly every school system in the world. Some districts elevated their communication strategies, some developed digital plans, and some floundered as they figured out how to use Google Classroom for the first time. 

Every IT leader in the nation was put to the test.   

For Chief Information Officer Zach Lind in Ithaca City Schools, the transition to virtual learning was as close to seamless as it could have been. The district had gone one-to-one in 2014, and the teaching staff had long been trained on the Google Suite, so – aside from the omni-present struggles of teaching remotely – they were in a good position as schools shut down nationwide in March 2020.

Always looking for ways to improve, Zach used the COVID-19 period to enhance his district’s internal communications strategy, and was thrilled with the results. In the corporate world, there are hundreds of workspace chat tools, but many of these platforms are difficult for school districts to utilize. 

Zach and his IT team needed to transition to chat-based support for their front office workers, and they wanted an easier way to communicate between internal project teams. 

“While working in-person, you can always walk down the hall and ask a question, but remote work often means that five-minute conversations are turned into five-week email chains,” he said. “We wanted to increase efficiency.” 

They set up an online chat system and watched as the transformation unfolded. Users didn’t require training because the chat box automatically appeared in their email window. The execution was seamless. 

This virtual internal communications strategy has continued as the district returned to in-person learning. Quick comments and questions no longer require a series of formal emails, and files can be safely stored in one conversation chain. 

A lot has changed since the start of the pandemic. According to EdWeek, 58% of education professionals have a more positive opinion of education technology following 2020’s COVID-19 school closures. Many district stakeholders are hungry for a solution that is easy to use and helps them get answers faster. 

Tools like Let’s Talk – the only customer experience and intelligence platform purpose-built for education – can help you streamline inbound communications through a unified inbox. Back-end capabilities allow staff to communicate and solve problems quickly, and tools like chatbot and knowledge base help you provide consistent answers 24-7. 

Is your school community ready for a new approach? Get your district set up with a free Let’s Talk demo today. 

Joe Douglass
By Joe Douglass
Originally published January 26, 2022 Last updated October 25, 2022