Old school technology versus new school technology
Managing two-way communications between home and school/business and customer/business and staff is extremely costly-editing and publishing, printing/emailing/distributing, responding, collecting, storing. Schools are using a ‘multi-channel’ approach to collect and share information, for example: SMS for important alerts and notifications (to opt-in parents only); SurveyMonkey for responses; TryBookings for payments; publication to the school website; Skoolbag for one-way broadcasts; emails for updates and responses; eNewsletter for web publishing; and of course the humble piece of paper for consent and response. From an impact point of view, teachers waste an enormous amount of education time managing communications, updating lists, chasing consent and payments.
This multi-channel hybrid approach to communication management has many downfalls, particularly in efficiency, reliability and educational outcomes. The current approach relies on schools maintaining very good business processes and procedures to ensure that information reaches the target; and further, that the parents understand where to look for given information. Each additional channel requires additional effort for administrators. A single communication may take on many formats and be replicated across a number of systems; in short form as SMS, distributed as a paper or electronic doc/PDF, upload and published to a website or pushed out using an app.
What is the solution to improved efficiency in communication management?
With the rise of social networking and the ease to which consumers create and manage personal accounts, and the accessibility of consumer software on the web, user behaviour is changing and so too are expectations (both business and customer). Individuals are gaining more power to control their own information in a way that suits them. Individuals can publish and share, invite and connect, subscribe and unsubscribe. The content they publish is a record of their existence, publicly and privately stored on record in databases across the planet. The content they consume is dished up to them by an array of computer algorithm and data mining smarts feeding interest and age specific content via multiple channels.
We cannot remain steadfast in our belief that portals, intranets, one-way broadcast services/apps and system interfaces are adequate in meeting the two-way communication needs of today’s web users. In order to move with the times, we need to look towards solutions and services that empower both business and customer, school and parent. We need networking services for business communication management.
The ol’ “you come to us and sign in to our system to fill in a web form for us to collect your data” will become a thing of the past, as business productivity networks spark up and provide users with greater control and access to their own data; and importantly, the flexibility to connect with many others, not just one organisation.
Leading the charge in the productivity networking services space is Signmee. Signmee is a SaaS electronic forms service for consumers. Signmee works the same way as other networks where users connect and share. With Signmee, any user can create an account and connect with others to receive/action/manage electronic forms; and any user can upgrade and create a business account to create and share electronic forms.
One individual has the power to connect with many different businesses, using the one Signmee account. For a parent, they may be connected to a primary school Signmee account, a kinder Signmee account and a high school Signmee account. Within their account they may receive excursion consent forms, fundraising order forms, lunch order forms and general newsletters from each of the connected schools and organisations. Within the same account, the electronic form can be completed and stored for future reference. For a teacher, they may be connected to their school Signmee account to receive/respond to electronic forms, and may also be connected to their school account to create and distribute electronic forms on behalf of the school.
Signmee is a paradigm shift from traditional communication systems and solutions, which rely heavily on the enterprise-out model (our portal, our website, our intranet, our web app). These traditional systems are restrictive as electronic forms solutions, rely on maintenance of members, and lack the flexibility to expand beyond a single purpose and set cohort.
When communications are shared on the Signmee network, the school (or business) can track who the communication went to, who opened the communication, who signed, what the response was. Signmee removes the need for duplicates as both the sender and receiver have ongoing access to the same communication from their respective linked Signmee accounts.
The efficiencies and benefits of Signmee electronic forms networking service are immediately evident as forms and communications are easily distributed, completed, accessed and stored by all parties; chasing up responses can be done via SMS and email alerts; payments are made within the service; schools can access automatically generated lists of attendees, responders and payees; and schools can make use of Signmee as an emergency contact channel.
Signmee is recognised by many users as the future of electronic form management, and a great new option for eSign, eCommerce and communication management. Signmee empowers business to create and manage electronic forms and responses, and empowers customers to respond with ease using a personalised channel. Signmee is one single channel to reach others for the purpose of collecting and sharing data.