The Cost of Convenience – When You Don’t Diversify Your Communications Technology Platform

Diversification is a term widely used by financial planners. They continually preach the value of spreading all of your assets to minimize risk and protect yourself in situations when some financial investments perform and others don’t. It’s a smart, safe strategy designed to avert complete financial disasters.

The same holds true for the ever-changing, fast-paced technology industry. 
However, instead of the term diversification, you’ll hear the word redundancy.

Redundancy is exactly the same concept as diversification. The goal is to spread and back up your technology platforms as much as possible to avoid a complete shutdown or black out. Redundancy minimizes the risk with many platforms and backups. Just think of what would happen if all of your technology systems ran off the same platform and that platform went down? As horrible as it is to imagine, it happens. The best of the best have gone down, even recently (think Amazon, Facebook….).

Recently, some school districts have been discussing the concept of a single point of access for their stakeholders. The idea is to create as much convenience as possible for them. Make it easy and simple as possible to find all the information you need. While at first glance, it does seem to make sense to have one point of entry for all the information needed, but is it really in the best interest of protecting the lines of information and communication at all times? Especially in light of the potential emergency situations that could occur? Or in other worst case scenarios, a data breach, hack or virus?

Districts (and their communications departments) are incredibly busy creating and disseminating information on a daily basis. They need to have the assurance that no matter what time of day, what type of incident, the vehicles and systems in which they communicate work. By using the redundancy strategy, Districts, Communication Directors and stakeholders can be confident the lines of communication will always flow (even if one or two systems go down).

Don’t get caught in the easy trap of convenience.

Which Came First…the Chicken or the Egg?

Which came first the chicken or the egg? It’s an age old question that relates to one we hear often – which comes first, the website or the app?

Many districts have posed that very question and have even considered delaying the launch of a mobile app due to a website update or overhaul. A delay is not necessary and what’s more, it’s likely to cost time and opportunity.

Everyone wants a perfect communication system that combines common branding, a great user experience and quality content. That should be the goal but the reality of resources often makes one big launch impossible.

Maintaining and promoting a quality website is important to any communications effort but it should not be an obstacle to launching a new tool like the Visiwick K12 app. In many cases, the app can bridge the gap between your current website and your dream website.

Consider the benefits of launching your app first:

  • The Visiwick app is incredibly agile meaning that you can create content, shift tabs, issue alerts, and change feeds in a matter of minutes;
  • 90% of American adults have at least one mobile device and people check their phones more than 150 times per week – think of all the great content you can deliver via your app;
  • The app can also be a great promotional tool for your website as well as other communication tools; and,
  • The survey feature on the app is a great way to generate feedback for website design and content.

So what’s the answer to the question – which comes first, website or mobile app? The answer, it simply does not matter. The most important thing is communicating with your stakeholders in a meaningful and consistent way. If you’ve got a great website, add the app to your cache of communication tools. If your website isn’t quite what you want it to be, launch the app as a means of great communication and a great way to develop your website.

Why do I need a mobile app if my website is responsive or mobile friendly?

First, let’s take a look at what a responsive website is.

A mobile friendly, or responsive, website essentially means that the website is easily viewable on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. The content is still the same as the website because it uses the same database for content but it loads to fit the users screen and can be easily navigated and viewed (minimal scrolling and panning). Users search the website for the content they are looking for; it’s reactionary behavior, typically when they are in need of some type of information.Continue Reading..