A key differentiator for Hobsons is that we are a global company focused on providing high-quality products and services to K-12 and higher education clients around the world. As Director of Product Management, it’s critical that my team and I understand the different needs of our clients in different parts of the world in order to be successful in this mission.
Recently, I had a chance to travel to the other side of the world to spend time with some of our Radius clients in Australia. In addition to seeing kangaroos and having a vegemite sandwich (thank you Men at Work), my goal was to gain a better understanding of their needs to ensure that the product direction in the upcoming year reflects the interests of our global clients.
Twenty hours on a plane from DC, replacing the Z’s in my presentation with S’s, and a packed schedule of client visits, and I was ready to listen and learn. While I found many similarities in the needs of our Australian clients with those I have seen in other parts of the world, I still walked away with several “Aha!” moments that will influence the direction that Radius moves in 2017. Specifically, these three themes came up time and time again:
1. Making students feel heard and valued is critical.
University admissions is a competitive space, and the people I talked with really focused on what they could do to help guide prospective students to the right fit. The commitment to delight students was evident in the creative ways communications and events are being used within Radius. Case Management for Radius helps to manage one-on-one relationships.
2. Timeliness is key.
While we spent some time talking about the goal of increasing the number of students in the applications funnel, the majority of our conversations focused on creating more efficient processes so that university staff could respond to students faster and with more detail. Not only did this make me think about how features in Radius could be improved, but it also caused me to think about our own processes in supporting our clients. I am so excited about the increased support that we will be able to provide to our clients as part of a global organization.
3. Process should drive technology, not the other way around.
The decision to implement a new technology is often driven by leadership and takes a top-down approach. Many of the conversations we had focused on ways to get better –- to be faster and more efficient. Our clients look to Hobsons staff as experts and we are responsible for helping our clients be successful and connecting them to one another around the world. There are things happening in Sydney that could be replicated on campus in Kansas, and vice versa.
At the end of any trip, my family and I have a tradition where we go around the table and reflect on our top three memories, and I think it’s fitting to continue this tradition here. First, I really want to thank the teams at University of Technology Sydney, Carnegie Mellon, Study Adelaide, UniSA, and Holmesglen for opening their doors and spending time with me. Second, our clients continue to impress me with their creative uses of our solutions to solve their challenges. And finally, I loved a lot of things about Australia. Vegemite was not one.
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