The Future of Finalsite: Responding to the Changing Needs of K12 Schools in 2021
Mia Major

This time last year, everyone was busy planning for the year ahead. We were setting resolutions and goals, planning graduations, college visits, weddings, proms, and parties. And while 2020 threw most of our plans out the window, it forced us to create new ones — and not just temporary plans, either. Little did we know, as school professionals across the globe navigated uncharted waters, they were also leaving behind a roadmap for the future.

And that roadmap means everything to us here at Finalsite. It's driving the way we communicate, educate, develop our software and grow our product offerings. This new roadmap that you've created has inspired us to grow with you.

In a recent webinar, Finalsite Founder and CEO Jon Moser discussed the six major shifts we've seen happen in K12 schools, and how those major shifts are driving the future of our company. You can watch the webinar recording below. 

 

6 Shifts in K12 Schools Driving Finalsite Product Development

As we look to develop and grow our products and services, the following six shifts are informing the way we think about the needs of our schools and districts around the world:

1. A new focus on emotional intelligence in communications.

How we communicate with one another — in person and virtually — needs to be empathic. It's essential to consider what your community is thinking and feeling, and address those emotional needs in your communications. Emotional intelligence can be translated in your communications in a variety of ways, from simplifying for your website navigation experience on mobile devices, to finding ways to celebrate your teachers and faculty. 

With this in mind, we're working closely with our schools on their website experiences to ensure they can both inform and emotionally connect with their communities.

2. Virtual options need to remain top of mind, even when things fo back to "normal." 

Virtual options may have felt like the "less fun" version of your in-person events, but they provided a new convenience that never existed for current, former, and prospective families. This convenience is a new expectation for everything, from open houses and graduations to online learning — and schools should not ignore its new role in their strategic planning.

Our work on "the virtual world" began in early 2020 with the development of our Digital Campus Assets. With the understanding that schools need virtual options for admissions, communications, learning, fundraising and alumni engagement, we developed more than 20 templates for our clients to use on their site to easily develop engaging virtual experiences.

3. Your website is now the #1 tool in driving engagement. 

In late 2020 the Enrollment Management Association (EMA) revealed that a school's website is the #1 factor in enrollment decision-making — making your website design and experience more important than ever.

Each year, we work closely with hundreds of schools to develop thoughtful websites that help them meet their goals. With a steady focus on design, accessibility and user experience, our team of award-winning designers continues to lead the industry with innovative trends and designs that help our schools stand out.

4. Transparency is essential to building trust. 

From responding to social media comments to sharing updates through a mobile app, the more open your lines of communication are, the more likely your community is to stick by your side.

We're investing more resources into tools to make communications easier for your school. New features for Finalsite Posts and Mobile App will make it easier than ever to build trust in your community from anywhere.

5. Security and privacy are at the forefront.

In 2020 alone there were 4 million suspicious request/attacks made against Finalsite schools daily — without a single successful attempt. However, successful cyber attacks are on the rise globally, and your community has growing concerns about the privacy of their data — as they should.

At Finalsite, administrative, technical, and physical security controls are implemented at every level of our organization. From employee training to hosting protocols, we'll continue to put effort and resources into ensuring your school community's data is safe.

6. The need to simplify processes is on the rise.

As of now, one-third of workers are at the risk experiencing burnout —compared to 5% the previous 2 years. 

One of our goals has always been to develop software that makes your lives easier — to give you hours back into your day to help you focus on the things that matter, whether that's cooking dinner for family or finally knocking out your at-work to-do list. In 2020, expect to see lots of changes and enhancements to our products that will make daily processes even easier. With our new Forms module released, we'll be adding additional functionality to automate email workflows. And, that's just the beginning. An all-on-one Communications platform with SMS text and Voice is coming to Finalsite Messages. (If you're interested in being a beta-tester, sign up today!)

If you want to learn more about these shifts, our products, and the future of Finalsite, watch the webinar above! 


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