EdTech Product Development — LaunchPad Essentials Insights Seminar

EdTech Product Development — LaunchPad Essentials Insights Seminar

In this session from the latest LaunchPad Essentials Insights Seminar, three thought leaders sit down to discuss how to fast track your product development by partnering with other companies.

In the first session from the latest LaunchPad Essentials Insights Seminar Series, 3 experienced EdTech leaders sat down to discuss how you can build a beautiful, effective product and get it to the market quickly.

We were joined by Hansa Wijayasundara – Founder of Octopus BI, Peter Carpenter – APAC Director at Wonde, and Chris Barnes, Partner Development – Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The highlights of their discussion were:

What are some of the key considerations for EdTechs in product development?
How do you maintain a level of security and stay on top of privacy concerns by education institutions?
What are some of the challenges you have faced developing your products and how did you prioritise those challenges?
As leaders of the business, how do you focus on what is the priority?
How do you retain current customers and obtain new customers?
Key takeaways

What are some of the key considerations for EdTechs in product development?

Peter emphasized that understanding the different technologies in schools is one of the aspects that companies struggle with because every school operates differently. He recommends it is important to:

  • Understand how a school uses their technology.
  • Understand how to either be able to customise it or ensure you are servicing the wide majority of what schools need.
  • Seamlessly transform data.

Hansa says that:

  • When you start a business, it’s something you never plan. However, overtime it happens automatically with the demand requests.
  • Look at the four pillars and make decisions according to these:
    – Scalability
    – Stability
    – Performance
    – Security
“Schools may work with 10-15 different products. Being able to have that mix of different products interact in an efficient way is critical as time moves forward.”
Peter Carpenter, Wonde

How do you maintain a level of security and stay on top of privacy concerns by education institutions?

Peter says that maintaining a level of security depends on the sector, what type of schools you are working with and what jurisdictions require from you in order to operate in the school environment. He also conveys that:

  • Safer Technology for Schools (SF4S), a national assessment framework, forms a good baseline for all companies to adhere to.
  • Working with organisations that have these frameworks in place, such as AWS, can guide you through the key phases of your product journey.

Hansa also dives into this topic, saying that:

  • Hiring an internal team who make sure they provide the best security is a key investment a business could make.
  • Getting ISO certified – especially as a data business. It’s a key risk as they are handling thousands of data points that belong to clients.

What are some of the challenges you have faced developing your products and how did you prioritise those challenges?

Measuring the impact that any new product feature request, change or idea will have on your business is key to handling and prioritising those challenges, says Peter. Here’s some of his practical advice:

  • It is important to understand what stage your business is at and what the impact any of those stages will make.
  • Everyone in the company should be aligned to that objective of the goal you have set for the period. Defining this clearly upfront is important.

Hansa also advises:

  • Use resources from companies around you.
  • Clearly define your go-to market and the core technologies to use.
  • Plan ahead and plan for things to change. You have to be agile enough in your business to cater the needs of your clients.
“Understanding what needs to be done in what order is extremely important to make it easier to plan the rest.”
Hansa Wijayasundara, Octopus BI

As leaders of the business, how do you focus on what is the priority?

It can be challenging to pinpoint how to prioritise key objectives for the business. Peter and Hansa explain that:

  • Focus on prioritisation of product development and what’s going to be done and when.
  • Understand that onboarding can take more than just a couple of days.
  • Being flexible in terms of development is important.
  • Being definitive and disciplined in what’s going to have the greatest impact on your business.
“It’s all about noise vs clarity. You have to be the person to filter out the noise and pass it on to your team.”
Hansa Wijayasundara, Octopus BI

How do you retain current customers and obtain new customers?

Reflecting on the structure and the way you manage your business is a continuous process.

Hansa and Peter advise that:

  • It is important to look at the renewal periods from the customer’s perspective. This will allow you to understand when to target new customers or when you should be looking to upsell existing ones.
  • Looking at usage and when will be the most critical time for your product to be used.

Key takeaways

Peter and Hansa wrap up the seminar with these essential takeaways:

Hansa’s key takeaways:

  • When taking an EdTech product to the next level, you must ensure you have:
    – Scalability
    – Stability
    – Performance
    – Security

Peter’s key takeaways:

  • Focus on the core capability of your business, identify areas you can partner with other companies to simplify your development.
  • Ensure you understand how your product connects with the existing technology used in schools.


This program was developed in partnership with Amazon Web Services.

Speakers

Chris Barnes

Partner Development – Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Hansa Wijayasundara

Founder and CEO of OctopusBI, a data analytics platform delivering insights through data visualisations.

Peter Carpenter

Peter Carpenter is the APAC Director at Wonde, a data management specialist to over 22,000 schools across the globe. Peter also sits as a member of the board of advisors at Kimberlin Education.