Why Composability Is Significant for K-12 Education CIOs

May 24, 2022

Contributor: Robert Snow

Leverage it to approach challenges of the recent past, align investments and prepare for unpredictable situations.

In short:

  • Many external forces have pushed K-12 organizations to reinvent how faculty, staff and students deliver and receive instruction — and composability can help. 
  • Education CIOs will improve business composability by increasing accountability across IT and ecosystem partners, creating digitally supported feedback loops, and optimizing communications and team ownership. 
  • Gartner suggests building autonomous, self-organizing teams with aligned goals and objectives.

K-12 education CIOs are facing a barrage of new challenges. Not only are you dealing with pressures of the recent past, but you are also figuring out how to navigate the future.

“The ability for K-12 education to pivot quickly and adapt in an agile manner has become a key indicator of those who thrive in this ‘new normal’ future,” says Kelly Calhoun Williams, VP Analyst at Gartner. 

There are several external forces in play, including the still-uncertain COVID-19 pandemic; fluctuating global economies; critical teacher, staff and IT shortages; among others. These factors have forced K-12 education CIOs to revert and reinvent how faculty, staff and students deliver and receive instruction respectively — whether virtually, in person or in combination.

In the face of disruption, some organizations are taking an approach we define as “business composability,”  which you can use as a means to strengthen your ability to thrive amid uncertainty and achieve improved results.

Business composability is designed to enable organizations to be more agile and offer improved value in the face of disruption. Applying modularity to an organization’s assets allows education CIOs to easily and safely create new value in times of flux.

Download now: Assess Your Issues and Challenges Regarding Business Composability

The three key principles of composability

Composability enables organizations to rise to immediate challenges, improve overall business performance, reduce risk and lower operating costs. At the same time, it helps accelerate the implementation of digital solutions and continues transformation by revamping governance, technology and services.

Composability goes beyond just being digital. It enables organizations to break down silos by adopting three key principles:

  1. Composable thinking emphasizes the continuous exploration and creation of game-changing business capabilities through the assembly and reassembly of components to meet the evolving needs of constituents.
  2. Composable business architecture includes dynamically evolving teams, processes, capabilities, products and services to create new value.
  3. Composable technologies comprise technology assets and capabilities consisting of modular components where assembly and reassembly are automated.

Why K-12 organizations should consider composability

The addition of more virtual schools, the global shortage of teachers and the migration of populations from more remote locales are all examples of key drivers that create opportunities to recompose the traditional business architecture of K-12.

Very few K-12 organizations have the resources to make the investments needed to fully follow the three principles of composability. That said, investing in composable technologies has long-term benefits that help improve innovation. 

Factors that impact the attainment of composability in the education industry

Distributing accountability beyond traditional IT for K-12 organizations is a challenge. This stems from a long-standing practice of centralizing IT, but not distributing the ownership of initiatives to the departments and divisions that should own them. Therefore, IT is often left with the responsibility for initiatives over which they actually do not have full control or the requisite expertise in.

For K-12 organizations to become more composable, technology needs to enable truly scalable, mass-customizable services based on complex data input, and the orgs themselves must be capable of bypassing organizational inertia. There is a strong need for rapid and continuous formative assessments, analytics insights or use of adaptive learning technologies. These are the types of investments that improve mission-critical outcomes and ultimately save time and money.

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