An introduction to Advanced and future development plans
The education sector is operating within a particularly challenging time, with new expectations and requirements on providers. The chronic problem of funding continues to put pressure on everyone, particularly in the current economic environment, and is only adding to the difficulties many providers face in attracting and retaining good staff.
This was, therefore, an appropriate time for leaders and educators in the sector to come together to discuss brass tacks. Advanced hosted its first Education Pioneer Summit, inviting education professionals to come and share their ideas and experiences with us, talk about how they are navigating these troubled waters and learn more about what we, as a technology solution provider, can do to help.
A Consultative Approach
Arguably there is no sector more important than education. As teachers, we turn potential into reality. Our students will become the lifeblood of tomorrow’s economy and future leaders too. What happens in the day-to-day of learning provision is therefore crucial for the future success of each individual, for employers, and for the local and national economy.
Provider organisations have little choice but to roll with the punches right now, as do we at Advanced - a key provider to the sector. Our mission is to empower our customers, the educators, to be able to do more, and do it better, with less.
This means we have to ensure that our solutions respond to the needs of each individual organisation with its own challenges and pain points, as well as to the broader demands and themes that affect the whole sector. Advanced champions a consultative approach that gives customers a clear view of their own organisation, adding value before they even sign up for one of our products. Even if we are not right for a prospective customer at that time, ,we are confident they will take some useful insight and information from the consultation process. That time isn’t wasted for us either, as it allows us to gain deeper understanding of the sector and continue to shape our products accordingly.
But in most cases, we can offer the technology that education providers need, and our solutions start to deliver actionable data insights to help manage every aspect of the organisation and achieve better outcomes for learners. Then, we can grow and scale together, offering and adding new solutions as required.
Through a process of product development alongside acquisition of key software companies, Advanced now has a comprehensive suite of market-leading education technology products. These are designed to support every step of the learner journey, each with a different focus and specific value for different types of provider organisation. These are:
- ProSuite – a range of Further Education (FE) management solutions that cover every aspect of academic life.
- bksb – the leading developer of maths, English and digital functional skills learning resources and assessment.
- Smart Apprentices – a full suite of solutions for apprenticeship providers including Smart Assessor, and also Smart EPA, our first-to-market solution for end point assessment (EPA) organisations.
- PICS – the newest addition to our family, with the PICS LMS (Learning Management System), a market leading Individual Learner Record (ILR) tool.
As a business, the solutions we have drawn together now provide all of the pieces of the jigsaw. In the next stage of developing a better solution for our customers, we aim to increase integration between all of these products. This will make it easier for users to move between all of the Advanced products, and thus even easier to make truly data-driven decisions that help you manage every step of the learner journey and manage your organisations with greater efficiency.
Integration is crucial. We think of this like looking through a single pane of glass, which is our MyWorkplace platform, that will bring all of your business systems together. We are focused on ensuring this integration very soon as it incorporates all of the security and ease of use benefits with a single-sign-on for a seamless user experience. You can access data quickly, for example when needed for an Ofsted inspection, and also use it to support better decision making at every level. We know our products already make your working lives easier, and we want to give even more value, with a clear return on investment that can help your organisation achieve more.
Pioneering the Future
Our product developers are looking to the future to identify and utilise new technologies that will have the greatest impact on the way we work. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a hot topic at the moment and it is already embedded into many of our products and the processes they support. We will continue to invest and drive the benefits of this and other new technologies forward to help your organisation.
We have recently launched Smart Coach within Smart Assessor to help tutors use data to identify the risks to learner attrition earlier. This enables more impactful early interventions that can increase retention which is key for funding as well as individual success and organisational reputation.
Advanced solutions give our customers control. Each provider organisation has its own needs, as well as commonalities across the sector, and we are committed to listening to what you want from our products and providing the solutions that can make a real difference. For example, we heard you when you told us that learners are struggling with too many clicks and are frustrated and not engaged enough. Similarly, we understand that apprentices want to be out in the workplace, learning their future jobs, not having to think about learning how to use our products.
We are listening. We want to continue to get better at helping our education customers achieve more, and your feedback and comments are a vital part of that.
To view the Advanced Education Pioneer Summit on demand, please sign up here. There is more information and the roadmaps for specific Advanced Education products, as well as expert commentary and peer-group discussions. Topics include how the Microsoft Cloud is helping educators lead the AI era, and how to use data-driven decisions to Improve quality.