There is one word I’ve heard time and again over the last 10 years of my professional career working in Higher Ed and EdTech… “vendor.” ‘A person or company offering something for sale, a trader in the streets’ as defined in the dictionary. Interesting definition. This word is traditionally used between customers and providers to describe the transactional and monetary relationship between the two parties.
Well, I think we all know by now that words matter. This short, six-letter word has often created a very sterile and oftentimes hostile relationship between the two parties.
Now I know I’m about to say something controversial right now, however… I believe it’s warranted.
Software companies have been caught selling dreams during the sales process, only to deliver nightmares during implementation. And customers often want solutions customized perfectly for their operation, overlooking the opportunity to re-think and re-imagine their operation, their way of doing, way of thinking.
Here comes the rub: software needs to be built sustainably to scale to all types of operations. If not, it will fail. And customers, users–they aren’t all built the same. Software needs to be configurable. It needs to grow with the organization. It needs to change as the organization changes. It needs to adapt. This may sound obvious to those who work within the software industry, however silicon valley is riddled with the ashes of companies who failed to recognize these core facts about their business and their market.
Personally, I’ve always been attracted to organizations that challenge the status quo and create a culture of partnership. We at RahRah have thought differently since our inception. Acknowledging that alone, we cannot build a first-of-its-kind Student Life System. To do what we’ve set out to, to build a user-first application laser-focused on making life simple, an application that adds value no matter how small, and one that scales to every type and size of higher education institution, we knew we needed to partner.
We don’t see ourselves as another software vendor, but as an extension of our customer’s operation, an extension of their team. A partner dedicated toward their mission, their purpose, and their initiatives. This is inherent to who we are as a company and what drives us every day. We believe this is how you create applications people aren’t forced to use, but instead, look forward to using. This is why before we committed a single line of code, we set out to build an intentional, collaborative, and user-driven Design Partner Program. This allows us to work hand-in-hand with student affairs professionals, their students, and other campus stakeholders to accomplish the ambitious agenda we’ve laid out.
In the end, we’re not an engagement platform. We’ve set out to redefine ‘engagement.’ Engagement occurs in many different forms, micro-interactions, and in ways currently not captured by most applications. It occurs when your Academic Advisor helps you navigate the process to change your major, when you confide in and find support from your Resident Assistant, when you discover your professional passion with a Career Advisor, and when Alumni Relations helps you create a regional alumni group for that new city you just moved to.
With the help of our partner universities and their students, we know we’ll be able to increase engagement through an innovative, smart, simple but beautiful application people look forward to using.
Our first cohort of forward-thinking universities is already helping to shape our system as we reimagine student life. If partnering with RahRah is something you’re interested in learning more about, we’d love to hear from you.