Onboarding Slate provides an opportunity to reconsider the full range of student success and advising business operations. Slate is process-built, enabling individual institutions to customize it at every step. Approaching an implementation with a creative mind lets you move old processes beyond the limitations of previous technology tools, resulting in increased efficiencies.
Before you begin your implementation, we encourage you to review these principles:
1. Start with one
Build one process in Slate and let your team adjust before adding more.
In the first year of implementation, focus on understanding how Slate works, both publicly and behind the scenes. Build out a few core processes and avoid focusing on special cases until you have a solid grasp of the 99%. As your knowledge of Slate grows, you can build more nuanced projects and continue to customize as needed for more complex situations.
2. Start from scratch
Be willing to rethink how and why your processes happen, and let Slate do the work for you!
Instead of simply recreating an old system in Slate, think carefully about how your current processes would flow in an ideal world. Slate can support and foster many different, efficient business processes, so be creative—the possibilities are endless!
3. Assemble your team
The most important element of your Slate team should be an interest in and willingness to learn and reimagine how your systems could work.
You will likely need to assemble two types of teams to build out your Slate for Student Success database. While they might be one and the same for your institution, remember the different roles that need to be filled as you assemble your people.
The first team involves those who are empowered to make decisions about the timeline, the priority of projects in Slate, and any necessary changes to how your team handles those processes. This might include VPs, Deans, Directors, Associate Directors, or anyone else who has been given the authority to make these decisions.
These people do not necessarily need to learn how to build in Slate themselves, but they do need to be available to the members of the second team, especially during implementation.
Implementation and Maintenance Team
The second team should be made up of those who will not only use Slate themselves—so that they understand how it works from a public angle—but who are also willing to put in the time.
This team will learn how to build, troubleshoot, and reimagine how your database could work for you, as well as understand how your business processes currently work and how they should work for better results. It might be made up of the same people as the first—by title or by empowering this second team to make decisions—but it might also include anyone from IT staff to Academic Advisors, Administrative Assistants, and Communications Coordinators.
4. Use your tools
Use and learn from the Slate community!
Slate will streamline your processes and free up time for your staff to do the work that really matters, but it can be an integral part of your campus technology ecosystem as well, sharing data back and forth with your Student Information and Learning Management systems and others as needed.
The Slate support network is also a valuable tool in your belt as you work your way to Slate success:
- Client Success Team Community Conversations focused on implementation and strategy
- Student Success Community Conversations focused on considerations around starting out with Slate
- Learning Lab: Fundamentals of Slate online courses
Ongoing (during and after implementation):
- Learning Lab: Continuing Education online courses
- Knowledge Base articles, videos, and recorded webinars
- Slate Preferred Partners with their on-campus and remote dedicated services, including implementation, consulting, and support
- Community Forums that provide networking and troubleshooting with the wider Slate community
- Community Conversations where questions are discussed and answered by Technolutions staff, Preferred Partners, and users at multiple institutions
- Slate Showcase and the Slate Suitcase tool that enables you to copy data objects from the Technolutions Best Practice Showcase environment into your own database
5. Make it last
Use strategic planning before beginning a new project to minimize maintenance year over year.
The out-of-the-box capabilities in Slate immediately offer new and improved ways of doing business. With a bit of strategic planning and the use of recommended best practices, you can build as extensively as you needed while requiring minimal time investment to maintain, provided you consider future maintenance as you decide how to build.