Resolution is defined as a course of action. Since our company's inception, we've strived to grow and improve ourselves and our product every day, every week and every year. It seems that we, as a country, focus on resolutions on an annual basis and we tend to start on January 1st of each year. A few of us in the office have made resolutions to lose weight, to spend more time with loved ones, or to spend more time in restful meditation. As a company, we wanted to come up with a few resolutions to share with our extended Sycamore family:
Resolution #1: Kiosk Functionality
One of the most requested features of 2012 was about kiosks. Kiosks are single page screens that have one purpose only. For instance, when you go to self-checkout lane at your local grocery store, they have a kiosk there to help you check out all of your items. Within Sycamore, there are a few areas you'll see kiosk functionality applied to:
Childcare Manager: Checking in and checking out students will be even easier in 2013. Place a computer at the front of your building and have parents put in the information to check their student in and, at the end of the day, the parent can sign back in to check out their student. How easy is that?!
Cafeteria Manager: We currently utilize a great point-of-sale screen to help our lunch crew get students through the lunch line quickly. In 2013, we'll go one step further and create a kiosk for this process. As a result, we'll see students chowing down on their meals in record time!
Timecard Manager: Did you know that Sycamore has the capability to track employee hours? You'll see a kiosk added to our already existing feature so that employees always remember to clock in and clock out as the enter and leave the building.
Resolution #2: Mobile Development
One of the greatest advantages of offering a 100% web-based system is that entering the 'mobile marketplace' was not nearly as much of a stretch for us as it was our fellow SIS peers. We didn't charge for our first app, and we won't charge for our second app either. We don't think you should have to pay to have access to your childs' grades from your phone when you can do it from a computer for free--it's just a gimmick employed by some companies to make additional revenue. Sycamore Education's second venture into mobile applications will involve more functionality for parents and teachers. Included in the added functionality will be the capability to enter in student grades from a phone or tablet. We've heard lots of stories about teachers grading papers in the car on holiday roadtrips over the years and we're happy to say that we now have a solution for entering those grades while on the road (unless you're driving).
Resolution #3: Continued Support
Sycamore is renowned in the business for our outstanding support team. They should be because they averaged a 19.5 minute response time for 2012! In 2013, our goal is to beat that and continue to provide extra helpful areas to learn more about Sycamore Education:
1) Support Tickets-These are the 'staple' help item of our system and will always continue to be around for many years to come. Many student information systems offer features like our tickets, but many lack the experience, personal skills, and efficiency that our team has to offer. Our team is truly one of the most unique aspects of our company as proven by our outstanding customer retention rate.
2) Teacher Chat-Teacher Chat was introduced in July 2012 and continues to be a main line of support for our teachers. Simply click on the 'Chat' button from a classroom homescreen and be instantly connected with our Teacher Chat Support Team. There are only a few classroom management systems that offer this capability and we are very proud to be part of that group.
3) Online Manuals-We understand that sometimes people are just DYI'ers (do-it-yourselfers) and they want to read all available resources before asking for help. You'll see Sycamore go to a more 'search-based' help system in 2013, making it even easier to find your answer.
4) Online Videos-Shortend help videos were introduced a couple years ago as an alternative to our longer training videos. We are always working to improve these and additional videos will be coming in 2013 to provide a visual and auditory helpline for those looking for answers.
5) Webinars-Implemented in August 2012, we offer free webinars every month on a variety of topics. At least once a month, we offer an overview for Administration and an overview for teachers. Think of them as 'Sycamore Education 101'. In August, we'll offer these free webinars almost every day to ensure that the 2013-2014 school year gets off on the right foot.
As always, we'll be adding more resolutions as we go on throughout the year, but these are some that we think our users will be most excited about, particularly the mobile development aspect.