Meet KWALL’s Fernando: Navigating EDU Space Challenges and Crafting Effective Solutions
In today’s rapidly evolving technological world, the educational sector constantly faces new hurdles. From streamlining and modernizing learning experiences to creating engaging, interactive digital platforms, the challenges are multifaceted. Navigating these waters effectively requires deep industry knowledge and technical expertise. In this post Fernando, the VP of Solutions and strategy here at KWALL, who is at the forefront of understanding and addressing these pressing issues shares his insights on the challenges that KWALL’s clients face today in the EDU space and how KWALL is crafting solutions to these issues.
What challenges do KWALL’s clients face today in the EDU space, and how is KWALL effectively addressing these issues?
Like other institutions in the higher education space, many KWALL clients are facing several challenges. Some of the most notable ones include:
- Declining Enrollment: Many of our clients have had fewer students enroll in recent years. This is likely driven by shifts in student preferences (e.g., going to trade schools or technology bootcamps) and increased costs, among other reasons.
- Financial Pressures: Many of our clients are having to work with smaller budgets due to decreased state funding and rising operational costs.
- Technology Integration: Rapid technological changes have forced universities to continually update and adapt their infrastructure and teaching methods to meet the needs of today’s students. Online learning, virtual classrooms, and cybersecurity are all things that require ongoing investments.
KWALL is helping our clients address these issues by creating optimal designs that highlight what students are looking for in a higher education experience. We have created intuitive program finders based on the most popular student interest areas.
We have also helped schools like Occidental College (https://campaign.oxy.edu), Old Dominion University (https://give.odu.edu) and Yale University (https://forhumanity.yale.edu) launch fundraising campaigns on standalone sites to maximize donations and improve their ability to tell their story.
What differentiates KWALL from the other players in the space?
One size does not fit all at KWALL. We take the time to understand your unique needs, goals, and challenges. Our team of expert developers, designers, and strategists will build optimal solutions that align perfectly with your vision.
At the same time, KWALL has worked in the Higher Education space for many years, and we will utilize this large pool of experience to guide you and your team in the right direction. The odds are that we have solved a very similar problem before, and we will not reinvent the wheel unless it is needed.
Finally, KWALL knows how to solve particularly difficult technology challenges, especially when it comes to complex data migrations. If you are looking to transition to WordPress or Drupal from another CMS, then you will not find a better team to construct an effective migration strategy, regardless of what system you currently utilize.
Can you provide an example of a successful collaboration that resulted in enhanced client engagement and business growth?
Adding to one of our examples above, we would highlight our work on The Oxy Campaign For Good at https://campaign.oxy.edu.
Occidental College came to KWALL in 2018 with the goal of creating a brand new website for the campaign that was to launch in June 2019. Partially building off the successful relaunch of the main Oxy site (https://www.oxy.edu), we worked with the Oxy team to create a unique and compelling vision of the campaign that highlighted its priorities and benefits.
At the same time, the CMS experience we created allowed the Oxy team to efficiently present the campaign’s overall progress and tell new donor stories with a yearly Contributors Report.
After four years, the Oxy Campaign for Good has ended, and they exceeded their goal of $225 million by over $25 million. We consider this one of KWALL’s most successful collaborations with one of our most long-standing clients.
How do you foster a culture of innovation and continuous improvement within the technology team at KWALL?
At KWALL, we understand that innovation and continuous improvement are at the heart of staying competitive in the ever-evolving world of technology.
We believe that innovation can come from anyone, regardless of their role or level within the team. We encourage open communication and actively seek input from all team members. Everyone’s ideas are valued and considered.
We also feel that innovation can also happen at the intersection of different disciplines. We encourage collaboration between KWALL developers, designers, and project management to determine if there are things that we can improve. Regular cross-functional meetings and brainstorming sessions are part of our culture.
Receiving feedback is also a critical element of continuous improvement at KWALL. We have a culture of constructive feedback, where team members are encouraged to provide input on projects and processes.
From a technology standpoint, what direction do you envision KWALL moving toward in the next 3-5 years?
Although we assume that KWALL will continue to build sites utilizing open source solutions such as Drupal and WordPress, we recognize that web technologies are changing rapidly and that innovation is critical to remaining relevant.
Over the next 3 to 5 years, we anticipate several key technologies and trends shaping the web development landscape:
- AI and Machine Learning Integration: AI and machine learning can enhance user experiences through personalized content/search recommendations, chatbots, and data-driven insights. Tools such as ChatGPT can also be utilized to aid content creators, and we are looking to add such tools to our customized CMS configurations.
- Headless and Decoupled CMS: Headless content management systems (CMS) like Contentful, Strapi, or headless configurations of Drupal and WordPress are gaining traction. They separate the backend content management from the frontend presentation, allowing for more flexibility in delivering content across various platforms and devices.
- GraphQL: GraphQL is gaining momentum as an alternative to RESTful APIs. It allows clients to request only the data they need, reducing over-fetching and under-fetching of data, resulting in more efficient and performant web applications. There is a GraphQL Drupal module that we have begun to explore as an option for headless Drupal projects.
- Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR): As AR and VR technologies continue to evolve, web development will likely incorporate them to create immersive online experiences and applications.
- 5G Technology: The rollout of 5G networks will enable faster and more reliable internet connections, which can lead to the development of richer and more interactive web experiences.
Our commitment at KWALL is to stay at the vanguard of these emerging technologies so that we can continue to provide innovative and efficient web solutions for our clients. We believe that by embracing these trends, we can deliver even more impactful, feature-rich, and future-proof websites.