Mar 15 2021

Structured Choice: Whittling Down the Best Techs

When faced with the decision to purchase new technology, here’s how IT leaders can make the right choices for students, faculty and staff.

When it comes to selecting the right technology solutions for higher education, IT professionals have countless options — not to mention some tough decisions.

For high-stakes technology investments, decision-makers can take meaningful cues from the concept of structured choice. Structured choice is a response to a phenomenon that psychologist Barry Schwartz calls the “paradox of choice.” People want choices, but feel overwhelmed when there are too many.

Instead of considering endless technology options, decision-makers would only look into a handful of technologies selected for their institution’s user personas and majors.

Taking a structured-choice approach to technology purchasing allows universities to make better technology investments. Professors and instructors can select from a narrow but comprehensive roster of products, each one chosen for its ability to meet the greatest range of user needs and yield the best possible outcomes.

How to Make Informed Purchasing Decisions

From the standpoint of IT teams, the most important variables to take into consideration when investing in new technologies are often the institution’s current technology infrastructure, its current product investments and its budget. But the most critical considerations can vary greatly.

With a structured-choice approach to IT purchasing, institutions aren’t locked into a single product. Each university has its own roadmap of available, viable options to choose from, safe in the knowledge that whatever it chooses from the list will meet its needs and integrate with existing infrastructure.

Product integration and interoperability is, in fact, one of the most vital factors to take into consideration when purchasing new technology solutions. Working with educators, higher education IT teams can offer an agnostic view of everything that currently exists on the market, plus new technology that’s hitting the market, and how these could work together based on an institution’s goals.

MORE ON EDTECH: How can metered consumption help higher ed save money?

Services Help Educators Get More Value from New Technology

A service that often goes hand in hand with structured-choice decision-making is last-mile integration. Product experts can aid universities in the preconfiguration of technology solutions. With this integration, experts handle the delivery, unboxing and setup. New solutions are configured and ready to use when needed, without any hassle.

Some universities also request assistance with device lifecycle management. For example, if an institution deploys 10,000 Lenovo ThinkPads, the devices are not only delivered, installed and connected, they’re also managed over the three-year warranty period. If the device breaks during that time, it can be quickly replaced with a new device.

This combination of last-mile integration and in-warranty lifecycle management allows IT departments to make the most of the technology they purchase.

  This article is part of EdTech: Focus on Higher Education’s UniversITy blog series.



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