As the Director for Educational Technology and the former Graduate Program (MBA) Director for the College of Business (MBA and MSTM programs) at Stony Brook University and former President of Trac Line Software, (an international software company that I founded in 1980) I have been fortunate to develop the experience integrating a variety of systems with different business processes. This has allowed me to purse my interest, incorporating technological innovation seamlessly into business processes. Irrespective of the nature of the business enterprise (for profit, not for profit, state agencies, etc.) there are a series of activities being performed in the delivery of a product or service. These activities or processes can be enhanced, optimized, minimized and so on using technology. Understanding how the technology can be embedded into the flow leads to integrating the innovation and achieving the various benefits.
For example, one of the new hot topics in education and business is Distance Learning. In the education field the need is to continue to deliver quality education at an affordable price. In the business “world” the objective is to reduce cost while maintaining quality or even improving it.
A typical problem is that even though business professional and academics know these innovations are the wave of the future many are apprehensive to embrace the technology fearing that the conversions may be too complicated or the impact on the existing organization may be extremely disruptive. Added to the concern, few individuals may actually have had previous experience planning a transition or developing an implementation plan. This lack of prior experience may be the most important attribute preventing an organization from moving forward. Just as our predecessors might have hesitated to employ the first telephone systems or fax machines in time they became ubiquitous within the business environment. Consider, it was less then 20 years ago that the Internet of today was widely viewed by organizations as an unknown entity. Look at how it has become part of almost every aspect of business and communications. The insight to see the benefits of innovations is often obscured by the complexity of the initial technology. Demystification of the technology and the potential benefits of the innovation are some of the programs we offer.
My specific efforts during the past five years have been to experiment with the design, development and implementation of various hybrid MBA and MSTM courses here at Stony Brook and in Korea. That has led me to develop a series of frameworks that have aided in converting existing courses, introducing new ones, developing the appropriate supporting content and preparing phased-in implementation plans. Through testing and retesting these procedures or frameworks have led to efficient process methodologies that can be followed by businesses and organizations interested in implementing similar virtual environments.
If you are considering hosting synchronous (real-time) online classes and meetings, developing content to be used asynchronously (offline) by the user or converting traditional materials into digital forms then we have also developed a series of steps (framework) that can help to develop an implementation as well as select the software tools.