Alex Train 0:02
Okay, so good morning everyone and from lockdown Sydney if you're in Sydney or Melbourne if you're in Melbourne for anyone in the other states than half your luck, but welcome to our webinar this morning from Pendula and Cloudwerx. I'm your host Alex Train. I'm the COO and CRO of Pendula. And I'd like to welcome you to this morning's webinar, transform your digital strategy to increase student admissions and retention. We're here today to shine some light on a wonderful success story that we've had, and the experiencer education guests and how they've focused on students and driving positive outcomes from them and for their organisations. Before we get started, just a small piece of housekeeping. We will be having a q&a panel later in the webinar. And you can actually ask questions using the q&a button at the bottom of the window. So please feel free to submit those as we go through the webinar. And we'll be sure to try to get to those at the very end at the end of the webinar. Okay, let's get into it. So today's webinar is brought to you by pendula and cloudbooks. And just a little bit of an overview pendular is a student engagement platform. And it allows you to create two way conversations with your students. It is our mission to give the power you the power to make it easy to engage with students throughout their lifecycle from enrollment right through to graduation. As you can see on the screen, we've got an animated representation of pendula, what it does is it actually provides educators with a drag and drop interface to configure and control how you'd like conversations with your students to behave and is built specifically so that no developers are needed to get your ideas automated and out there into the market and in action. So before we go any further, I thought I'd talk a little bit about why engagement with students is so important. So working through through the industry for the last few years, we've actually arrived at a bit of insight of what we've learned through working with various different institutions. So number one, your students do want to talk to you. Through using things like conversational SMS, we've actually found that around, over 30% of students will actually respond to digital conversations. And they'll they'll voluntarily provide unprompted feedback. And we've learned that whilst you know, we know they live on their phones, they also see being cold sometimes can be intrusive. So reaching out to them via channels like SMS is actually a really effective way to give them a voice and to listen to their feedback. The point number two is that what they have to say is can be really valuable. You can enrich the data that you have about your students, and you can take advantage of the untapped opportunities that arise from them directly engaging with you and your organisation. Number three, if you make it easy for them, then you can get results. So students being able to actually respond to you and interact can actually translate into positive action, such as converting enrollments and keeping your students on track to graduate. The ability to embrace experience is a key differentiator and engaging with students on a channel where they already are will allow you to stand out and be a student experience oriented or institution. So between Pendula Cloudwerx and MCI we've come together here today to arrive at some of these insights gained by operating where education and technology meet. We've invited our guests and we're here to discuss some of these topics for a bit of a fireside chat on this this cold winter's morning. So it is my pleasure to introduce formally our guests this morning. And first, we have MCI Solutions. MCI are a multi award winning training and education provider. They offer learning and qualification solutions to corporates government, and individuals across Australia. And joining us from MCI we're pleased to have CEO Jenna Baskin. Welcome, Jenna. lovely to see you.
Jenna Baskin 3:54
Always lovely to see you, Alex.
Alex Train 3:56
Thank you. Also joining us we have our friends at Cloudwerx. And Cloudwerx are a technical services consulting company, and they have a special focus on the education sector. Cloudwerx assist institutions and selecting and implementing a variety of technologies such as pendula and they help organisations manage their businesses using that tech. Please meet CEO Toby Wilcock. Great to see you!
Toby Wilcock 4:20
Good to see you too, champ! Thanks for having me.
Alex Train 4:23
Wish we could have done it in person to both of you. You know, ordinarily we do webinars in our office and would have been great to be sat on a couch with you, but the technology allows us to do it anyway. So welcome both, and thanks for joining. So knowing that lots of the attendees here today, you know that you're working through all different types of problems within your businesses, different challenges. I thought I'd actually start off by focusing on on that most important thing, which is some of the problems that you were looking to solve when you started on your digital initiatives. So, Jenna, would you like to start us off by taking us through what exactly You are trying to solve.
Jenna Baskin 5:01
Yeah, definitely. So welcome everyone definitely also sitting here in lockdown in Sydney and loving it as much as I can. So from the MCI perspective, we actually have three brands in the market. And I think that's quite important just to differentiate because I know there's people from education in general on this webinar, but you know, sometimes looking at different types of clients. So we have a business that looks after our b2b and btg client that has their own challenges. And they mainly do non accredited training, we have our MCI Institute, which looks after individual students that are usually paying out of their own pocket to studying certificate threes to be good for or a diploma online, which for anyone that's done online study, irrespective of your background is a big challenge. And then our third brand is MPI achieve, where we partner with government and job services providers to offer certificate three programmes to job seekers trying to get into the workplace. And so for us, that was the greatest challenge that we needed to tackle pretty head on pretty quickly. And it wasn't because of the types of students and I know people have some, some stereotypes perhaps of somebody looking for a job and trying to better their lives. And I can assure you, I can shatter most of those stereotypes. But for us, it was the pure mass of people. And students, that was our biggest challenge. And that's not to say that automation and digitization and interactive conversations doesn't need to take place with corporates and governments and individuals. But our students that were being referred to us from job services providers were our biggest challenge at the time. In terms of scale, you're talking, we were onboarding 50. And we are currently onboarding about 50 students a day. So it's a lot and they have to study with us for six months. And they have very strict criteria of what they need to achieve in terms of hours and number of questions answered. And so even if I had all the money in the world, and all the people in the world, which for anyone that recruits in Australia knows that's quite difficult, especially at the moment, there is no way that in real time, we could give these students the data that they needed, and our customer who referred them to us the data that they needed to keep up to date with all the KPIs. As well as that, as we all know, it's very challenging when you take students from regional rural parts of Australia or even some of the major cities to try and encourage people not to procrastinate and to get online and to do that online studies, is quite difficult, and there needs to be that constant communication. So for us, that was really the biggest challenge of making sure that we met our KPIs, help them meet their requirements, and all in all got people to finish their course and hopefully get a job at the end.
Alex Train 7:47
Very good. Yeah. So I mean, dealing with lots and lots of students and all at different stages of their interaction with you. Trying to, you know, make it feel natural that engage with you guys, and ultimately, to get them to get right through that funnel is. That's very challenging. I can, I can totally imagine. Toby, I was, I was having a little bit of think about some of those types of problems. And I know that you come across a lot of similar themes in the problem that you come across, as you you know, as you work with and consult with educators. What kinds of problems are you coming across? When you when you work with these people?
Toby Wilcock 8:25
Yeah, it's, um, I look in, you know, Cloudwerx actually came from the education space, right, the founders know, this space, like, you know, it depth and, and really what we wanted to do, and what we're seeing is that we wanted to kind of really cut to the chase, what's keeping folks up at night? What What can how do we, how do we approach this sector as well with the tech can do it? But how do we go about doing that? And, and really honing in on the things that matters? Like how, like, how do I reduce these costs and be more productive, productive and enhance growth? How do I, you know, you innovate with the team that I've got empowering them and so forth. And then all of this sort of comes to, you know, to communicating to the student, the member, I mean, we're seeing across all industries, how do you, you know, bring it to their channel and with the changing state of, you know, digital admin. So, yeah, we're obviously seeing a lot of hard problems out there. But at the end of the day, we were kind of cutting back to the, to the real crux of the problem and trying to get to the heart of some of these processes in issues right up front. Early on, and I think that's kind of key is to not like it's it can be a bit all consuming. But really, if you if you kind of hone in on start small, but thinking big, then you keep chipping away, that's that's when you're going to get some results and also sort of having some guiding principles up front, too. About a pragmatic approach to what what you've got on your plate, what's coming? And how do we how do we chip away at that? That was, you know, that's that's a lot of sort of where we've come from and how we've adapted, knowing that, you know, the industry side of things, but then the consulting side of it, and implementation and adoption of all these toolings as well.
Alex Train 10:25
I mean, having having origins in in the education industry, yourselves, and places you really well to identify some of these big, big questions that people are working through and problems are trying to solve.
Toby Wilcock 10:36
That's right. And look, at the end of the day, the organisation they know, their process, they know the industry, like more than anybody, right? Let's be honest, you know, day to day, yeah. But that the the empathy that we can, that we focus on having done that, but also kind of bridging that. How do we how do we get to that point? That's great. We've got all this totally ignored all the stuff that we need to do and all these constraints, but what is the path? It's going to take us there? And I guess, we'll talk a bit more about that in this webinar, as well. Yeah.
Alex Train 11:05
How to execute. Great, great point. And I mean, holding these these problems in mind and you know, dealing with scaling and, you know, tools and tasks and all that sort of stuff. There's there's plenty there to wrestle with. It seems like you determine that in order to address them, you you obviously need to focus on systems and bring some of that automation and so on in the organisation. Maybe back to you, Jenna. Jenna, tell me how to bring in tech into the mix stuff to help solve these problems? Yeah, definitely.
Jenna Baskin 11:38
I think first of all, the math doesn't add up. So you know, adding more bodies and people to the problem that isn't always the solution. And that's not to say we have an army of people that are still ready and able to help people that don't want to engage fully on text all the time, because that's not the mode and method for everyone. But really, for us, it was how do we get into the hands of our customers as fast as possible, and hear from them as fast as possible. So not everyone studies nine to five, not everyone is studying, when you have a team on board, not everyone is signing up to your course not everyone is trying to troubleshoot and problem solve or re energise and ignite their passion for learning when you have a team on board at nine to five. So that was one thing that we saw straightaway, just by looking at the data and the statistics on our websites and on our different platforms. Most of our students were studying at night and on weekends. And as much as we could resource for that it wasn't enough. The other thing that we that we really noticed, and I'll probably give the cherry on the top of it too early in my presentation. But we set pretty strict KPIs internally for our teams and our customers have set those for us as well. The quicker we know the quicker we can get somebody to log in to their course and onto their platform, the quicker they're going to progress and the more likely they are to finish. And so to get people to sit there calling and trying to engage somebody to log into their course. Maybe they're working, maybe they're looking after kids or grandkids maybe they're out and about you miss them. It's a random 02 or 03 or 07 number. How many of those do we get that we never answer. And so just everything got pushed out. And so for us, we went by just giving the data and information to people in real time in their hands in their world, we were able to go from 54% of people logging on within the first seven days, which was our KPI up to 89%. So that was a huge jump, the bigger jump for us. And the KPI that we had said was making sure that people are proactively doing their course regularly. So as soon as we saw that people were taking 2, 3, 4 weeks between logging on and during the course. It's like any one of you in your roles or with kids. It's a snowball effect. Once you start procrastinating, it just becomes too big, you walk away, it's everyone else's sort of fault. And then your your mentors or your tutors are left to pick up the damage. And so for us, we knew we could consistently remind people, and it's not just stick language all the time, it's carrot language as well. But consistently get them to log in and do a few hours a day or a few hours a week, we knew that we have a higher likelihood of completing. And so for us, which is probably the biggest selling point of why we were stuck in pendula and going deeper into other other brands is our competitors. Were getting 25% of people logging on regularly each month, each week, sorry, and we're getting 82%. So it's a massive, massive gap. And our customers are obviously very happy with our progression rates. And people, the satisfaction rates as well have gone through the roof. And for us really when we look at that challenge of throwing technology and systems into the mix. We have a lot of competitors out there. I'm sure many of them are sitting on this webinar at the moment and really when When you put yourself truly in the shoes of a student, not just pretend, but truly put yourself in the shoes of students, you have your different personas, we have our working students, we have our single mothers trying to attend to the workforce. We have our unemployed students, we have those that somebody at work told them, they have to do this course. And everyone's got their own different mission and motives being there. And for us, it was how do we get the knowledge and know how into their hands when they need it? Not when we're available, not when somebody in our call centre can answer their question and not to their satisfaction or to their satisfaction, not the Baptist sit on a wait in line while they're trying to do their emails. It's how do we get it into their hands. And as I said, not everyone wants that. But you're talking irrespective of generational differences, you're talking well over 90% of our students are using text message rather than calling. And many may start text messaging, and then go to call if it's a bit more complicated, but we know and we can see in the data that a lot of our students are engaging purely with reminders and real time data. So for that, for us was a huge consideration. And really, when whenever we piloted it was all tied back to your KPIs. What is in the best interest of the students? What do we need to do? What do we need to achieve? And then how do we replicate that in other parts of that brands is sort of the journey that we're going on at the moment.
Alex Train 16:22
I mean, first of all, an amazing uptick in conversion rate, and getting those students to move through. That's pretty remarkable. But I think something you said that stood out to me, it's having a really clear plan, and how you're trying to do that, having your goals and then establishing exactly the process through which technology is an enabler. It's not all about the tech itself. And although we as a tech company often like things, so it's absolutely about bringing the parts together. So I mean, congrats on such great results. I'm glad your customers are really happy, I'm sure they'll continue to be having a little bit of a think, sort of beyond that a little, I guess, Toby with with the way that you consult with educators, what are you using, with regards to what is effective when bringing tech into the conversation?
Toby Wilcock 17:12
Yeah, excuse me, I think 100% there's so many cool things that we can get out of out of the technology, once it's set up, and you've got, you know, the platforms in place, but to take it a couple of steps back. To your point, Janet, you need to have that kind of strategy upfront and view of like, Okay, what are the guiding principles here? Right? What are the things that we really, really need to focus on all the way along this path? and define them upfront, right, so that every time you're kind of making decisions along the path that you kind of go back going, does that support the overarching, you know, direction, strategy, whatever that took to getting that defined up front is critical, and doing doing a bit of planning, and then you know, the the work up front to, to, before you kick off. But not thinking, Okay, we're going to smash this all out in one go. Definitely, it's about starting small and getting getting started. You know, just same with me going to the gym sort of stuff, just just get out there. Right, getting out there is the first step, you know, so, so we, across the years, you know, we've seen all sorts of different ways of cutting to the, to the chase and doing some of this planning. But But for us, what's really effective really quick, across any process is the service blueprint design that we are I bang on about quite a bit, actually, it's really effective for a whole bunch of reasons. One, it's cutting for us cutting to the chase, where is the real problem here, because there's a whole bunch of stuff that needs to happen. While you know, the you know, the world still takes a long way wanting wanting to sort of uplift some of the things you want to do with technology. But how do we quickly get to the crux of the problem map out exactly what we you know what the process is, and then, you know, nine times out of 10, Salesforce will, will be the, you know, the solution in part of this and the technologies. But there's other things in there that could actually move them move the needle, as well that we see that we can go Okay, hang on a minute, some training over here might be what you need to do first and foremost. So yeah, blueprinting is really strong, we do it at the beginning, beginning of any sort of pre sales or any process and that sort of stuff. And then because it's not just the journey of that student, and so forth, it's all the stuff that's going on behind the scenes, right, and the sort of surface decor, all the active all the folks who are interacting with the systems and how many touch points they're picking from one interaction from the student to the other. So this this approach is something that we've we've adopted been around for a while but it's it's something that we found is very effective, but both the the as is state and then moving to that to be state and then you see all these opportunities for automation and efficiency and so forth. The the knock Perfect for this one, too was that we were using this as a process of implementing and consulting. But the the empathy that we can, that we can, you know, extract and see the users that are dealing with the students and all that sort of stuff gives us way more insight to be able to, you know, provide the right solutions at the right time. So yeah, thank you very much for the next slide. That, that empathy is, is super important, right? Because if the person is suffering in this process, right, the whole customer experience goes out the door. And, and that's, and that's, again, where people process tech, you know, is where our focus is. But then also, how does this work? We're looking at this process, how does that affect other upstream and downstream departments, right, and the knock on effect that has, so this gives that really good, you know, great team alignment, team alignment, even from the, you know, the executives, being able to see what's going on at that process level rapidly and Colgate rule was, that is actually how we, we do things. And team alignment, because one person does a process one way, but I'm telling you that we three others that do it differently, doing the same thing. So bringing that together, again, with this, we see actionable insights, you know, quick tactical stuff, and then bigger kind of strategic, you know, plays that we can kind of go, alright, that's something we need to tackle. So it's sort of we, you know, see that, obviously, in the education space, but across a lot of industries, you show me a process, I'll show you a little bit of blueprinting, a config set.
Alex Train 21:40
Yeah, it's annoying too salesy. That's all good. I think thinking back to, you know, where Jenna was talking about her problems, and like drawing people at the problem doesn't always solve it. It is that combination of people process and systems and that service blueprinting. It's a Yeah, I mean, there's pretty colours and post it notes, and all that kind of fun stuff in the process, but it's actually very practical. It's really hands on, you're bringing all the stakeholders around the business. And I've seen, I've seen some from some great photographs and stuff that your your teams do.
Toby Wilcock 22:14
it's not like we, you know, seen a bunch of stuff over the years and trying to kind of not consult like our parents did, my parents did consult. But, you know, taking those little bits and pieces of work, and actually, we work, what artefacts are we creating what sort of, you know documentation to that you want to kind of keep along the way that actually adds value, as opposed to, you know, a PowerPoint.
Alex Train 22:38
And, you know, people people on this call, they'll be coming to these problems at all levels of maturity, you know, some will be very early in trying to understand where they're at, and, you know, may or may not have a lot of processes around how they are looking to resolve it. So having a great framework to figure that out is that's needed big time. Right. Okay, so just moving on a little. And thanks both for talking through some of some of the problems both that you've faced personally, as well as things that you've helped others solve, and the ways in which you've addressed them as well. Absolutely. Now, we know tackling these initiatives is difficult, and good outcomes come with useful lessons, of course, to help out some of our webinar attendees, what are some of the really key lessons that you've learned both learned along the way? We might start with equity in general.
Jenna Baskin 23:29
Yeah, sure. I mean, I've got some funny lessons that I've learned. But let's start bigger. And we'll go to the funny after that. So I guess for us a few of the lessons that we learned is dive into. You can sit there planning for a long time and paralysis affects every business affects every person affects every part of your business. Once you've made the decision to go headfirst just dive in, even if you start small, and for us, we really did start small, the first thing that we did was make sure that we can get login details to people, which sounds so silly, but we sent login details by SMS, rather than email, the number of spam filters that weren't picking it up, it was going to people's junk mail, people were like, I'll get through it and you know, you open an email and it goes deep into your inbox and you'll never see it again. But when it's an SMS, it's quite easy. I can search password and there it was, and in huge changes. So we just we started small, we didn't mess things up, probably not to the extent that he was talking about and again, in hindsight, maybe, you know, all the lessons that I have learned we would have spent a little bit longer mapping things out and not just trialling and failing and testing and keeping on moving. But I guess really what I what I say to my team is, what else can we be doing? challenge and question everything. So looking at the student journey, right from the beginning, all the way till they graduate, and hopefully come back to potentially study with us again, which is a huge motive. And one of the pilots that we're looking at at the moment is you know, they enquire with you whether you're a crime Cost provider coming through an agent or whether you're a domestic student or a corporate client, if they're inquiring with you, unless they came with a really fantastic recommendation, the problem inquiring the four or five others of your competitors. And so looking at that, okay, how can we do that better? How can we be better than our competitors, and not in terms of, I want to beat them. But I want to help the student faster with more relevant information, ease of process, make them feel comfortable. Signing up to education is a very difficult decision for many, many people. Whether it's forced upon you or not, isn't quite a challenge, and many people haven't studied in school. And so looking at that and breaking it down, and it's not just your senior executives that know the answers. It was astounding when we went to talk to our call centre, when we went to talk to our sales team, our administrators, what are your pain points? What do you think? just spill it all out on the table? You start hearing stories of up? Did you know that we're actually receiving 16 to 17 calls a day just on this one problem? Okay, well, if we, how many people aren't calling us with that problem is the first question. And then if we can make that more of a conversation and get it in their hands at four in the morning, or 12 o'clock at night, when we're not there, how many more people can we help. So really, for us, it's breaking down those problems, and trying to find solutions that are more accessible to people in real time. I guess for us in terms of the future ahead, and all the lessons that we've learned, and probably two of the funniest ones that come to mind is, first of all, pendula is a very easy platform, even I can use it and people laugh in my team, when I tell them, I'll just send a pendulum lesson. And they're like, just let somebody who's got more practice, do it. But I do do it. But the first thing, it wasn't a mistake I made but somebody else in my team, and we still laugh about 2pm not am 11pm, not 11am for the message to go out. And we had some angry students who didn't wake them up and engage them in their course. But it was a lesson that we learned one thing we had to send an apology, the other one, which I thought was just quite funny, because we have to send for a certain cohort of students how many hours they studied in a week, and how many more hours they have to go. And somebody changed the calculation and Salesforce, and so it went out with, let's say, Toby had seven hours to go. For whatever reason it was calculating 7.11752, it had 12 decimal points. And so these estimates were going out. And people were like, Oh, that's fantastic. And suddenly they woke up. So always check that in terms of your, your pilots and testing. But really, in terms of the future ahead for us, once we've got the automation, once we've got the connection in the platform, you know, it was a one off setup for us. And I'm sure everyone's a little bit different in how they engage with cloud work for pendulo, Salesforce, whatever it is, with a one off setup, setup for us. And now we manage it internally. And it's all about piloting. So we've got a small group of people internally that know really how to use pen to learn, obviously, the help and support is always amazing when we do get stuck. But they're just saying, okay, here's a small cohort of students with this challenge. How do we fix it? How do we put more of a carrot in place for them to get moving? How do we get progression? How do we get them to come back if they've graduated? All of these things for us are really, how do we just keep that momentum going? How do we how do we keep the satisfaction and the happiness, but also the challenge, we don't want students to walk out feeling that was an easy course. But we don't want the experience to be the thing that they remember, a painful, we want the challenge of learning to be something that's stretched them not, I couldn't get hold of anyone. This was terrible. This experience was horrible. It reminded me of school, my teacher used to yell at me all the time, and I'm never doing education again. So I think those are a couple of things from us.
Alex Train 28:55
I mean you, you always remember how somebody or some organisation you interact with how it makes you feel, right. So really, there's kind of proof positive there that the, that kind of a channel, like SMS, like it gets to them. So you need a little bit of rigour around, you know, how you, you know, who's controlling stuff and sending it out and a little bit, there's some lessons there for, for example, how you do the blueprinting and figure out how you introduce a bit of governance around these kinds of tools. So, a couple great lessons, it's always fun to get a reminder to 11pm that you're you haven't logged in. So I'm sure you've got some choice words back that
Jenna Baskin 29:36
...allows us to block those choice words!
Alex Train 29:40
Funny lessons and some good practical ones too. And Toby yourself, what kinds of lessons have you guys been seeing and learning along the way? Well,
Toby Wilcock 29:49
yeah, I mean, you know, back when we kicked off, and I think to your point is like trying to get it to where it's, you know, these are students and so forth, but they don't feel like they're back at school. All right and it's and they're working with technology that it helps it's you know, frictionless and all that sort of stuff and that's, that's really important and that sort of some of the challenges early on haven't changed really, you know, that sort of their expectations and reaching them at their channel and all of that sort of stuff, it's still there. And it's even and really those challenges are just intensified because of the pandemic and all sorts of stuff and just general youth expectations right? In keeping up with that but you know, for us I think we're you know, where we focus on is going you know, data is a super important thing, you know, and getting the platform stitched together with key systems that you just can't you know, you can't get away from like student management systems and learning management systems right. And being pragmatic about where you know, we're going to live with that can't get it all into Salesforce, we'd love to but you know, that maybe that's coming down the track but getting getting those systems stitched together get the data so there you have that that information for actionable insights along the way and, and really seeing the value of the whole lifecycle of the student right through to the alumni which back at the college, we're all kicked off that circle of life was incredible. And it was really powerful. And, and that comes with having all that information in in sort of that platform approach and layer of engagement. So you know, that that's kind of still a real driver for us is that single view of the student, the you know, the platform, keeping it agile, keeping it pragmatic to what you can achieve, you know, but like you said, Janet, just get on with it, get started, get get moving, really, you know, the people again, and who's going to be owning certain things along the way. As far as that that platform, we want folks to be fully self, you know, independent, when we set them up, got them on the way you only coming back to us if there's a you know, another piece of major piece of work or, or a little bit of helping hand here and there. establishing those folks within the business. And also the knock on effect of that of having great technology and stuff that's actually good fun to use is that you attract awesome talent and retain awesome talent in the organisation. And they go on to do all sorts of amazing things to that we've seen across the organisations we've worked with, and even folks back into the beginning of the college and where they've gone to, so that the future's just bright, actually, in some ways, the pandemic has forced the hand of a lot of stuff that we've been sort of saying, Hey, will you be able to do this for some time now let's let's just crack on. But I think the, you know, the, the key challenges remain the same. about retention, and attraction, all that sort of stuff.
Alex Train 32:52
Come on really good points that actually, Toby, I love that, that comment there, which I hadn't thought of too much, although I was aware of it, but the bring the skills into your organisation and attracting great people, because you're, you know, you're using cool technology and and that attracts them as part of it. Yeah, fascinating. Of course, lots of systems. There's a little nugget of very good advice there. Don't try and bring everything together. Don't try and over boil over boil the the complexity, keep it keep it simple, start small work agile, let's seed and grow the most common lessons. Yeah, thank you really good, really good lessons actually. Okay. And, you know, as we know, in the education sector, we're going through a pandemic, but there's plenty going on, let's be honest, lots of change. Gentle to you. As you look to the future. What kinds of trends are you seeing emerge in the market? And you're preparing for?
Jenna Baskin 33:51
Yeah, it's a great question. It's, sometimes I wish my crystal ball quickly arrived from Amazon that I ordered to go for. So. I mean, I know there's a lot of high cost providers on this webinar, we fortunately or unfortunately, sold our cry class colleges prior to the pandemic. And so I think from a cost perspective, education is one of Australia's largest exports, and especially after the pandemic, I think there's going to be a big shift in it. There are a lot of people that still value as an Australian education. And I think we're going to see on one hand an influx of people trying to get back in but on the other hand, also, it's going to be quite challenging for people to move and potentially a fight for, for students. I think that's one thing and it's going to be the experience and what's going to make Australia better than the US or Canada or the UK. In terms of what's happening in our industry. We're definitely seeing some changes, especially when it happens down to an economy as we saw in 2007 eight and as we're seeing now, there is a A lot of government funding floating around in education. And so that is always an adaptive change that education providers have to work with. On one hand, it's a blessing having government funding, because it does open up the opportunities for everyone to have an education and to upskill themselves. And we definitely from our perspective, so as the pandemic hit, some people were sort of lost their jobs and furloughed and other people just started panicking and started thinking, Well, I haven't upgraded my education in 10 1520 years. And maybe I should do that in case something happens, I think people are a little bit more comfortable now. But we're definitely seeing the continuation of a lot of government funding, which changes people's perception, when you're not forking out a lot of your own cash, it does make it quite difficult to get people to progress. And I think it's really going to come down to the Battle of providers in you offer a certificate for a diploma or a bachelor. And it's the same as the guy or girl down the road, what makes yours different, and I can shop around now I'm a lot more informed and have opinions, people love going on Google and Facebook and reading reviews and those sorts of things. And I guess the other thing that I'm seeing, which probably isn't as relevant to this market, and to the attendees, but really from outside, in corporate education, we're seeing a lot less focus on these multi day or multi week long programmes, and a lot more real time micro credential. So what can I get my employees who are sitting at home at the moment in lockdown, or even when they're back in the office or in a hybrid workforce? How do I make them more productive, there's a big fight for talent in Australia, for anyone that is employing at the moment, it is very, very difficult. And Toby touched on that a little bit. Interestingly, we've had two interns recently that were attracted by a lot of the automation and the differences that were bringing to the education because they wanted to work in a corporate environment, they didn't want to quite work in a startup that they wanted to have the experience of tech and called student journeys. And for us, really, what we're seeing is a lot smaller, more condensed, targeted programme, that people can pick up and say, Okay, I can learn, not just do an Excel two day course, but I can learn the lookups pivot table, whatever, in 90 minutes, somebody will teach me and I go back into my job in a more productive, there's also a think, across the gamut. And I know I'm rambling on here, but I've really been thinking about this for 18 months, we're seeing a huge shift and change across the different parts of the education spectrum. in universities, private providers, private education providers take non accredited training providers, looking after not just the hard skills of I'll teach you to be better at retail, or leadership and management or accounting, or whatever it is, but also the soft skill, and especially mental health and resilience. And that's become a very, very big topic. And something that we give for example to students is an online resilience course, which has nothing to do with them getting their qualification. But for us, if you don't have the skills and resilience, and the ability to deal with all the craziness that's been happening in the last 18 months and the craziness that happened when you're trying to get your your costs down or when you're trying to get a job or whatever it is, that piece of paper is one thing, but it's not going to be as useful if you can't go out and put that into action. So I think that's going to be a big differentiate, especially in the universities and one of our sibling companies is mental health training provider. And they're working very closely with some universities on how to better equipped staff on how to assist people with with mental health and resilience and stress management.
Alex Train 38:48
So a couple of really big big points there maybe just try and wrap a couple those ideas up. Plenty coming down the pipe there's going to be a lot of students coming back to the to Australia after after travels opened up again. So being prepared to compete for the those students and you know, things like differentiating on the experience of interacting with your education institution is going to be key as well as, as the quality of the content you produce, as well as those little things like how do you better equip the students like the mental resilience thing? It's a great example. Anyone on this call who you know that your organisation has interest in that trend, please, we'll pass on Janet's details if you'd like to connect to MCI and train up your staff on that sort of thing. Great points. Jenna. Toby just just over to you. You're obviously at the forefront of you know, current technology as well as some new stuff that is not as well known. Like you obviously work around the Salesforce and you help with Pendula, but I know you do some stuff around the creative cool things like UiPath I'm quite interested in what you're seeing as well.
Toby Wilcock 39:54
Yeah, look it and just to I can't add much more around that the market side of things agenda said, Look, just to add to that, yeah, there's a lot of stuff going on. And some of those key drivers are still there. But it's, it's some big shifts as well. Yeah, it's, it's, it's like we've got to do more with less, right, fundamentally, and folks who are able to nail that and, you know, like strategies that Jenna is talking about is, is we help make that reality. Right? And but how do you how do you do more with less retain that customer experience. And then we've sort of got a bit of a special sauce around combining Salesforce with UiPath. And robotic process automation, mule soft, for that matter. But it's not about Jammie tech in its right, it's about using what's right in that process. And there's some, I think there's some stuff to watch around RPA, if anyone wants to look up that it's not a hospital, it's actually robotic process automation. That really, also, again, back to the employee experience, they're not going oh, this is just the worst processing job, I've got to work through, I can, I can automate some of that sort of stuff and get back to more the human things that I want to be doing or should be doing employee satisfaction goes up, customer satisfaction goes up, and you know, it's a beautiful knock on effect. So, again, we're, you know, human centric tech company at the end of the day, it's it's people at the centre of all of this, and not losing sight of that. So I think, yeah, we'd be challenged of hiring, you know, for us even, you know, attracting talent, or for the folks who are working with with talent, it's, it's getting, it's getting, you know, the human will, you know, the human element back into into the process of what we're, you know, where we're working and so forth. But that's got to be it's got to always come back to it. And in that sort of over complicating things, too, right. I think we can get caught up on some of this stuff that doesn't need to be so complex, you know, and, yeah, kind of in a nutshell.
Alex Train 41:58
Ever the pragmatist, Toby? That's good advice. Yeah. No, no, that was my thank you both for some really good insight, and actually some really good advice amongst all that to really appreciate it. very insightful. You know, I can see, I've got a background working in the education sector as well, you know, so all three of us, we're really interested in driving great student outcomes. With and particularly with your business in general. We thought we might now switch things up a little bit. opportunity for these questions from from the audience members. And anyone who hasn't yet submitted any, please feel free. There's a q&a button down the bottom. We've got we've got a little bit of time on our sleeve. So we'll be working through a few of those. And we'll give a few moments and select some of those trickle in. I have a question here. Jenna, did you review other platforms and what stood out to you when you were looking at Pendula?
Jenna Baskin 43:08
Yes, in short, we did a couple of things for us. First of all, for anyone that does have government contracts that are quite restrictive of where your data needs to live. It is quite surprising that there are not many competitors out there that have all of their data that lives in Australia and Pendula does. And so even before I saw that platform, that was a winning ticket for me, because we really struggled to find some sort of an SMS versus an SMS platform, because there's a lot out there that you can just blast this message out. But something that had some sort of an automation and triggers that could rely not on humans, but on the system to work and there weren't that many. But in terms of actually analysing Pendula, and the use case for us, I guess for us, one of the key things about it was that ability to automate with the different hooks and we don't need IT involved. So for anyone that doesn't know so MCI is actually part of a much larger multinational company called APM. And we have a wonderful IT team who are absolutely fantastic. But we are one of I think we're now 18 companies in the large brand. And so to get anything done, you have to plan quite well in advance. And so for us, that was one key thing, as well as that, for those of you that you know receive these random daily or weekly SMS is from brands trying to sell things to you, I get you food, for example, all the time. That makes up the conversation, but it's not really tailored to me. It doesn't it's not really tailored to what I've ordered in the past. It's not really encouraging me, or enticing me besides discounts to buy and the only outcome I can do is click on the link and buy or reply stop. Whereas in these situations for us, we wanted to to appear and I'm continually shocked as to how many people replies it's a real person. We wanted people to feel Like they were having a real conversation. That's really what stood out to us about Pendula.
Alex Train 45:07
That's really heard you mentioned obviously the APM. As part of the broader group, I have a question. How important has it been to find solutions that allow scale, particularly into the other parts of your group or your parents, you know, to the broader organisation?
Jenna Baskin 45:22
Yeah, I think for us, each business is different. Not everyone has a CRM and not everyone uses Salesforce. I guess for us in terms of scale. One part of our business that we have deployed pendula fully in is looking after at any one point in time about between anywhere between six and 8000 students. And so that can scale up and scale down but that, and we have a very small staff member that looks after those students. And so that for us was really important in terms of other parts of that businesses that are a little bit more hands on and a bit more, I guess, premium in terms of their experience. We do have more employees that that look after students that need tutorial sessions or help. But for us, again, as scalability, we can't just keep adding more people. And so for us, we needed to make sure all of our students live in Salesforce, all of our students live in between two LMS is that are connected to Salesforce. And for us, that was critical, because as soon as that data is in there, you can scale it from 10 students to 10 million. Obviously, you have to pay pendyala, a little bit more for that. But it's completely scalable. And we didn't need more than one person managing that process, whether it was 10 students or 10 million. Okay. Yeah,
Alex Train 46:39
very good answer. I have a question, which kind of an extension of that a little. What, what were the advantages of not necessarily having IT involved in getting something like this up and running.
Jenna Baskin 46:53
So I shouldn't discount IT entirely. They were definitely very helpful in the beginning, and I'm sure probably drove the pencil team mad with all their pen tests, and security checks and all that fun stuff. But once we had ticked that off, and received sign off, I guess for us, it did assist us in the beginning, because I have an absolutely lovely and fantastic team, but I wouldn't call them IT specialists. And so they did assist us in in sort of being involved in the training and then handing over to the business. Slowly, as our comfort and confidence levels lifted. They would maybe watch our team, prepare some some conversations within Pendula, roll it out piloted if there were any glitches, then maybe they would do another one. And now we're at the point where people in my team onboarding and training new people without it being involved. So I guess, for us in terms of the advantages, you're not relying on a team that should be doing probably more important things, and then trying to help us and the beauty of this platform is you don't need to have a tech mind to be able to do it, there's no coding, there's no complex, you know, once the integrations are built, have fun and enjoy.
Alex Train 48:05
Yeah, that's a really good point, you know, IT is really important that you want to use them and have them focus on the things that, you know, are really important, like making sure that the technology is secure. It's sovereign, for example, in your industry, that it's that it's going to scale when it needs to. And then things like setting up how the communications behave that's sort of best left to the people who are responsible for that business process and giving them the tool for what its purpose is. Very good. A couple questions for you, Toby, don't want to leave you hanging there. Yeah, these types of projects, typically, how big are they? How much they cost? What Yeah, how long these strings
Toby Wilcock 48:49
they actually Well, you know, getting Pendula in is like Jenna said before, you know it's it's not actually a massive business model for Cloudwerx in the sense of services if, if I can put it that way, it's very quick to get in and again, that's you know, that's why it's it's so good is that you know, it's in there, it's triggering off everything that's in Salesforce and away you go kind of thing so that that sort of stuff, it can start really small. It really does. It's kind of relative, if I can answer the question that way, it's relative to if we're looking at a whole process and we kind of blueprint something and you know, a blueprinting session might be 90 minutes right to get that as a state. From there, you know, it could be any number of types of engagements, size of implementations or services consulting there. And but the thing the bottom line with all of this is that we get a very quick handle on Okay, well, if we do this, it's going to save you X amount of, you know, FTA or whatever it might be where they can be redeployed on something else or whatever. So you know, engagements, it's a hard one to answer but they You know, that can be a few weeks, it can be a few days or whatever, across the board, but we kind of split it across, you know, advisory, the actual implementation of and build, if you will, configuring. And then you know, support afterwards if need be.
Alex Train 50:18
Thank you very much. Yeah. I mean, whenever you ask a consulting organisation, how big how complex? The answer is, almost always it depends.
Toby Wilcock 50:26
But just yeah, just to add, actually, with the UI path, stuff that we're doing, we there's ROI analysis that we can do, if we would gather the kind of fundamental data points, we plug that in, this is what this process is costing you right now with the people and the systems. If we do this, it will reduce the x. And you'll get a return in year one, year two, and so forth. So that sort of stuff we're doing in all of our consulting as we kick off any engagement.
Alex Train 50:56
Thank you. Thank you. Haven't one last one here for you, gentlemen? How do you think that conversational communications will help you to compete and to prepare and you know how to take go to market really the conversational side? Yeah, definitely.
Jenna Baskin 51:11
So just quickly, back to your question, because it's the question I always have for consultants, like Toby, how expensive is this going to be just reflecting on our journey, getting the data into Salesforce, which, starting from scratch is always easier when you're building on top of that legacy system is sometimes a bit more difficult. That was probably the biggest cost to us. Once we had got all the different data points that we needed into Salesforce, the beauty of pendula is quite easy to connect those specific fields to the pendant platform, and then you can pull and trigger based on all of them. But getting it in and getting that right from the beginning is always quite difficult. And as Toby says, everyone has to have a learning management system, everyone has to have a student management system and all the other fun stuff. So just getting that connected is probably where the biggest expenses, but once it's in the ROI is pretty clear in terms of conversational communication, so it's quite interesting. People are not used to having conversations and they get quite shocked when they first join MCI and it's like somebody real is actually talking to you. And it's not just a blast SMS. That's a bit of spam that you look at, ignore. And maybe one day, we'll get to it in terms of how it's going to help us compete. I guess for us, it's not only just the scalability, so that is the scalability discussion, if we want to keep adding more students, there aren't enough people to keep adding to support them. And the math doesn't add up. But really, in terms of, you know, just thinking of the sales cycle, for example, and we're just starting to talk about implementing pendula in the sales cycle. And so that's probably a topical discussion at the moment, because I thought about it for a while. But really, for us, it's most of our students are submitting at least for inquiries, and leads with different providers. And so for us, it's not just how quickly you're getting to those students, but it's how are you getting to them? So are you another 02, 07, 03 number that's calling them? Are you giving them the information that they need? Are they just looking for price? Are they looking to speak to someone? Are they looking to have a consultation? Can we have the consultation, not as soon as they submit that because maybe they're really annoyed with their boss and quickly satisfying all these different inquiries because they want to study something else and leave, but maybe at four o'clock or one o'clock at lunchtime when it's better for them? So what are we doing to put ourselves into their shoes, and really bring the MCI experience to them, as opposed to just flooding them with brochures and calls and I missed? Try to call you earlier, here's an email, here's a brochure get back to me keep hounding you. What can we be doing different to the three other providers that they've also inquired with? And I guess really, it's flipping that mentality of this is a sales process, which it is, you know, I don't tell ourselves guys otherwise. But let's turn it into a conversation. Let's turn it into the beginning of a relationship. This is a 12 or 18 month process and an engagement that somebody is about to have with us. Let's make it exciting and pleasurable and not painful and bloody place calling me again to do my stupid course that I signed up to 11 months ago. Well, NCI is calling me and I'm so close, and I'm about to graduate. And this is going to be the best experience of my life. It's flipping that model and in that relationship,
Alex Train 54:34
Terrific answer, you know, surprising them with something they don't expect in a positive way. It's always wonderful, right? Thank you for that. And thank you both for these great answers. That's all for the questions. Hopefully, for all the attendees. There's been some great lessons here and you've learned some stuff. We've talked a little bit about pendular and other technology. But hopefully you've taken some some real kernels of useful Advice lessons some counsel from from our guest today. We do have some one last thing to offer you for people that have joined. If you would like to take a close look at pendula and see for yourself what MCI have used for their student engagement approach, we are offering pendula for free for a month. And we're also bundling in thanks to cloud works, a complimentary service blueprinting session that Toby mentioned earlier in the presentation. That's for all webinar attendees. Please feel free to reach out to us and we'll pass on any contact details for both Jenna and Toby. Thank you everybody, for coming and hope you have a great morning. Thanks, guys. Thank you.
Toby Wilcock 55:39
Thanks, Alex. Thanks, Jenna. Ciao ciao.