It can be difficult for IT Leaders to explain the importance of interoperability to education leaders who don’t have a technology background. Yet, interoperability has an enormous impact on teaching and learning effectiveness as well as costs. Improving interoperability can help districts make improvements across their entire digital ecosystem. IT departments could spend a lot less time and money connecting the systems that need to work together. (Michigan did an extensive study and found the lack of interoperability costs the state $163,000,000 per year.) Teachers could spend more time teaching instead of trouble shooting log-ons or data wrangling information from disparate systems. If more education stakeholders understood the impact of interoperability on their students, teachers, and administrators, IT Leaders would have an easier time advocating for interoperable products in the adoption process.
The key to explaining interoperability is contained in the word itself—“Ability.”
Interoperability is the…..
  • ability to roster students on day one
  • ability to ensure data quality
  • ability to keep data secure
  • ability to readily access data
  • ability to reallocate resources
  • ability to give your teachers (and IT department!) their evenings and Sundays back
Unless we solve this interoperability challenge, the education sector will continue to have siloed data, difficulties in student rostering, inaccuracies in data transfer, end-user frustration with managing multiple log-ins, and unnecessary and costly expense retrofitting solutions together, while burdened with inherently inefficient systems. As more education stakeholders understand its importance, interoperability will move from an “IT problem” to a district imperative.
The communication tools available in CoSN’s Interoperability Toolkit can help you.