Why networking platforms are plateauing (1 of 5)

Your alumni already have too many apps

By MAX LEISTEN

We’re drowning in apps.

Microsoft offers over 35 million apps through its online store, Google about 3.5 million, and Apple about 2.2 million.

If that doesn’t make your head hurt, consider that the average professional switches between 35 job-critical applications more than 1,100 times every day. That’s not counting the non-critical tools offered by professional associations, non-profits, neighborhoods, schools, and – yes – our alma maters.

We have and use more apps than ever. And there’s no end in sight.

What’s driving this #APPocaplyse?

It’s never been easier to build apps. 

Thanks to open source, no-code app builders, off-shore development / open borders, and soon AI writing software, we will have an infinite number of apps for every possible problem.

There’s a future where your smaller IT team will interview you about your technology needs and build it in real-time with you in the room (or on Zoom).

Buy anywhere, anytime. 

We’ve gone from walking into Best Buy to purchase software to simple online buying with innovative pricing and payment models (freemium anyone?). The “consumerization” of B2B apps will drive the same simplicity even for the largest of technologies for organizations.

You’re now thinking: “Our budgeting and procurement processes are too complex for anything, anytime.” Just look at how procurement software itself has evolved to nearly match how Amazon.com’s amazing experience.

Live at a push of a button. 

Nobody misses on-premises software installations and months of implementation work. And thanks to workflow automation tools like Zapier and Automate.io, complex integrations are increasingly a thing of the past. Apps are either seamlessly delivered “via the cloud” or at the click of a button on our phones.

Race to zero (engagement)?

Based on feedback from many hundreds of institutions we’ve spoken to, an average of 5% of alumni sign up for networking platforms such as Graduway, Peoplegrove and Hivebrite. Often fewer than 3% return to engage. Recently we spoke to an alumni professional who admitted that he’s not once used the platforms offered by his three (!) different alma maters.

This adoption failure is not the fault of these vendors or the staff asked to launch and manage networking platforms. They’ve got an amazing array of features, look snazzy, and are often a badge in front of institutional leadership.

No. Your alumni (and students BTW) already have too many apps in their lives. And it’s going to get much worse. By official count there are nearly 100 networking platform available (Capterra, G2), and we’ll bet you $100 that three years from now it’ll be double that. It’ll be even easier for you to buy and swap your old one out.

But it will be harder to get alumni to sign up and use it. Because whatever new platform you’ll be offering, your alumni will have dozens of other new apps to learn. 

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