Software developer CountryNet Software is working to create Australia’s first shared community beyond the school fence, where students, parents, teachers and administrators operate in an interconnected digital community.
CEO Simon Totonjian says the NSW-based company’s platform offers online education management tools from timetabling, subject selection and viewing student grades to booking parent/teacher interviews - all in one place.
“Our new product allows for real-time information transfer. When your child does an exam or a task the results are immediately published within the system, a teacher can post a comment and a parent can read it and respond. Why should you wait three months to find out if your child is having a problem?” he asks.
“We're doing a lot of pilot testing and it's going beautifully. We've got five schools in Australia that use it at the moment, but our primary testing ground is offshore.”
His team’s flexible and agile approach to product development in the face of rapid technological change have helped keep its profits growing.
“In our industry if you're in the middle of doing something and there's a change in the environment, you have to be able to respond quickly,” Simon says.
This requires a fresh approach to hiring and forming partnerships. Third-party developers write the initial software and the CountryNet team then builds out the final product.
Simon says a product’s “end of life” is vitally important.
“It’s very hard to sign up 1,000 schools when your product is relevant for only five years. You need a perpetual ‘end of life’ so you can keep the business growing without worrying,” he says.