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(2000 NASFAA Conference Materials) Greg Woods, Presentation and Remarks

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Type: Association Meetings
prestitle: Greg Woods, Presentation and Remarks

Greg Woods, Presentation and Remarks
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Number of Pages: 17
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Greg Woods, Presentation and Remarks
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Greg’s Remarks for NASFAA Conference

Thanks for that kind introduction and for the warm welcome.

The first thing I want to do is congratulate Dallas Martin on his twenty-fifth anniversary in NASFAA. Dallas personifies the best of the profession – a visionary leader, an astute business partner, and a man passionately committed to helping students succeed. I join everyone here in saluting you, Dallas, and I'm looking forward to more years of productive partnership.

It is great to be back with you at the NASFAA conference – this time live and in person. Thanks for putting up with that video from the beach last year. This year, the grandkids and I will go in August.

One of the nice things about a job like mine – where you make a lot of speeches – especially if you make them live and in person — is to get introductions like the one John [Parker, NASFAA National Chair] just gave me.

You always get introduced in such glowing terms – about all of your wonderful accomplishments in the past – and now the promise that I'm actually going to give you a glimpse into the future. I confess that hearing such introductions does give me confidence.

But don't get your hopes too high. Predicting the future is pretty tricky business – even for experts in their field. Let me give you some examples:

Harry Warner – the founder of Warner Brothers movie studio – checked his crystal ball and proclaimed, “Nobody's gonna want to hear actors talk.”

Kenneth Olsen, who started Digital Equipment Corporation, peered into the future of computing and stated flatly, “There's no reason for anyone ever to have a computer in their home.”

And just to show you that businessmen don't have a monopoly on boneheaded forecasts, the all-time great center fielder, Tris Speaker, predicted that, “Babe Ruth is making a big mistake to give up pitching.”

So I can make my predictions in great confidence that I could hardly do worse. In fact, I’ll probably do much better, because all of my predictions are based on trends that are already well underway.

I’ll make three predictions and tell you the trends behind them. Then we'll put them all together to see what your world and mine will be like in just a few years.

Prediction One: Technology will be everywhere, used by everyone, all of the time.

That prediction is based on current trends in the portability, the capacity, and cost of the Internet, and Internet access devices.

Small, hand-held, wireless devises will become the most common way for people to use the Internet. Right now, most of us connect our PCs to the Net through pokey old modems. Big machines attached to small pipes.

But wireless hand-helds are already the mainstream in Japan, because they use packet switching – and we'll be using it soon, too. Packet-switching is more like a cable connection – always on and ten time faster than the fastest modem. So you have small machines and big pipes.

And that's nothing. According to BusinessWeek, third-generation, or 3G, wireless services should be up and running in North America by late 2003 or 2004. We're talking megabit data rates. It's like replacing a squirt gun with a fire hose.

And cheap? According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development, in a recent six month period, the average fees for Net access dropped by more than 15%. In fact, many people are getting access free right now. If you watched the NBA finals last month, you saw commercials for free Internet access – a company spending hundreds of millions of dollars to give the Internet away. I heard about another company that is giving away cell phones, too. Free access? Free devices? I don't think there will be many electronic have-nots in a few years – electronic want-nots, maybe – but no have-nots.

The want-nots won't be old folks, if that's what you were thinking. The average Internet user is not some 19-year-old tapping away on a computer in his dorm room. Media Metrix says that baby boomers and seniors are the fastest growing Web surfers – up more than 18% last year alone. They spend more time and view more sites than the youngsters do, too, and use their credit cards more on-line.

Speaking of shopping, according to market researcher Jupiter Communications, five years from now, the Internet will influence 75% of all retail spending in the U.S., up from 40% in 1999. By 2005, consumers will spend $200 billion at retail Web sites — and they'll research another $600 billion worth of purchases on the Internet, even though they buy the goods at brick-and-mortar stores.

Take comfort there. Brick and mortar businesses – including those with ivy-covered brick and mortar – won't go away. PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that most traditional businesses will become hybrids – comfortable in both worlds. In other words: don't worry about being “’ed.” Get ready to be “Schwab’d.”

But almost everyone will have to use the Net to survive, because the Internet is breaking all the old paradigms – creating new business models – a whole new mindset for commerce – focused on agility, not efficiency – on customer, not cost – on customization, not mass production.

If you still have any doubts about my prediction of technology for everyone, everywhere, all the time, check out e-mail trends.

According to BusinessWeek, four years ago there were about 100 million e-mail boxes in the United States – we had twice as many as the rest of the world combined. Last year, the US topped 300 million and the rest of the world had just about caught up – a worldwide total of nearly 600 million. Next year, the number will bust a billion. That means more e-mail boxes in the world than telephone lines and TV sets. You've got mail!

Here's some encouraging news about the folks who aren't connected yet. When researchers asked what would make them get onto the net in the future, only 4% said e-mail. Only 2% said shopping. Almost 40% said they would come to the Internet for education, information, and research. Americans see the Internet as a tool to increase their knowledge and skills – a chance to enhance their future.

Prediction Two: More of your budget will get spent on technology, but you won't have to learn as much about it.

Prices for technology will continue plunging. But you'll need more of it. So, it will consume more of the budget. BusinessWeek predicts that U.S. companies will more than double the amount spent on Internet-based infrastructure and operations by 2003. The Gartner Group says
government spending is headed the same way – tripling by 2005. Schools and universities won't be much different.

But don't worry. Twice the spending on technology won't mean twice the headaches – you know, the kind that come from de-bugging new systems, re-booting old systems, or just figuring out which software to buy in the first place. Don't worry – that's all going to get outsourced. [Slide 10]

The business world is already outsourcing big time – and mainly to solve the same problem we all face – the lack of in-house expertise. Technology requires full-time experts – and you have a few other things to attend to – such as students.

According to the Gartner Group, Web-enabled outsourcing is not just the wave of the future – it's a regular tsunami about three years out.

Along with payroll and accounting – which many business already outsource – you'll see data center outsourcing more than double – network services triple – application maintenance and development, distributed services and IT planning – all of it doubling in the next three years.

You know — there was a piece in the Washington Post just the other day, that Bill Gates announced, in essence, that he doesn't even want you buy his software in the future – he'll just rent you the use of it over the Web.

And Gates isn't the only one. Soon, you will encounter Asps everywhere – not the snakes – but application service providers. ASPs are the fastest growing segment of the IT industry. There are already companies that handle scores of business functions — outsourced on line. And lots more are on the way.

You'll be able to use software that was once too pricey and complex for anybody but the big guys. And the ASP will take care of the bugs and viruses.

All that Web capacity and outsourcing means you won't need much computing power on your desk – just a solid-state, thin client to connect with the power of the Web. In a few years, you'll only have to “boot up” for winter sports. To use the Web, you'll just hit a button and your PC will be on like a light.

And you won't have to learn about the software. It will learn about you. Early automation made things impersonal. Everybody was faceless — reduced to a standard set of bytes and bits. But the high capacity Web lets people be people again – everybody different, everybody special. Today, Web portals, for example, actually get to know an individual user – keep track of interests, information needs, on-line activities – and then the software tailors itself to fit the user. Remember the new mindset for commerce? Customization rather than mass production? High tech means high touch.

At SFA, we see this as our most fabulous opportunity — to generate success for you in your own environment. One size doesn't even come close to fitting all. And — at last — technology lets us tailor our products and services to you. That is not a prediction. That's a promise.

Prediction Three: School will be booming – and so will the need for aid.

A recent article by Aaron Bernstein in the Chronicle of Higher Education says that in the next 15 years, today's campus population of nearly 15 million could soar as high as 22 million students. Some of the increase is “the boomlet” — the boomers babies turning 18. There will be lots more older students learning new skills. But, Bernstein says that two-thirds of the increase will be the children of minority, immigrant, and poorer families who make up a larger share of the population today — and who often need extra aid to get through college. So as the student population grows, the need for financial aid will grow even more rapidly.

The financial reward of higher education is growing too. Data compiled by the National Center for Educational Statistics show that having an undergraduate degree give you 70 % more earning power than a high school grad. And the more education you get, the bigger the advantage. Even in this hot economy, with record employment levels creating a sellers market for labor, the gap between the highest paid jobs – which go to the well-educated – and the lowest paid, unskilled labor jobs is the widest it has been in thirty years.

So – omnipresent technology – increasing investments, but simpler use – and increasing enrollment. So what?? What will all this mean to you and me in, say, five years?

Well, you will still have your hands full. But the way you spend your days will be entirely different.

Remember all the time you used to spend trying to figure out why the latest version of RFMS keeps rejecting your records? And all time you spent on the phone making calls to dozens of courteous and helpful voicemail messages at SFA?

You don't do any of that any more, because we make a different kind of software — a kind you don't have to run directly. We've designed Application Programmer Interfaces — APIs — into all of our systems.

I want you to understand what APIs are, because they are the key to a brighter future for you. I know Application Programmer Interface is tech talk — and I already see more glazed eyes than down at the Fulton Fish Market. But cheer up, I’ll use a homey metaphor – apple pie.

Think of EdExpress as apple pie. That's what SFA makes – in fact, it's our entire menu – apple pie.

“What would you like today, madam? Apple pie? Or perhaps some nice apple pie. No, I'm terribly sorry, we don't have apple cobbler. Nope, no applesauce either. But maybe you could mash up a piece of apple pie.”

Okay, you still with me? Now, having an Application Programmer Interface is like leaving the back door to the kitchen open. You can come on in and help yourself to an apple. Or take some apples and cinnamon and sugar to make your own applesauce. Snag some flour and shortening too, and bake a tasty cobbler. Get what you need when you need it. Have it your way. See, technology can be fun – even fattening.

We leave the back door to all our systems open, and the Application Service Providers that you have chosen take it from there. They provide seamless, integrated services that you have an important role in shaping – services that incorporate information from and for our systems as well as all parts of the campus – admissions, registrar, bursar, residence halls, academic advisors, student employment and payroll offices, and so on.

But you also have the choice of simply using our systems direct. You still won't have to become a software expert because our systems look and operate like any other Web application. They're as easy as pie, too.

All of that is going to save you a ton of time. What else?

How about the time spent handling paper? Not any more. You seldom touch paper – or ink, for that matter – because even the old signature pages are gone – all electronic – all digital.

Time consuming audits? Only if we see a blip on the screen at SFA. With all the data you and I have at our fingertips, we've made fraud a very uncommon thing.

And we don't need to have the data stored within our own walls. We go get data the instant we need it – from the source. So all the busy work you are doing now — like the FISAPP — just evaporates.

So, if you are no longer wasting time shuffling forms, straightening out technical defaults, and the like, what will you do with all that extra time?

You'll spend a lot more of your time helping students — personally. Not just to get through the semester, but through the long term.

Helping them find a job or an internship while they're in school – helping them stay in school – or transfer to a school better suited to them.

Getting started earlier with students – in K through 12 – so they know what's possible, so they have hope.

Sticking with your alumni, helping them succeed – not just in paying back their loans, but in life. Building relationships that last a lifetime.

And beyond all of that, some of you will become really savvy in using technology to give your school the competitive edge – to collaborate with businesses that have the most to offer future employees – to mine the data and find the students who will be the best fit for those companies. And to use the tools of technology to reach out – to capture imaginations – and to show everyone what makes your school like no other.

Well, as you can see, there is plenty of work to do in the future of the financial aid business. With a higher premium on creativity, marketing, and collaborative skills – less need to understand the quirks of computers and software – less need to know – as Kay Jacks puts it – how to navigate the Department of Education.

So, that's the future as I see it. That's the future environment in which SFA plans to help you succeed. Kay Jacks is going to show you one of our latest e-products for schools that paves the way toward that kind of future – the prototype of the Schools Portal.

Kay and I are not the only SFA folks with you at your conference. Having you here in Washington is a great opportunity for us, so you'll see lots and lots of SFA people around. Each of them has a common goal – to learn from one of you one new thing that will help you to succeed in your environment. So think about what you will say when you get asked that.

And if one of us doesn't find you, come and find us. We have a booth set up in a great location – right outside the restrooms. We know you'll be by. We are determined to get to know you.

Thank you, thank you, for inviting us to be with you.

Now I want to tell you about the next speaker – Kay Jacks. …………..

Last Modified: 07/24/2000