E is for Efficiency
Eduventures’ annual study looks at postsecondary institutional purchasing.
THE BOSTON-BASED research firm Eduventures Inc. (www.eduventures.com) studies
annually what it terms “postsecondary solutions”—hardware,
software, and services purchased by postsecondary schools, where the customers
are principally institutions rather than individuals. While not inclusive of
all products and services purchased by higher education, the strategic nature
of the solutions studied makes them good indicators of overall marketplace directions.
The 2004 study analyzed eight markets and market segments from the broad categories
of content, infrastructure, and services. Eduventures characterized the postsecondary
learning market in general as still “taking a pause” as it recovers
from a cyclical low point experienced after a strong wave of adoption in 1999
and 2000. Yet, even minor differences in growth forecasts among market segments
hint at an industry gearing itself up for improved efficiency.
Eduventures forecasts that custom publishing, while a smaller
part of the content industry, will take the lead, in terms of growth rate, over
more traditional textbooks and publishing of reference works. It is still an
emerging market in an otherwise mature industry and represents a more service-oriented
model. It includes both print and digital formats, but with a growing percent
of materials delivered in digital form, custom publishing is fertile ground
for publishers’ innovations. Eduventures asserts that publishers will
increasingly seek revenues from digital materials, and aggregating, bundling,
and customizing content—especially facilitated by digital formats—creates
value for institutions.
Infrastructure for eLearning.
The name of the game has changed as institutions
turn their attention to eLearning systems. Overwhelmingly, students arriving
on campus with their own notebook computers will all but eliminate any growth
in institutional desktop purchases, leaving institutions free to concentrate
on wireless networks and collaborative work environments. Interestingly, within
the modest growth forecast for computing hardware, high-performance and grid
computing will post stronger than the market for servers. The largest share
of infrastructure growth will be in eLearning platforms, especially as institutions
look to leverage next-generation functionality and enterprise scalability in
the course management system (CMS).
Administrative and professional
Eduventures’ findings indicate
that a range of outsourced services associated with administrative operations
will enjoy steady growth, as institutions reach to increase customer service
levels and offer enterprise applications. Enrollment management has already
emerged as a key segment in this category, and with time, functions like financial
aid, human resources, and a wide array of administrative systems will be on
tap through integrated product suites from outsourcing partners.
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