“People selling into education facilities need to be mindful of [institutions’] budget constraints, but [new tech] is really helping such facilities,” he said. “Talk to them about ROI and TCO – education facilities are becoming more and more like businesses.”
It seems it’s all about knowing your market and its pattern of fragmentation. A sales team approaching a university today will often be greeted by experienced CIOs and a team that previously hail from the corporate sector, and can pitch accordingly. This is all to the good for skilled partners seeking to expand into the education market, Nielsen said.
Cisco channels director, Jeff Sheard, said the communications giant has always had an oar in education but certainly opportunities are growing and institutions are aiming to adopt more sophisticated, big-ticket, communications tools.
He sees the big push towards funding more tech in education as partly about competing with nations such as the ‘tiger’ economies of Asia that have kicked off massive economic gains in the wake of rapid investment in enabling technologies. Australians can’t afford to be left behind.
“It’s about a greater level of connection, collaboration and communication,” Sheard said.
Resellers that target solutions in education that will create those effects are best placed to succeed, not just because consumer tech is increasingly infiltrating the schools where ‘digital natives’ learn and play but because those solutions are more important in a globalised, more agile world and will help Australia overcome the tyranny of distance.
“A student in Griffith can collaborate with professors at the likes of [prestigious overseas universities] MIT and Oxford,” Sheard said. “I think, for resellers, that the opportunities now are in upgrading networks [to support these changes]. [Schools] really need to have a robust, high-bandwidth, secure network capable of shifting rich media around.”
Microsoft education industry manager, Jason Trump, said investment may appear in areas previously ignored but competition will be hot.