Technology Research

What to Expect from Eduventures Tech Landscape 2019

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Once a year, we undertake the always interesting (but often headache-inducing) task of reviewing hundreds of unique and inventive technology products in the higher education market and classifying each of them into a single category. For the first time, we will publish our 2019 Higher Education Technology Landscape (Landscape) at Eduventures Summit, commencing tomorrow in Boston.

While the Landscape goes a long way to help colleges and universities understand the similarities and differences between technology products, it alone does not provide insight into how individual segments of the market are evolving or changing.

Why is this important? Information about which segments are responding to market shifts can impact decisions about technology selection. Likewise, and may require an understanding of market size estimates and forecasts.

Most attempts to provide this deeper understanding rely on an analysis of trends of implemented solutions over time or the competitive environment of vendors within a market segment, such as learning management systems. We think, however, that relying solely on these approaches can obfuscate the overarching pressures that make segments poised for growth (positively affected) and under pressure (negatively impacted).

As a result, accompanying the 2019 Landscape, we will provide greater insight into the technology segments through the lens of macro pressures. We dedicate today's Wake-Up Call to providing a view into these pressures and giving a sneak peek into the impacted segments. In a later Wake-Up Call, we will dive more deeply into these segments and the reasons they are most affected.

Market Pressures Driving Change

Overall, our current assessment is that four market pressures are impacting different segments:

1. Challenges in Defining “Student Success”

As we’ve written previously, there is a lack of clarity around what we mean by “student success.” Is it career attainment? Persistence to graduation? Student achievement? Or something else? Likewise, a growing number of technology solutions claims to support different types of student success, which increases the difficulty of institutions trying to determine which meaning of student success is a priority and align that meaning to the right technology segment. We see this pressure presenting opportunities for advising solutions, which address multiple definitions of student success. It may present challenges for career readiness solutions, however, that have yet to pivot to supporting career attainment.

2. Increasing Focus on the Learning Ecosystem

We see a change in how institutions consider technology selection, from a sole focus on a solution’s functionality to balancing these considerations with a solution’s fit within an ecosystem. This ecosystem view plays out in terms of the arrangement of products and guiding principles underlying teaching and learning ecosystems. Within the market segments that support teaching and learning, there is an increased expectation that they fit within and support this ecosystem. Our current assessment is that learning management systems (LMS) will struggle to meet this expectation, while system integration solutions are poised to benefit from this ecosystem view.

3. Aiming for Transformation

In our advising calls with college and university leaders, we hear less about the role technology should play in supporting essential operations, such as maintaining student records, and more about the role it should play in helping an institution transform itself to deliver value to its stakeholders. Many institutions ask how solutions in specific segments help them go beyond supporting functions such as managing grades and courses to empowering them to leverage data for performance improvement. We believe this means that student information systems (SIS) will struggle, while constituent relationship management (CRM) solutions, and specifically those working to tie together data sources across the entire institution, will grow.

4. The Rise of the Engagement Layer

Student engagement often refers to how institutions exchange information with students through texts, emails, or social media posts. Increasingly, we see institutions look to supplement this type of communication with a deeper form of engagement, one that aims to deliver a better student experience, an increased student sense of belonging, and better student achievement. Those segments that focus more on the exchange of information, such as social recruitment and engagement solutions are under pressure to adapt to this more in-depth form of student engagement. Other segments, however, such as student engagement solutions, will benefit.

Impacted Market Segments

Our upcoming Landscape report will discuss the specific segments affected by these pressures more deeply. Our next Wake-Up Call on this topic will cover changes in this year's Landscape, including new segments, revised definitions, and new product classifications.

In the meantime, we hope you will join us June 5-7 at Eduventures Summit and pick up your copy of our 2019 Higher Education Technology Landscape.

We're just days away, but there's still time to join us in Boston, Massachusetts as we convene eminent thinkers, leaders, and practitioners from across the higher education spectrum to examine and showcase the best ideas, old and new. If there is one event in higher ed you attend this year, it should be Eduventures Summit.

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