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Tambellini Report Shows Accelerated Growth in Technology Spending As Higher Education Increases Investments in Cloud-Based Systems

Tambellini’s 2021 Finance and HCM Market Trends and Leaders Report provides unique and unexpected insights into the future direction of higher education based on data from 4,300 US institutions.

Irvington, Virginia — April 26, 2021In the face of the widespread uncertainty about the future direction of higher education and tight budget constraints, a growing number of institutions are making major investments in modernizing their technology infrastructure by moving forward with cloud-based systems that will reshape how their institutions operate as places of work and education, according to an annual technology trends report released today by Tambellini Group.

The findings from Tambellini’s 2021 Financial Management and Human Capital Management Systems US Higher Education Market Share, Trends, and Leaders Report shows that the rate of increase in both finance and human capital management (HCM) system selections made by institutions in 2020 more than doubled over the previous year, rising by 40 percent in finance and 45 percent in HCM. In 2019, selection rates rose by 20 percent in finance and 17 percent in HCM, compared to 2018.

“After a year of rapid change driven by necessity, higher education institutions have reached a critical crossroads: they can revert to business as usual or embrace the new reality,” says Vicki Tambellini, Tambellini Group’s CEO and Founder. “Our report’s findings are encouraging because they show that many are seizing the opportunity to proactively improve and future-proof their institutions by committing to multi-year projects to modernize their core administrative systems.”

When purchasing and implementing a new cloud-based finance and/or HCM system, institutions can spend anywhere from $30-100 million on a project for a large research university (R1 & 20k+ FTEs). Even a small institution can spend more than $5 million dollars on a project in the first 5 years of implementation. 

Accelerated Pace of Cloud Adoption

The selection trends show that the pace of cloud adoption has significantly accelerated over the past year and will continue to gain momentum:

  • More than 90 percent of institutions selected cloud-based finance and HCM systems in 2020 instead of updating their aging on-premise legacy systems.
  • 65 percent of those institutions selected Oracle and Workday as their system providers in 2020, compared to the 50 percent of institutions that selected Oracle, Workday, or Unit 4 for cloud-based finance and HCM systems in 2019.
  • By 2024, Tambellini predicts that the percentage of large institutions (R1 and >20k FTE) adopting cloud-based finance and HCM systems will more than double.
  • Across both mid-size and small institutions, the percentage will triple by 2024.

The report is based on Tambellini Group’s unbiased research, extensive interviews, and proprietary data from more than 4,300 US higher education institutions and covers all vendors serving at least 1 percent of the market, including Anthology, Ellucian, Jenzabar, Oracle Cloud, SAP, Unit4, and Workday.

During a tumultuous year this report cuts through the many contrasting predictions about the future of higher ed and provides new authoritative insights into current and emerging institutional priorities and goals,” says Dr. Michael Russell, President of the Higher Education User Group, the leading global user community focused on core administrative systems in higher education.

“Selecting and implementing new cloud-based core administrative systems is time-intensive, high-impact, and costly, and the uptick in selections shows how central technology investments are to helping institutions adapt to the evolving demands in the higher education market.”

About the Tambellini Group
The Tambellini Group is the leading independent technology research and advisory firm dedicated exclusively to higher education. Tambellini Group members benefit from more than 100 unbiased research reports every year that provide insight and analysis on the changing higher ed technology landscape. With more than 20,250 institutional technology selections and nearly 70,000 listings, Tambellini Group’s proprietary Education Institution Technology Profile Database® is unparalleled in the industry. Founded in 2001, Tambellini Group is a woman-owned business and a certified Great Places to Work® company for 2020–2021. 

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