As Tambellini concludes its 2020 Student Systems publication series, it is a good time to reflect on the past year and contemplate the future state of student systems. Tambellini’s Student Systems US Higher Education Market Trends and Leaders Report includes the following statistics regarding the student system market.
In a review of the total US student market, Tambellini research indicates that an estimated 74 percent of US institutions have not made a selection to move off their legacy on-premises student systems. Of the institutions that have made a selection to move to the cloud:
Tambellini research shows that more US higher education institutions have deployed financial management (finance) and human capital management (HCM) systems in the cloud than institutions that have deployed student systems in the cloud. The level of effort—and cost—in deploying a student system is much greater than a finance or HCM system. As a result, some institutions have found modern student implementation costs to be much higher than initially estimated, thus, creating a barrier. Most importantly, modern student systems are still evolving and gaining maturity.
While the 2018 student system market predicted increased activity in 2019, many institutions delayed their decisions to select a new system due to concerns about product maturity and the readiness of modern systems. Many institutions also voice concerns that the market lacks multiple, equally viable options. Tambellini research shows that at mid-year in 2020 fewer institutions than projected have made finance and HCM selections.
Early projections anticipate that overall decisions for student selections will be lower again in 2020 than in 2019. In general, institutions are delaying the student decision until a more significant number of peers are live on modern student systems.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a whole new level of uncertainty in the student system market, and current student system selection and implementation delays may stand far beyond what was initially anticipated to be 6- to 12-month pauses. Institutions are focused on maintaining daily operations that now include applications that were never on the radar, such as contact tracing, counting software, electronic signatures, virtual platforms, and scheduling.
Tambellini anticipates a significant decrease in student selections in 2020 and a slow increase starting in 2021. While private, not-for-profit institutions made more student selections in 2019 than any other institution type, Tambellini is seeing these tuition-driven institutions put major projects on hold in 2020. There is a chance that some large public institutions, which have legacy solutions that are at a high risk of failure and that already have secured funding, will be in a position to make 2020 student selections.
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