Wednesday 5 March 2014

The School Information System market is changing faster than you think

In my first blog post I referenced this rather wonderful Edugeek forum thread in which members managed to get trend data on which School Information Systems (SIS) are being used nationally, thanks to judicious FOI requests on the 2012 and 2013 autumn school censuses.

The dataset is comprehensive - it gives you the details of the SIS used by every school in England over the past two years. Given that richness, I thought it would be fun to create some visualisations to explain the data in Tableau. (Tableau is our new office toy by the way - we're building it into our in-house analytics approach.)

You can click between the tabs on the following to see the data for yourself.

Here are my initial conclusions:

1) SIMS are still way ahead of the pack...
This "Totals Table" tab shows how SIMS retains an 83% market share with 17,912 of the 21,591 English schools offering a census return. That's way ahead of RM in second place with 1,746 schools (8% market share), and Advanced Learning (CMIS / Progresso) with 1,213 schools (6% market share). (Incidentally, I'm assuming that the vast majority of Advanced Learning's schools are still on CMIS, though it's not possible to tell from the data.)

2) ... but SIMS and Advanced Learning are losing ground faster than you might think.
Switch to the "YoY change" tab and you see a different story. SIMS and Advanced Learning were the big losers in absolute terms, with net losses of 138 and 79 schools respectively. Both would tell you that this is a small percentage of their total market share, and they'd be right. But I'm not sure that's the right way to approach the issue. Looking at the underlying data (on a spreadsheet, because I couldn't work out how to do it in Tableau), by my reckoning, only 373 schools chose to switch supplier between 2012 and 2013. That means that the SIMS net loss is 37% of the total number of schools switching, and the Advanced Learning net loss is 21% of the total. For AL in particular, that is a big hit, given that they only had a 6% market share to start with. Just imagine what will happen if their competitors start to get a reputation for making the move painless for schools...

3) RM and ScholarPack are the big winners, with Arbor also gaining traction.
RM picked up 128 schools and ScholarPack added 84. The ScholarPack gain is particularly remarkable. They have just a 0.6% market share, yet their net gain was equivalent to 23% of schools switching! Both ScholarPack and RM are likely to have continued this trajectory over the past few months, with Scholarpack having picked up notable clients including the Elliot Foundation, and RM being named by Pearson as their preferred switching partner after they announced their intention to withdraw their e1 product from the market at the end of this academic year. Arbor and Bromcom also deserve honourable mentions for moving from 1 to 19 schools and  22 to 41 schools respectively.

4) The cloud is finally starting to influence decision-making. 
What do RM Integris, ScholarPack, Bromcom and Arbor have in common? They're all cloud based. What do SIMS and CMIS have in common? They're not. So most people going out to tender end up choosing the cloud. Suppliers, take note...