3 Must-knows on Selling IT to the Higher Education Market

Higher Ed SpendingMark Wisinger by Mark Wisinger, Analyst

Educational institutions present a major market for facilities management software providers. Universities and colleges are tasked with maintaining campuses that require seamless facility management 24/7. This presents opportunities for COTs vendors that sell facilities management tools, but in order to tap into these opportunities, you have to understand the key considerations higher-education institutions are taking into account when investing in a software solution:

  1. Familiarity & Relationship Building is Key

Universities prefer to operate with products that are familiar to them. It is common to see an initial deployment of software within one department expand university-wide. This general trend of proof-of-concept small initial deployments is just as prevalent for facilities management software. University of Michigan’s initial expansion of software from its core biomedical facilities to all of its biomedical facilities is a perfect example of the success of scaled deployments. Deploying into a smaller department or office can provide a powerful use-case for the university as a whole. Focus on establishing relationships with a particular department in order to achieve buy-in and a demonstration of capability before pressing for university-wide deployments.

  1. Open-Source Software is a Hit

Open-source software is particularly effective in certain markets. Universities are attracted to the principles behind open-source software and often buy or develop their own solutions following the model. Northwestern University developed its own open-source facilities management solution rather than opting for a proprietary solution. Open-source solutions have an inherent advantage in this market, but proprietary solutions can still sell effectively in this market, particularly with competitive pricing and significant support offerings.

  1. Scalability is a Big Deal for High-growth Universities

Higher-education institutions often need to rapidly expand in size, thereby outpacing existing and depreciating facilities management systems. In response to rapid growth and larger user-bases, colleges and universities scramble to procure new systems to replace out-scaled existing solutions. One specific example is seen at the University of Central Florida (UCF), which exploded from a small commuter college to the second largest student body in the United States during the last few decades. As a result of this expansion, UCF ultimately entirely replaced their facilities management solution to accommodate the additional property. It’s essential when targeting high-growth universities to tailor product messaging with scalability in mind.

Keeping these three considerations in mind will help vendors effectively target colleges and universities that need to more effectively manage their growing facilities in a cost-effective manner.

Need help identifying top IT decision makers and opportunities in the higher-education market? Contact immixGroup’s industry-leading Market Intelligence team today to learn about specific institutions and contacts that have a pressing need for your solution.

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