K-12 Curriculum Leaders Plan Further Spend on Admin Tools: New Futuresource Consulting Research

lockers at school

By Chris Pennell
Futuresource Consulting

EdTech purchase planning in K-12 schools across the USA is likely to deliver a raft of opportunities for technology vendors. Almost all curriculum leads are expecting to buy student-facing software applications, with school information systems (SIS) topping the list. That’s according to a new report from Futuresource Consulting, based on interviews with 406 school districts across all 50 states.

SIS Market Mature, but Still Rising

Although there’s already high SIS uptake, with around four in every five respondents confirming they currently have systems in use, the survey data suggests decision makers are open to additional solutions.

“The door is open wide,” says Chris Pennell, Principal Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “There are opportunities ahead for a wide range of vendors. Even when districts already have a system in place, that doesn’t mean their user needs are being fully satisfied.

“Curriculum leaders told us that data entry and the ability of systems to reduce admin workload for teachers are notable areas for improvement. Though that may be due to the low level of influence that teaching level staff have on these budgets. Our survey also shows a high proportion of districts typically have more than one vendor in place, so it looks like decision makers aren’t being loyal to any one brand.”

Opportunities for ERP Vendors

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is also a lucrative opportunity for vendors, with the majority of districts that aren’t using one at the moment planning an implementation in the next few years. It’s likely there’ll be opportunities for a range of providers, as Futuresource expects the market to follow similar patterns to the localized adoption of SIS. There are also opportunities within existing use cases to extend coverage across an increasing number of departments.

Rescue Package Spend Must Demonstrate ROI

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 has gone a long way to allocating extra budget for K-12 schools, particularly in technology. However, this governmental financial response to the pandemic applies to a wide range of different devices, operating systems and software solutions. This has meant that schools have found budget allocation a challenge.

“Being able to demonstrate return on investment will be a key factor in spend,” says Pennell, “as schools will not want to waste this stimulus money. Those vendors, value-added resellers and channel partners that can help schools ensure the solutions they do buy are integrated, and will be fully utilized, are the ones who will rise to the top.”