Strong, well-researched, and in-depth and publicly available edtech company analysis is rare. This is why I was so pleased to read Casey Green's piece from 7/19/11 "After the Sale" on the Blackboard acquisition and the state of the LMS (learning management system) market.
We should take a minute to think about the economic (advertising, reputation, community), technological (web publishing platforms, blogging) and organizational (IHE, The Campus Computing Project) factors that went into making Casey's high-level analysis available to all of us.
We can also use Casey's article to think about the reasons why analysis on the edtech marketplace is so scarce.
Where is the demand for the type of edtech company analysis and commentary provided by Casey? Who are the people who are interested in closely following the companies, products, and people of the educational technology sector? Maybe investors, although investment companies can afford to pay for professional analysts and custom, proprietary research. I would think that campus technology leaders would want to follow developments in the edtech marketplace closely, but as Casey points out, there was an "…absence of any significant chatter on the EDUCAUSE CIO ListServe following the sale announcement."
Did you read Casey's piece? Why did you invest the time?
What edtech company analysis do you want, but have trouble finding?
Do you pay for this edtech analysis, or do you get it free from places like IHE?
Where else do you find this type of analysis?
How important is the ability to engage in a dialogue with the other readers, such as the IHE platform allows with commenting?
Casey writes, "There is a small group of people, on campuses and in the financial markets (alas, myself included), who watch closely, probably way too closely." The supply of people positioned to provide in-depth and quality analysis of edtech companies, products and people is probably fairly small. This sort of analysis requires an understanding of both the higher ed market (the buyers), and the companies that sell technology to higher ed (the providers). Knowledge of the trends impacting higher ed needs to be complemented by a set of relationships with the leadership of both higher ed institutions and the edtech companies. All this knowledge, and all these relationships, need to be complemented by incentives to create the analysis, and a platform (such as IHE) to share.
How can we increase the supply of edtech company analysis?
Is the answer in more reporting from our professional journalist colleagues at IHE, The Chronicle, and other news outlets?
Is there room for a specialized publication on the intersections of technology, education, and business?
Should EDUCAUSE play a role in this?
How can we support and encourage other leaders in higher ed and academic technology to provide more insights into the edtech ecosystem?