Posted on 03/06/2019
John McKindland, Head of Solutions Sales at Nimans assesses the education sector.
What are the IT and Comms trends in the Education sector?
Money is still being spent in big numbers but it isn’t always being spent wisely. Too much is being invested in analogue telephony and legacy infrastructure such as CW1308 cabling and ISDN lines rather than SIP. You tend to see this at smaller schools with smaller budgets. Integrated voice and data networks are not being invested in which is worrying considering the ISDN switch off is getting ever closer. Too much ‘old school’ technology is still being utilised in a short sighted way.
Which products and services are selling well?
SIP trunks are gaining some momentum but one of the biggest changes is around sites looking for better use of their voicemail system. They want to be able to deploy voicemail for their teachers or department heads for quick and effective messaging. But they want to avoid the cost of buying everyone an individual licence. So they are starting to use services such as voicemail to e-mail. Group mailboxes where a DSS console is put into a staffroom and teachers can listen to their own messages is gaining traction. It’s a secure way of passing on sensitive information rather than being paper based that could be left around or lost. CTI packages are proving popular too.
How is the purchasing behaviour of this vertical changing?
I think there is a little bit more spend being noticed because there are more independent schools now joining forces to become a consortium. We are seeing this with faith schools too. In addition smaller schools are teaming up with technology colleges to share purchasing power and wider expertise. There is also more momentum around SIP trunks which is vital for schools and colleges to future proof their systems. Wi-Fi is another growing and huge area.
What are the major considerations for partners wanting to enter and succeed in this vertical?
There are a couple of key considerations to succeed. One is to get on a framework especially to target larger schools. But there are also a lot of schools that operate independently. It’s about having a relationship with them to become a trusted adviser. This is not just about best practice but helping future proof their platforms and use software and applications to improve communications. Sites can change their behaviour by embracing the latest technologies rather than just using it to make and receive calls.
Can you be a generalist or is it essential to specialise in this vertical…why?
I don’t think you need to be a specialist. Those with a track record and relationships with an LEA etc obviously have more credibility. Building bonds with Head Teacher Associations would help as well. Skill sets can easily be transferred although Wi-Fi and DECT cordless knowledge can keep you ahead of the game.
There’s more to Nimans than you think.
At Nimans you’ll find everything you need to complete a job from start to finish. From sophisticated telephone systems to data infrastructure and the latest Unified Comms solutions. With leasing, network connectivity and wholesale mobile services as well as installation expertise and a dedicated training academy, we’re here to support you every step of the way.
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