While the education market doesn’t typically have the deepest pockets, IT sales opportunities abound for solution providers focused on aligning with key trends. Below are just some of the areas you can find success:
Security is top of mind for many school districts so there’s been a push to adopt video surveillance solutions that can help monitor students and enable a more rapid response in the event of an active shooter event.
The traditional teaching model has changed. Teachers can use any or all of the following technologies in modern classrooms. Consider how many Software as a Service (SaaS) and Hardware as a Service (HaaS) sales opportunities you have with the following:
- LCD displays, projectors, projector screens—What you’d consider a traditional classroom now uses a variety of display types to give students more engaging lessons.
- Webcams, IP video cameras, microphones—Lessons can be webcast for students unable to physically attend class.
- Interactive whiteboards—With flipped learning, whiteboards play a key role in giving access to lessons and demonstrations to everyone in the class, whether they’re physically present or not. Additionally, leveraging multimedia presentations addresses the many different ways people learn.
- Wireless presentation gateways—It’s important to be able to project or display presentations and course materials to any number of different devices. A presentation gateway gives educators the ability to do so.
- Enterprise social media apps—Educators have realized there’s value in social media within the academic environment. Engagement, feedback and collaboration are just a few of the benefits.
- File-sharing apps—Learning aids and course materials can be stored and shared.
- On-demand video servers—Videos can be powerful teaching tools. Not only can they be more engaging, but lessons and presentations can be viewed anyplace/anytime. By adding indexing, videos can be searchable by topic, presenter and more.
- Team collaboration/persistent chat apps—Enable real-time teacher-student and student-student Q&A and information sharing. Text chats can easily be switched to voice and/or video. Additionally, past communications are archived and searchable.
Hackers and ransomware groups continue to target schools. In a stunning example from March 2022, 820,000 New York City public school students’ data was compromised in a cyberattack. School districts in every state are aware of the incident and many have concerns about how malware can negatively impact them. This is your opening to sell security as a service, firewall management, patch management, mobile device management, RMM, and more.
4Backup and disaster recovery
In the event network security fails to keep bad actors from compromising data, or a school suffers from the most common enemy of data—it’s own users who unwittingly delete something they shouldn’t have, a good backup and disaster recovery solution should be available.
Every school needs to accept some type of payment from students or parents for things like tuition, lunch programs, extracurricular events, and after-school care programs. There’s been a shift away from cash to credit cards due to increased ease, security, and tracking of electronic payments. Earlier this year, Chris Yurko, VP of Integrated Payments at First American Payment Systems told XaaS Journal that MSPs not only can sell payments but they should. “If you don’t sell payments, you’re missing out on the opportunity to make your relationship stickier, to upsell additional services—and you’re missing out on recurring revenue. You’re leaving money on the table,” says Yurko. In fact, Yurko goes on to explain that residual income from payment processing can easily reach six figures.
Digital signage is in use all over schools and campuses today, creating a lucrative HaaS opportunity and an opportunity to provide content management services. For example, cafeterias use digital signage to display the current and upcoming menu; athletic centers use digital signage to promote upcoming games and events; and common areas use digital signage to share general information about the school and events. In addition, outdoor signage is used to inform parents and the community about current and upcoming events.
Managed print services have been around for a long time, but they still have a vital role in education. Despite a shift to digital learning, many schools still rely heavily on copy machines and paper to print lessons for students.
9What’s Your Specialty?
Regardless of your area of expertise, whether networking, security, AV or payments, schools need your expertise. You also have the opportunity to provide total solutions by expanding your portfolio or partnering with other managed services providers (MSPs) or value-added resellers (VARs). But you may want to think bigger.
At this time of change, when schools are looking for greater agility, digital alternatives to legacy processes, and greater efficiency, consider making the education vertical and meeting the demand for new technology solutions your new specialty.