- A major shift in the churning university learning management software sector has grabbed the attention of analysts as the most popular application for 20 years apparently has been unseated, according to a prominent consultant.
- Michael Feldstein, a partner at MindWires and co-publisher of e-Literate, in a blog post this week called it a “stunning development” that cloud-based Canvas is now installed at 1,218 institutions in the U.S. and Blackboard, which long controlled the market, is used at 1,216.
- At its peak after acquiring another major tech firm, Blackboard controlled about 70% of the market in the U.S. and Canada, but Canvas and others have knocked its share down to 28%. Blackboard officials said the data is not accurate and doesn’t reflect Blackboard’s reach through its other products and its collaboration with other companies at higher education institutions.
Feldstein said Canvas made strides by offering a cloud-based system with a user-friendly interface and a brash marketing campaign.
Last week Cornell University reportedly switched from Blackboard to Canvas, which was significant because it left only one ivy league institution still using Blackboard, and because Blackboard had its roots at the university. A Cornell official reported that the university chose Canvas over Blackboard’s new Ultra application and the Brightspace application after piloting all three.
Blackboard is facing financial challenges, according to Feldstein, because its upgrades may not satisfy customers and the private equity structure of its ownership “is in financial peril”. Critics say Blackboard’s move into cloud-based arena has been too slow.
Some analysts say more generally that cloud-based applications are growing more popular at colleges, though others are warning about the value of such moves.
International Data Corp. reports that cloud computing results in more than a third of all IT spending worldwide, and another consulting firm predicts that half of global enterprises currently using the cloud for some functions will have complete cloud based systems by 2021.