Bb Learn Hosting Models: New global data for LMS market

Justin Menard from LISTedTECH (our partners in LMS market analysis service for higher ed and K-12) shared today that we now have the ability to track Blackboard’s Learn LMS hosting models. Self-hosting, Managed Hosting and SaaS Hosting (software-as-a-service, aka cloud hosting) are now captured in the data – globally for higher ed and in the US and Canada for K-12. This is a great addition, and to my knowledge we are the only ones to have this data in this scope. Head over to Justin’s blog to read more on the data additions. Also note that we will be validating and updating this new data over time, so treat this as our initial views. 1

Part of the reason this is so important is that Blackboard, their competitors, and many in the investment community agree that a client moving to SaaS hosting changes their likelihood of remaining with Blackboard, and not just due to the contract extensions involved in the SaaS move. The movement to Learn SaaS and then to the Ultra user experience remains the core of Blackboard’s corporate strategy.

We can now provide independent analysis of the global transition to Learn SaaS, whereas previously we tracked this transition based on public Blackboard statements.

Blackboard Learn SaaS deployments showing linear progression from fall 2016 to summer 2019, reaching 586 by BbWorld19.

Our data confirms that roughly 30% of clients have shifted to Learn SaaS:

Percentage of Blackboard Learn clients who are using self-hosting (44%), managed hosting (26%), and SaaS hosting (30%) globally

Recently Blackboard announced that they are making significant progress in moving many of their Middle East clients to Learn SaaS, which is impressive given the historical tendencies in this region to strongly favor self-hosting models. From the press release:

Blackboard, a leading education technology company for teaching, learning and student engagement, announced today that many of its clients across the Middle East continue to transition to the Software as a Service (SaaS) deployment of Blackboard Learn, the company’s flagship learning management system (LMS). [snip]

The benefits of moving to a cloud-based delivery model include continuous delivery of new features, zero-downtime updates and quicker delivery of fixes. Once institutions are on SaaS, they can enable Learn Ultra, Blackboard’s next-generation LMS, which offers educators and students a clean, modern interface and intuitive workflows.

Using our data, we see that the Middle East has indeed started a significant shift to Learn SaaS hosting models. In Justin’s post you can see that approximately 20% of Blackboard Learn clients are now on SaaS, and interestingly they shifted directly from self-hosting (i.e. there is no managed hosting usage in this region).

Percentage of Blackboard Learn clients running on Learn SaaS hosting model by country.

What is interesting is to look at the age of Blackboard Learn implementation for each of the current hosting models. In other words, for each hosting model of Learn, how long have those schools been Blackboard LMS clients.

For higher ed clients, there is a broad range of ages moving to Learn SaaS, yet for K-12 there is a narrow range of mostly 4-6 year clients that have moved. Part of this is likely due to K-12’s smaller support staff and budgets for LMS, which also has lead to a smaller percentages on Learn SaaS than in North American higher ed (19% vs. 33%).

We expect this data addition to open new capabilities for us to analyze the LMS market and its underlying trends. Instructure’s Canvas was created designed on cloud hosting, and D2L’s Brightspace has recently completed its transition to the cloud. The story is broader than Blackboard.

Disclosure: Blackboard, D2L, Instructure, and Moodle are subscribers to our LMS market analysis service.

1 Disclosure: Blackboard, D2L, Instructure, and Moodle are subscribers to our LMS market analysis service.