Demand by higher education institutions for modern cloud infrastructure rose significantly in 2021, led by further investments in cloud for finance and human capital management systems, according to new research from Tambellini Group.

Tambellini Group, which provides technology research and advisory services for the higher education sector, said the sector’s surge in cloud investments in 2021 was driven by delays in pre-pandemic cloud projects, and “strong market pressures to replace sluggish legacy technology systems.”

Leading the increase in cloud investments in 2021 versus 2020 levels was a 63 percent increase in selections of cloud technology for finance applications, and a 67 percent rise in selections of cloud for human capital management applications.

Both of those increases were part of a longer-lasting trend, as cloud selections for finance applications rose by 40 percent in 2020 versus 2019, and by 45 percent over the same time period for human capital management applications.

Vicki Tambellini, CEO of the research firm, commented that “many institutions finally had the bandwidth to resume long-term technology projects that had been paused since 2020 due to pandemic-related factors, and others that struggled with the limitations of outdated and inflexible technology were motivated to move forward and modernize.”

Similar factors are likely to drive increased adoption in future years, she predicted.

“We expect that the valuable benefits cloud-based systems offer in enabling remote work and learning, enhancing cybersecurity, and streamlining operations will continue to drive growth in the higher education market for years to come, despite considerable costs and downward budget pressures on institutions,” Tambellini said.

There’s also plenty more room for growth, the firm indicated, as it said that only three percent of the higher education and finance and human capital management market “have made a modern cloud selection since 2015, when such systems became available.”

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk SLG's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.