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Dell advises partners to turn the focus on higher education

Universities are businesses now competing for students and that means investing in more technology to try and tempt more young people through the lecture room doors

The university sector is a significant opportunity that the channel should be aiming for as further education institutions come under increasing pressure to use technology more effectively.

Faced with a cap on tuition fees, falling student numbers and the fallout from Brexit the pressure is on for colleges to use IT to attract more applicants.

The consequences of Brexit are yet to be determined but it could make life harder for those Universities that rely on foreign students to pay higher fees. It could also be more difficult to attract lecturers from abroad to come and teach in British institutions.

Added to those challenges is the need for universities to attract and retain students by offering the best technology that helps them stand out from the crowd.

John Bailey, head of education for Dell EMC, said that the same issues that resellers were helping corporate customers deal with applied in further education.

The need for help with digital and IT transformation, help with workforce systems that made it easier to use big data to service student needs along with security were all big issues in FE.

"Historically universities bought the cheapest solution and didn't think about reliability and longevity. We are seeing universities are now more focused on quality, manageability and security of the products," he said.

"More students are asking for value for money," he added "It is about degree outcome and also the process of studying for the degree and the core of that is all technology."

Sarah Shields, vice president and GM for Dell UK Channel, said that the range of further education customers made it a very large number of targets the channel could go for.

"We are going after the education business and it is a ripe opportunity for our channel partners and there is a huge opportunity out there," she said.

The other advantage of going after the FE market was the unlike schools, which do most of their buying and deployment based around the summer holidays, it was a market that required services and support year round.

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