What Spotify Teaches Schools About the SaaS Model

on January 10, 2017

Remember buying racks and stands to safely house all of your CDs? Or how about those times you stood in line at Sam Goody for hours anxiously awaiting your favorite artist’s newest single? Better yet, what about lugging around your boombox (or Walkman depending on the decade) to finally have your music “on the go”?


Chances are, if you’re an administrator in a school district today, then you can relate to at least one of the questions above. The reality is that we’ve all been through the transition from a technology that was exclusively accessed on isolated hardware (CD, 8 track, cassette, etc.), to the digital subscription based economy: Netflix, Amazon Prime, and of course Spotify.

So, what could an online music streaming service possibly teach education experts? Here are three significant elements of partnering with a cloud-based tech company that might illuminate the reasons why so many schools are switching!

Say “Bye, Bye, Bye” to the Data Center

You won’t have to become an infrastructure master to protect and access your technology anymore! In the same way people were used to storing, protecting, and navigating the hardware setup for in-home media centers, EdTech gurus became accustomed to the routine of:

  •      Procuring/storing/cooling/powering hardware
  •      Ensuring security of the tech environment
  •      Storing the data center in a room of the school
  •      Assigning staff to manage/support all levels of infrastructure

Spotify is the perfect example of shifting the responsibility of space-consuming hardware from the end-users to the services provider. You’ve probably heard the terms “cloud-based”, and “SaaS” (aka Software as a Service). This means that the company provides users the access to content via the Internet, or app, for a subscription fee while taking the hassle of managing bulky hardware off of their plate.

“We Get by with a Little Help from Support”

Companies that offer the software as a service model can only survive long-term if they are providing customers with rock star support. We are existing in a world that craves instant gratification; therefore, when educators run into roadblocks with utilization of any application, it always helps to have a friendly support team in the wings ready to jump into action.

From implementation, to ongoing customer success – the education technology industry is definitely trending toward genuine partnerships, rather than the antiquated corporate response of “the product just doesn’t do that.” Think of it in terms of a constant honeymoon phase; if you are consistently let down and disappointed with a SaaS company’s ability to collaborate with you, then you can simply end your subscription and move on to a provider that is a better fit for the culture of your school district.

“Don’t Stop… Streamin”

On your journey to further explore the SaaS model for EdTech, just remember one thing… the difference between the amounts of access you gain from owning a product versus subscribing to a service is colossal. When you buy a CD for $15.99, you get unlimited access to an extremely limited bank of tunes. However, when you subscribe to an online service like Spotify, you gain on demand access to countless songs, by an enormous spectrum of artists for a monthly fee of $9.99 (less than the cost of just 1 CD)!

The same goes for software as a service education technology companies. Instead of installing, maintaining, and fussing over a data center, school districts can free up time, money, and resources by taking advantage of a SaaS centered, subscription-based offering.

To learn more about OnCourse and the benefits of subscribing versus buying, schedule a demo here!