OPM assessment identifies capability combinations.

The HolonIQ OPM Capability Framework identifies six main types of OPX service bundles, with some interesting new combinations emerging.

Education Intelligence Unit

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January 7, 2020

New players, various business models, and a mixture of services bundles sees the broader OPX category continue to evolve as universities and other education providers seek partners with a range of capabilities to enable and support institutions' online objectives.

While universities are developing their own online learning capabilities, OPM’s with full-service integrated offerings maintain a strong value proposition.  However, a growing trend in the market is the fully unbundled or bespoke bundle of services, picking up those institutions who just need to plug gaps in their expertise or solve specific problems. The HolonIQ OPM Capability Framework identifies six main types of OPX service bundles, with some interesting new combinations emerging.

Growing Market. Evolving Models.

The Global OPM Market makes up less than 10% of the Global Online HE Market and will grow at 16% CAGR through to 2025, reflecting strong contractual growth over the next five years and enrolment growth from the already contracted pipeline of partnerships.

New OPM players, various business models, and a mixture of services bundles sees the broader OPX category continue to evolve as universities and other education providers seek partners with a range of capabilities to enable and support institutions’ online objectives.

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16-Point Framework.

With feedback from the HolonIQ Global Executive Panel, we have built an Open-Source 16-point capability framework to benchmark Universities as well as OPMs and OPX landscape players. The framework identifies four major capability blocks that an organization requires to effectively design, develop and deliver online higher education.

Program Design & Development is a core activity for online programs through collaboration between faculty, learning designers and technology specialists. Student Information and Learning Environments underpin all stages of the business and services from identifying prospective students, enrolment, through to analytics and reporting. Marketing & Enrolment Services is a foundation to success through analyzing market demand, lead generation and managing enrolment. Program Delivery & Student Success encompasses program administration and learning delivery as well as providing high levels of student support, personalized coaching through to career services.

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Traditional and Emerging Capability Patterns

The HolonIQ OPM Capability Framework identifies six main types of OPX service bundles, with some interesting new combinations emerging.

Full Service providers offer services across most if not all of the 16 capability areas. Specialists typically provide services in one quadrant only, often Marketing & Recruitment,  Student Success, or Tech & Analytics. Further specialization within quadrants, such as Career Services, is also now appearing as a clear model. New Combinations of capabilities represent evolving needs of universities and growing interdependencies between different parts of online education as it becomes more sophisticated.

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1 - 2. Traditional Capabilities.

Generalist OPM’s who offer a full set of services across the four quadrants of the Capability Framework make up a large proportion of providers. Large and longstanding players such as 2U, BISK, Capabilia, Everspring, KeyPath, Learning House, Noodle, Orbis and Pearson fall into this category, having been assessed with capabilities in all or most of the 16 areas. MOOC providers such as Coursera, edX and FutureLearn who have moved into the OPM adjacency are also identified with capabilities across all areas.

Identifying market demand, lead generation and conversion through to enrolment management for online programs has traditionally been challenging for campus-based, school-leaver focused universities. A large proportion of OPM providers support Universities in this part of the value chain including those who concentrate services in this area such as Focus EduSolutions, Helix Education and Education Dynamics. For some specialists in the marketing & growth area, higher education is only one of their verticals, in which they’ve found solid demand – Sextant Marketing, Kiosk & three five two fall in this category.

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3-4. Niche Strengths.

In the Program Delivery and Student Support quadrant, Retention Support rated the highest area of service, followed by Learning & Delivery Administration then Faculty Support. Many full service providers including Emeritus, UpGrad and Wiley offer Faculty services and support along with some niche players such as iLaw.

Across all the capability blocks, provision of career and placement services was rated the least serviced area for OPM’s.  However,  new models such as Instride, Cintana and even Outlier join the ranks of Straighterline and others driving innovation and support to universities in the transition to work – an increasingly competitive space for universities and arguably harder to deliver for remote and online students.

Technology and Analytics is another quadrant being serviced by those with existing capabilities in this area such as MOOCs and LMS providers – Blackboard, OpenLearning as examples.  Online universities, such as Grand Canyon and SNHU are also starting to develop their internal tech capabilities to service other institutions in OPM-like capacities.

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5-6. New Combinations.

Curriculum and course design, traditionally owned by Faculty alone, requires additional expertise for online delivery including learning design, user experience and technology know-how. Those with longstanding capabilities in online curriculum design such as MOOCs, some publishers, online universities have strength in this quadrant along with many full service OPM providers.

The service combination of Tech + Curriculum see evolving models like Minerva, OpenLearning and Huikedu bring proprietary technology and curriculum to play in new and exciting ways for institutions.

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