October 13, 2014

Final Take-Aways From EDUCAUSE 2014; Keynotes and Conclusions

Wearables, 3D Printers, and Outsourcing Dell Computers

Now that all 400 EDUCAUSE 2014 sessions have concluded, 260 exhibitors have packed up, and the 7,300 attendees from more than 50 countries have gone home, here is a look at some final take-aways from the year’s conference. Clayton Christensen’s wake-up call to higher education is still reverberating within the halls of higher education. I’ll apply his disruption theory to Harvard Business School’s online HBX initiative in a follow-up blog. For even more analysis of EDUCAUSE 2014, see Wi-Fi Tops List of Concerns for EDUCAUSE 2014 Attendees, Analytics and Competency-Based Education (CBE), and EDUCAUSE 2014: Has the Disruption Begun? Storify captured the tweet streams of #EDU14 Daily Wrap-up 10/1/2014 and #EDU14 Daily Wrap-up 9/30/2014.

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning American biographer, historian, and political commentator delivered the day 2 keynote: the story of three presidents, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin Roosevelt who all faced severe adversity early in life; crucibles that forged their leadership skills. Each had their own leadership style that enabled them to accomplish great things.

Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor of SUNY System Administration

Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor of SUNY System Administration delivered the final keynote, New Responsibilities for Postsecondary Education in the 21st Century. The talk drew from the work of Tom Friedman, Barack Obama, Frank Bruni, and Jim Collins. Zimpher recommends using collective impact to accomplish transformative change in the ways universities deliver instruction. The transformation must include applied learning, digital access, seamless transfer, and multiple learning supports to meet the demands of access, completion, and success.

Presenters Maya Georgieva

Maya Georgieva and Emory Craig delivered Prepare to Wear! Exploring Wearable Technologies in the Learning Environment. Fitness bands were the most popular wearable among attendees of the session.

The session Prepare to Wear! Exploring Wearable Technologies in the Learning Environment was especially well-attended, indicating the strong interest in topic. Presenters Maya Georgieva and Emory Craig described the state of wearable devices for teaching. The devices include Google Glass, fitness bands, clothing, fashion wearables, and the forthcoming Meta 3D, true augmented holographic reality glasses. The future holds entirely new styles of teaching, and classes in completely different environments.

QR codes were throughout the conference

Once again QR codes were in use throughout the EDUCAUSE conference helping to steer attendees to presentations, notes, polls, and sign-up forms.

Tristran and his 3D printed doppelganger

3D printers and 3D scanners had a strong presence this year. Above Tristran displays a freshly-created 3D model of himself at the @makerbot booth.

mobile charging station

For once, there were plenty of outlets for mobile charging, including this clever setup to leave your device unattended but safe.

Clayton Christensen Describes How Dell Outsourced Their Computers

One segment of Clay Christensen’s keynote address, Disruptive Innovation and the Future of Higher Education, dealt with the sequential manner that Dell outsourced its computers to ASUSTeK. Christensen positioned the experience as possibly previewing the future of higher education. Dell, in an effort to maintain profits in an increasingly-competitive market, needed to reduce costs and move up-market. There were six steps in the process beginning with the outsourcing of the simple circuit boards that go into Dell computers. ASUSTeK Computer Inc headquartered in Taipei, initially made the business case to Dell that they could make the circuit boards less expensively than Dell and therefore Dell could increase their profits by outsourcing the boards to them. The decision to do so proved profitable for both parties. This was so successful, that when ASUSTeK later made a similar proposal to outsource the computer motherboards, Dell was receptive to the idea.

After the decision was made to outsource Dell’s computer mother boards to ASUSTeK, costs did drop and revenue remained the same, thereby increasing Dell’s profitability. Some time went by before ASUSTeK came back with a proposal to assemble Dell computers. Just as with the preceding proposals, ASUSTeK quoted 20% less cost than Dell was spending assembling the computers themselves. This would also have the accounting benefit of removing the parts inventory from Dell’s accounting books. Within a couple years, ASUSTeK proposed handling Dells’ supply chain and logistics, again at a 20% savings for Dell. Before too long, ASUSTeK offered to relieve Dell of burden of designing the computers, thereby saving Dell another 20% of its costs by enabling them to eliminate their product designers.

All of these steps were deemed quite successful, both for Dell and ASUSTeK. Now there was only one more step with these Dell products that ASUSTeK could take. This step involved replacing the Dell brand, and this time ASUSTeK did not go to Dell for the negotiations, but instead went straight to Best Buy. ASUSTeK offered a Dell-equivalent computer at 20% less cost.

 Dell outsourcing to ASUSTeK

Outsourcing often sets in motion disruptive business model liquidation. At each step, it made perfect business sense to outsource to ASUSTeK. Dell was uninvolved with the last step, which was between Best Buy and ASUSTeK.

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About The Contributor:
Bob NilssonDirector of Vertical Solutions Marketing

Bob Nilsson is the director of vertical solutions marketing at Extreme Networks. In this role, Mr. Nilsson leads the Extreme Networks strategy and programs for vertical markets including Healthcare, Higher Education, K-12 Education, Federal Government, and Hospitality. He has over 30 years of experience in marketing IT systems to Global 1000 companies worldwide. Before joining Extreme Networks Bob was VP Marketing at Clear Methods. Prior to that Bob held senior marketing positions at Digital Equipment and HP. Bob holds an SB degree in EE from MIT and MBA from Columbia Business School.

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