Each year Forbes ranks the 25 fastest-growing technology companies. Basically, they look for profitable companies with a minimum revenue of $150 million and a minimum market value of $500 million. They then look at sales growth and three year average sales growth rates, and come up with a list of the 25 fastest growing companies.
Why do these companies matter to those with more of an interest in education, whether it be because you’re an educator, student, or a parent? Many of these companies seemingly have nothing to do with education.
And while there may be one or two that might not have a direct impact, the vast majority of these companies are providing products and services that will impact how we learn.
I’ve listed the companies below (in ranking order from fastest growing at #1, and going down from there) per the Forbes list. Since many of the companies might not be household names, there’s also a short description of what they do.
- LinkedIn - LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet. We’re sure you’ve heard of it!
- Apple - We’re pretty sure you’ve heard of this one, too. Apple creates a host of hardware and software products and services that are pretty familiar to nearly everyone.
- QlikTechnologies - Qlik Technologies sells software solutions that deliver data analysis and reporting solutions.
- Athena Health - athenahealth is a leading provider of cloud-based business and clinical services for physician practices.
- Equinix - Equinix connects businesses with partners and customers around the world through a global platform of high performance data centers, containing dynamic ecosystems and the broadest choice of networks.
- Ebix - Ebix is an international supplier of On-Demand software and E-commerce services.
- Aruba Networks - Aruba Networks connects local and remote users to corporate information technology resources via distributed enterprise networks.
- Riverbed Technologies - Riverbed Technology has developed solutions to address the fundamental problems associated with IT performance across wide area networks.
- Cognizant Technology Solutions - Cognizant Technology Solutions provides custom information technology, consulting and business process outsourcing services.
- Shutterfly - Shutterfly is an online service that allows consumers to share, print and preserve their digital photographs.
- Sourcefire - Sourcefire provides cybersecurity solutions for healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, energy, education, retail and telecommunications companies, and federal, state and local government organizations worldwide.
- Solarwinds - SolarWinds designs, develops, markets, sells and supports enterprise IT infrastructure management software to a variety of types of businesses.
- ServiceSource - ServiceSource International is engaged in service revenue management for tech companies.
- Synchronoss Solutions - Synchronoss is a provider of automation software and cloud technology solutions.
- Ancestry.com - Ancestry.com is an online family history resource.
- Fortinet - Fortinet provides network security appliances and unified threat management to protect against dynamic security threats.
- Pegasystems - Pegasystems provides business process management and software for businesses.
- Rackspace – Rackspace offers a wide range of hosting and cloud computing services.
- Quality Systems - Quality Systems develops and markets healthcare information systems that automate certain aspects of physician/dental/medical school practices along with electronic medical records (emr).
- NIC - NIC is the nation’s largest provider of outsourced eGovernment portals. They build and manage official government Web sites, eGovernment services, applications and secure payment processing.
- Red Hat - Red Hat provides operating system platforms along with virtualization, middleware, applications, management, and service-oriented architecture solutions. They use an open source strategy to leverage a variety of open source technologies.
- Global Payments - Global Payments processes electronic payments for all sorts of organizations, including consumers, merchants, ISO’s, governments, and corporations. For those of you who use credit cards or pay online, take note.
- CommVault Systems - CommVault makes unified suite of data and information management software applications under the Simpana brand,. Simpana provides customers with data protection, including backup and recovery; data migration and archiving; snapshot management and replication of data; embedded deduplication; e-discovery and compliance solutions; enterprise-wide search capabilities, and management and operational reports, remote services and troubleshooting tools.
- CACI International - CACI is in the information technology solutions business – and their biggest client is the US Government, but they also service state and local governments, too.
- VeriSign - VeriSign provides domain name registry services and infrastructure assurance services. They operate the directory of all .com, .net, .cc, .tv, and .name domain names and the back-end systems for all .gov, .jobs and .edu domain names.
How They Fit Into Education
These companies did not start out as education-oriented nonprofits. They started out, and continue to exist, to make money. Let’s not forget that Apple is one of those companies that started out with a similar goal. Whether a company got started to make computers, systems, widgets, or whatever … it all comes back to generating revenue.
So how do they fit into education? Quite simply, the education industry is the next big untapped vertical for these companies. They all stand to gain from making inroads into education. Whether they want to sell a computer, software, servers, or advising school districts … the scale that’s possible in the education industry is nothing to scoff at.
For example, let’s assume one of these companies wants to sell a server to a school. That school buys the server. The school district then sees that it’s working well and buys a few dozen for other schools. Then other districts and states talk to that school district. In under a couple years, the company could’ve sold hundreds of expensive servers and didn’t have to do much marketing. In fact, I feel like I’m giving away the very obvious game-plan of all these companies (even though I don’t work for any of them obviously).
In any case, teachers should be informed that this is the way of the world and that every single one of these 25 companies will likely be playing some sort of role in education in the near future. Pay special attention to the companies that already work with the U.S. government. They’ll likely be playing a big role very soon. In fact, they may already be doing just that…