Can you describe briefly what IST do?
We provide schools with the tools they need to do their job as well as possible. So that the teachers will have more time for what’s really important – the learning part. Combining school knowledge with technology is our greatest strength. We not only “code software” but we use our knowledge to develop tools that really improve the conditions for those who use it. With half of IST’s co-workers having a background as teachers or school managers, we have a unique understanding of the challenges and opportunities schools are facing today. It is definitely a big advantage.
How do your products work?
We have a complete offering that covers the schools’ needs when it comes to administration, learning and scheduling. Our solutions are cloud-based, designed to help teachers, students, parents and managers meet the challenges of an increasingly digitized world.
What do you want to change?
We want to contribute in making schools and childcare facilities better. With the right tools teachers and students will be able to work more efficiently and spend more time on preparing for the journey ahead. It all boils down to how we can help students learn more!
Why did you choose edtech?
I can’t think of a more exciting area to work with! First of all, it is something very meaningful, and secondly, it’s an industry that is in extreme and constant change. I like its high pace and that we can use new technology to develop new solutions. There is also a lot to do in the area, it never gets boring.
What do you see are the biggest challenges in this market?
For our customers, the speed of the digitization is a big challenge. It is really hard for the schools and municipalities to keep up. This also poses great challenges for us, as a provider of edtech solutions. What we do must contribute towards creating the world’s best school and we need to be at the leading edge of the development and have one foot in the future, all the time.
The edtech industry itself also has its challenges, one example being that it’s really difficult for a small edtech player to establish in Norway. Product development is expensive, and it’s important to find ways to cooperate with others.
What are your next big steps or ambitions?
We will focus even more on the parents in the future, and it’s something we’re very excited about. From one perspective, to cover the municipality’s need for efficient administration, we have already supplied services for parents for many years. E.g. childcare application, absence report et cetera. But now we want to focus more on the parents’ perspective. What are their needs?
Parents today have both expectations and interest in being part of their children’s schooling and we want to provide tools for them to make this possible. How do we create the best interaction between parents and school? Another perspective is the modern family constellations, which require smarter solutions to ensure that the information reaches everyone involved.
In what way has being a member of Oslo Edtech Cluster made a difference for you?
Strong networks can definitely be a success factor for innovation and growth, and we want to be a part of the journey. The edtech industry is an ecosystem with players from many different areas and this is an arena where we can cooperate in an efficient way. Through cooperation we might be able to speed up the development of qualitative school digitalization. Also Oslo Edtech Cluster puts edtech on the agenda both politically and in media.
How many employees do you have?
We are now over 400 employees in four countries – Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Germany. 60 of us work in Norway.
Which stage do you say your company is at? Growth? Well established?
I´d say we are at both. We have been in the forefront of the digital evolution in school and childcare for over 30 years, but we are also a growth company. We are growing on all our home markets. Our plan is to employ at least one person a week until 2020 and also expect to invest 100 million in new products during 2018.