RM, which sells to schools, said sales for the year ended 30 September were up 10 per cent on last year, and profits grew 12 per cent. Revenue was up from £346.9m in 2009 to £380.1m in 2010 and profit was up from £17.7m in 2009 to £19.9m this year. RM shares were up over five per cent in response to the third successive year …
Hardware not bad
Their hardware isn't too bad to be honest.
It's the repulsive, forever breaking CC4 that sucks.
Remember one of their guys telling us they'd had to "redo the database" when programming CC4 as Microsoft's Actvive Directory wasn't up to the task. Oh how we laughed.
"RM says schools still buying its boxes"
Really? I thought most of them had defected to Dell. Oh well nice to see that Dell actually has some competition then.
"only 36 per cent of classrooms have interactive whiteboards for instance, versus 77 per cent in the UK."
Don't get me started on interactive whiteboards. At one point teachers in the UK used to teach, now all they do is give PowerPoint presentations on the "interactive whiteboard".
CC4: First edition was bad. SR1 was pretty good and ironed out most of the difficulties from SR0, and SR2 is reportedly pretty good.
Having worked on both sides in schools, I know which I prefer, and which I feel gives better service.
Used to work for them
I spent some summer holidays working at their Milton Park factory. The machines were fugly, but the folk they had putting them together had at least some sort of knowledge. I recently went into a school that had RM keyboards and DAMN! I want one! They're colour coordinated to help identify the key groups and stuff. All very educational and all, but they looked super!
Never been cost effective
If the UK government were serious about saving money then they should have put an end to RM supplying hardware to schools. Even today, RM computers are ridiculously overpriced when compared to equivalent hardware from other vendors (taking into account extended on-site warranties).
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I buy small bits from RM because I get free delivery, not bought their boxes for a few years - mainly price.
Since we ditched CC3 last Sept I had some fun discovering random chipsets used for video/audio on some of their machines and trying to find vista/7 drivers for them. I'm far happier with MS tools for managing the network rather than what they had cobbled together. CC4 looked interesting but had heard too many horror stories - and the price wasn't realistic for what it offered.
I wonder if they are offering Schools cheaper SANs than 25k EMC jobs and denying that the School could make-do with anything less...
Actually, they're not badly priced. Look at the RM Mobile One laptops - they're built solidly along the same lines as a panasonic toughbook (though not to same spec to save on the price) and as a school laptop they're great (armoured screen, waterproof, etc). RM One PCs are a great all in one desktop for school use.
Take into account a full 5 year warranty, and the prices are about what I used to get quoted from Dell.
CC3 to CC4: CC4 is a major upgrade. Having talked to a number of technicians who've used CC3, CC4 offers a lot of the functions that were not in 3.
I'm not saying that CC4 is better than plain AD or visa versa, just there are a lot of pros and cons for each side. CC3 and old pricing structures gave RM a (deservingly?) bad name, but the company worked seriously hard to improve both and have come a long way - but have obviously still got the reputation in some parts...
Quick, someone warn the colonials!
To quote Harry Enfield... "I saw you coming"
Maybe 5 years ago, RM had USP products like RM Tutor, SmartCache and stuff like EasyLink. These days the world has moved on and all of these things can be found in the FOSS arena. Having decent techs is much more important than bowing to RM's empire.
RM buy end-of-line components and sell them as new for another three years in platforms like the woeful RM One desktop (ours are always going back under our SLA, not one of the Dells we are gradually replacing them with has been a problem).
Some of their higher-end desktops are good kit though, but they never get installed in anything other than specialist applications - too expensive to go on the general desktop.
CC3 to CC4 is a huge cost for most schools, mostly just to support Windows 7 desktops. Thankfully for cash-strapped schools there is the option to remain on CC3 now MS have given the XP downgrade a significant stay of execution. Or go vanilla - it can all be done without RM in the way at every level.
Here's a clue to what's happening in educational ICT:
= BSF is dead - RM's main cash-cow over the last few years
= QCA was canned - so no-one is around to give GCSE equivalency to BTEC or OCR Nationals
= Many local authorities are questioning the voracity of OCR Nationals ICT in particular, claiming that the way it's taught means students get little from it.
= New baccalaureate omits ICT and Technology from the core curriculum
= 40 new technical colleges to be created to take students from 14 on vocational courses, removing the need for schools to deal with anything but GCSEs and A levels
ICT will no longer be a feature in the regular GCSE curriculum. Too expensive to maintain a decent level of kit in both age and numbers, it will become a specialist subject taken by a few, and is likely to be prioritised for the new technical colleges.
Welcome to the 80's - they'll be bringing back secondary moderns next.
Am I right? Well, it could all change next Friday when the next batch of policies from the back of a fag packet are announced. Whatever is the case, RM are at the top of a sharp downward spiral.
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