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Letter from the IMS Chairman and the IMS CEO

This post is the letter to IMS stakeholders contained in the recently released IMS Global Annual Report for 2012: Leading the Digital Innovation Revolution in Education . Join us at the Learning Impact conference, May 13-16 in San Diego to provide your leadership to the cause!

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Dear Supporters of IMS Global, We are pleased to present the IMS annual report for calendar and fiscal year 2012. Maturity and adoption of IMS interoperability standards reached record levels in 2012. This support from the IMS community resulted in record levels of revenue, membership and net assets, as shown in the accompanying chart.

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Over the last 15 years, education has adopted many “point” examples of innovation in which technology has played an enabling role. Today’s “hottest” innovation is the MOOC (Massively Open Online Course). Will it be another point innovation or, instead, an educational paradigm “shifter?” Neither is certain, but we are certain that the least risky strategy for scaling up educational opportunity while affordably improving learning outcomes is to tap into the inexorable march of technical innovation. For this strategy to succeed, institutions must be free to select innovative applications from a variety of sources and integrate the resulting foundation of new and legacy applications. The need for agile integration and interoperability has never been higher and, thus, IMS standards and certification never more strategic.

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The goal of the IMS work is to enable innovation through a broadly affordable, vendor-neutral open “platform” – owned by none and implemented by all. IMS open interoperability permits the systemic integration of applications from diverse sources into a seamless, agile and information-rich educational experience, within the institution and across the Internet through its partners and suppliers. MOOCs are but one current example of an innovation that draws on the leverage inherent in IMS open interoperability.

In 2012 the IMS community provided overwhelming evidence that open interoperability can provide a cost and time savings on the order of 10-100x, compared to current, widely used integration approaches. These benefits accrue to suppliers and institutions, all while enabling a more seamless, and thus more productive technology experience for students and faculty.

IMS launched the “Open Digital Innovation Revolution” campaign at EDUCAUSE 2012 to highlight that systemic change enabled by open interoperability can have revolutionary consequences in terms of the rate of adoption of innovative digital content and applications. Moving into 2013, IMS is accordingly focused on Open Digital Innovation as a core strategy upon which to build the education markets of the future. Indeed, an emboldened breed of leadership is already emerging from the IMS community of suppliers and institutions. These bold, but practical leaders seek to amplify the value proposition of an open interoperable core platform as a means to shift today’s education paradigm towards future learning needs. The IMS board and organization are grateful to these bold leaders, who are truly leading the scalable and sustainable future of education!

Rob Abel, Ed.D., Chief Executive Officer

William H. Graves, Ph.D., Chairman of the Board