Aaron Roberts
Innovative Learning Coach

I Need a Succinct Argument for Creative Cloud

We are starting to look at moving to Creative Cloud in my district. We have been in the habit of upgrading every three or four years to the next version. We started with Photoshop 7 and Illustrator 10. We jumped to CS2, then CS5. We usually purchased a site license of 500 seats for about $8k. That was manageable when it was every three. We are not looking at Adobe's Education Enterprise Agreement that is based on Full Time Equivalent staff working in the building. That comes out to about $8K-$10K EACH YEAR in our large building. 

So, my question is, how do I go about arguing in favor of this? Right now, my general argument is around the basic values of keeping software updated. The subscription model changes the game a lot though. What is the succinct argument for moving to Creative Cloud and the EEA? Any help from my EdEx friends? Any Adobe employees able to offer insight as well?

I have been teaching Adobe products for 12 years and students have won numerous state and national awards. I really don't want to downgrade my program to Microsoft Paint due to lack of a good argument. I'm also not the only one teaching Adobe products. We also teach Dreamweaver in our web classes, InDesign in Yearbook and Journalism, we could probably use Premiere in our Broadcast Journalism course as well (but we don't right now). 


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Adam Dinnes

Posted on 4/23/14 2:52:14 PM Permalink

Aaron, thanks for posting this topic! We are in the same boat. Only upgrading when it is affordable, and really struggling with what to do on the new subscription-based system. Last summer we upgraded lab machines to CS6, but have no plans to move beyond that in the near term due to the prohibitive cost. However, we will need to upgrade in the next year or two, so I am also be interested in a good succinct argument to help to justify the increased cost.

Michelle Dennis

Posted on 4/11/14 12:07:56 PM Permalink

Congratulations on getting it! I'm still fighting that battle in my workplace, which prefers to own products vs subscription models. Some of the arguments that I am using included:

  • Lower yearly cost as opposed to three year blowouts - which is easier to budget for
  • My subject, VET Interactive Digital Media, requires students to use industry-level software
  • Allows teachers/trainers to stay up-to-date and work from home
  • Fewer problems with compatibility

marcia blanco

Posted on 1/13/14 4:05:32 PM Permalink

Hi Aaron!
Thanks for this post. When I dug into all of this, I talked with CDW. If I remember correctly, all they offered were the "Teams" option. That's why I went with Adobe directly. Are they offering the individual student option?
Also, Can you clarify the EEA option that you mention below? If I have a student who is in my program for 10 hours a week, how does that work?

Aaron Roberts

Posted on 1/14/14 1:13:17 PM Permalink


With the EEA, your school will get a price based on how many Full Time staff members work in your building. It then covers every computer in your building. As far as I know, it doesn't give each student the cloud storage - like you said before, it covers the computers instead of the students. At least that's the impression I have. I could be wrong.

Here's a link (PDF Warning) that explains the FTE/EEA program in detail:

The document is marked as version 2 in late November, so it seems it's a program that's getting edited and adjusted to meet the needs of buyers. I was supposed to be in a webinar about a state wide purchasing agreement yesterday with CDW, but I missed it. I'll be talking to my CDW rep soon to find out what he learned.

marcia blanco

Posted on 1/13/14 4:01:09 PM Permalink

Aaron Roberts

Posted on 1/13/14 3:54:35 PM Permalink

So, it appears that all is going to be fine. I received word on Friday that this is likely a go. Some tips that I found:

1) Don't go through Adobe for the purchasing. They use third party vendors in most cases it seems. Our district has purchasing contracts with CDW-G, so that was easiest for us.

2) There are different ways to make your purchase. As Marcia pointed out below, you can do CC for Teams, but that has its good and bad points. We are a very large high school (About 3500 students) and use the software in the Art Department, Business Department, English Department, and a new Integrated Media Department. So, just covering my lab of 30 computers wasn't enough. Adobe's Education Enterprise Agreement (EEA) has you count "Full Time Equivalents." This is how a lot of software is sold now. Microsoft Office is sold via FTE's now. So, whereas I used to always just ask for software to cover a bunch of seats (we used to purchase 500 seats), you now cover your entire building (or District) through the EEA plan.

So, the upside is that we'll always be updated. Downside is that it's now a yearly cost. We used to just upgrade to every other version (we went from Photoshop 7/Illustrator 10 to CS2 to CS5). I guess now it won't be a whole round of purchasing meetings now - we're locked in, upgrades will be released as they go instead of big chunks every 18 months. Goods and bads. Goods and bads!

Good luck all!

Joseph Labrecque

Posted on 1/13/14 2:50:30 PM Permalink

The best argument I have is that if you don't upgrade to CC - then your students will be using old software. Additionally, as machine OS versions are updated - there is less of a change that the old Adobe software will still function. Frame the argument around the benefits and drawbacks to the students. When talking money numbers - balance this with the numbers of affected students.

Aaron Roberts

Posted on 2/14/14 3:57:43 PM Permalink

This is basically what my argument was. When they realized it was going to be the ONLY upgrade path and EVENTUALLY we would have to join in, it was an easy sell. We care about being on the tools that the pros use in most cases. We have a great tradition with Adobe products. So, it ended up not being too hard of a sell. It helps that our tech coordinator is a big supporter of student creations.

marcia blanco

Posted on 1/2/14 12:18:32 AM Permalink

I'd like to hear that argument as well. Perhaps I can get this rolling along with my experience.

I'm using Adobe CC this year and really hope to keep getting the funding to continue. Though it looks inexpensive enough, it ends up being roughly 3x the money that past Creative Suites have cost.

I also hope that Adobe figures out a way to make it less cumbersome than it is right now. CC for Teams is a bit problematic because it covers a station vs a student and (according to the tech guy I spoke with) means that students on the same station have access to each other's work.

I ended up ordering CC for each student. Since I only have 2 students/station, it came out to roughly the same amount of money as "CC for Teams" and the students have the additional advantage of licensing a home computer with CC, even if the platforms are different. This is a huge positive in that I have students from different high schools who, because of their geographic location, have limited access to my classroom compared to others. Though I'm not a huge fan of flipped classrooms, it is really effective for those students who can't get to school for some reason or other. I also find that students play with the software on their own, create some really nice work this way and come in with tips and tricks that I don't know about that they easily share with others. It's great. That is my argument towards fully funding this.

Logistically, ordering CC/student is a royal pain in the patoot though. Though each student account is paid for through the school (which requires a credit card, something that my district really frowns on), each student has to register separately, providing proof that they are students and (here is the catch) that they are part of an institution that is tax exempt. This sounds easy, but it was a real nightmare for us. I was told over and over that it can't be done. When I finally managed to get it done (because it indeed can be done if you are willing to spend hours on the phone with support based in India and where it is roughly a 12 hour time difference and no one is at their best at that time of "day".) they kept charging me for tax because the students didn't send our (defunct) state tax exempt number. I think that I have it sorted out by now, but I can blame a bunch of grey hairs on the chaos known as Adobe Tech Support.

With that said: Hey Adobe! Are you paying attention? These students are your future customer base. I know that they get a substantial student discount, but it is still Hell for public schools (k12) to justify the expense. Please consider this and figure out a way to 1. Drop the price and 2. streamline the process.

Thank you.

Rajesh Krishnan

Posted on 12/20/13 1:13:36 PM Permalink

Hi Aaron,

Quite a dilemma, happens every time when a package becomes a legacy version and upgrading is constrained by financial/bureaucratic bottlenecks.

It all depends on your student profile. For a novice, it really does not make much of a difference and older versions would suffice to understand the interface and workflow.

At a professional workplace, collaborative and sharing and team based projects, cloud based service is the way to go.

My take is, you could look at 10% migration initially, verify the benefits and then go for a 50% overhaul. Once convinced, you could migrate completely. This also allows spreading your expenses over a period.

Just my view. Would appreciate if you could share your decisions when done and your success, as defined by you.

Cheers and Seasons' Greetings!