Leading up to the recent 2013 Educause Conference, Ellucian (formerly Datatel and Sungard HE) announced their version of CRM 2.0 for the higher education enterprise:
10/9/2013 - Ellucian today announced an important step forward for higher education constituent relationship management (CRM). Built specifically for colleges and universities, Ellucian Enterprise CRM enables institutions to target key constituent groups for holistic relationship building that leads to higher enrollments, more successful students, and more committed alumni and supporters. It includes solutions for recruiting, student success, and advancement along with general CRM capabilities for the entire campus.
The Ellucian Enterprise CRM platform is built on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform and includes higher education specific data models, business logic, workflows, dashboards, and reports. It takes full advantage of the Ellucian Extensible Ecosystem (Ellucian XE) strategy to enable real-time access and synchronization with the broader Ellucian solution portfolio.
This is an interesting development given that Sungard Higher Education developed and launched their own software suite back in 2007. In fact, SunGard Higher Education was named a CRM market leader in 2010:
July 22, 2010 - Industry analyst firm Ovum, part of the Datamonitor Group, has recognized SunGard Higher Education’s Banner Enrollment Management Suite as a leading constituent relationship management (CRM) solution in the recent Industry Solutions Guide: Selecting a CRM Vendor in the Higher Education Market, based on technology strength, market impact, and ability to support the student lifecycle.
The report states, “The Banner Enrollment Management Suite is a thoughtful and practical interpretation of what CRM should be for the higher education industry. Colleges and universities will find that the solution addresses their most pressing relationship management needs today and into the future with very little disruption or risk from an implementation and end-user adoption perspective. Consequently, Ovum recommends that when selecting a CRM solution, institutions should shortlist SunGard Higher Education.”
Higher-ed specific out, Value-added reseller in
Ten years ago colleges and universities typically invested in higher-ed specific tools for recruitment and communication from vendors such as Hobsons, TargetX, Talisma, the former RecruitmentPlus (College Board), or EMAS Pro to name a few.
The concept of value-added resellers or "white label" providers was foreign to the marketplace.
Today a number of higher education vendors have started reselling SalesForce.com - companies such as TargetX and Jenzabar. But for a higher education company - with the size and breadth of Ellucian - to drop their own software development and move in this direction, is a major development.
As these higher-ed specific platforms have gotten "long in the tooth" and have fallen behind in terms of system openness and capabilities, colleges and universities are opening up to "best of breed" solutions outside of the higher education vertical market. From the October 9, 2013 press release:
“Over the last several years, the market position of smaller, higher education specific CRM vendors has weakened as they struggle to keep pace with the rapidly evolving capabilities of this solution category, particularly in the area of multi-channel communications. As a result, many institutions are turning to non-industry-specific horizontal platforms," said Nicole Engelbert, practice leader, Industry Technologies, Ovum.
My Questions for Ellucian
I was contacted by the Ellucian communications team and offered the opportunity to speak to a company official and customer regarding this announcement. I submitted an advanced list of questions and I have an interview later this month with Mark Jones, senior vice president and chief product officer, Ellucian. The customer interview has not been scheduled at this time.
As a preview to a later blog post, I am sharing my questions as food for thought.
"The marketing automation software category has grown and consolidated very rapidly. ExactTarget purchased Pardot, an Atlanta-based B2B mktg automation provider last fall, Oracle purchased Eloqua last December for $800 million and SalesForce announced their acquisition of ExactTarget (and Pardot) this summer for $2.5 billion. To date, Microsoft has been silent on this front. Marketing automation and cross-channel communication have been the weakest components of CRM software. How will the Ellucian/Dynamics solution address this deficiency?"
"A CRM software should be a portal into all the engagement a student has with the institution. This means that anyone “touching” a student should be able to see that student has a hold in the Bursar’s office, has an upcoming advisement appointment, and so on, and act upon that information. Yet, institutions are departmentally siloed with the financial aid office maintaining notes in their system, the registrar in the SIS, etc. One office cannot resolve the problems a student may have with another office. How does the Ellucian/Dynamics solution help institutions address the level of change required for institutions to identify and take the next best action with the student?"
My Questions for an Ellucian Customer
"What does CRM mean to your institution?"
"What are your challenges with independent departmental solutions for contact management and marketing communications automation?"
"Student information systems (SIS) were originally pitched in the 1990’s as a way to understand the relationship with your students. Is your current SIS fully utilized across the enterprise? What capabilities are lacking?"