In October 2013, Ellucian announced a major change to their CRM software strategy abandoning previous development efforts of their own platform and instead using Microsoft Dynamics CRM. I had the opportunity to speak with Mark Jones, Senior Vice President & Chief Product Officer of Ellucian, to get his thoughts on this change and higher education CRM, in general.
Ellucian is a leading higher education solutions company offering a broad portfolio of technology software and services serving over 2,400 institutions in 40 countries around the world.
Tim Copeland: In 2007, the former SunGard Higher Education announced the developed of Banner Enrollment Management with the central premise of a CRM-like platform built upon the Banner student information system. The new strategy is an “about face” … what’s driving the change in your strategy?
Mark Jones, Ellucian: Okay. So the starting point which is pretty obvious is that, the notion of CRM, even on campuses which may be lagging corporate a little bit in terms of usage and specification, has clearly become an area of high interest, particularly in the revenue generating parts of the campus: admissions, advancement, that sort of thing, even continuing education.
We took a pretty hard look at outsourcing the core plumbing piece of (the software) and instead focusing on leveraging our investment around deep integration of all the potential data (points) that actually make CRM meaningful, across campus.
We focused on taking the integration piece and moving to a platform to get to market faster. Frankly, it makes sense for us to focus on our foundational capability over time, spending our investment on the functionality linked to higher education and the deep integration with our student information, finance, and human resources systems.