One of the defining features of the post-war western world has been mass participation in higher education. Pre-1960s, University was the portal to success among the social elite. But now people with at least a Bachelor’s degree comprise around one third of the population in most western countries. And in the last 26 years this industry, just like every other, has gone global.

The latest figures for tertiary education in the EU show 20 million students in third level education as of 2012.  And the EU gets 45% of the world’s total foreign student population. The total number of foreign students according to UNESCO is 4.1 million.

A complex global industry like higher education demands exceptional software products to make it successful and propel it forward.


This is the industry that Ellucian works in. Ellucian is an educational software company that markets a range of platforms to colleges all over the world. It started out as the merging of 2 companies who were already big players in educational software: Datatel and SunGard. The new company was revealed at Summit 2012 (this is an Edtech conference). The firm is based in Fairfax, Virgina in the US.

Over 2,400 institutions globally benefit from its solutions, supporting 18 million students across 40 countries. The Ellucian cloud platform provides clients services that include information systems (SIS), finance and HR, recruiting, retention and analytics.  It’s a global operation with offices in Europe, Middle East, Africa, India, and Asia Pacific.


Ellucian in Ireland

Back in February 2014 Ellucian bought Irish educational software company CampusIT. The Irish company was founded by Adrienne Taylor and Tony Sheridan in 2000. At the point of merger CampusIT had a client base of 30 colleges in the UK and Ireland including NUIG, DIT and the RCSI.

The company developed and marketed cloud based platforms that managed student services and student recruitment.

This new deal established Ellucian as one of the biggest suppliers of educational software in the UK and Ireland. One of the attractive things about CampusIT was the flexible design of its platforms. This was a good fit with Ellucian’s “Extensible Ecosystem”, which is the technology underlying all its administration products. It makes them responsive to the changing needs of its client base and the evolution of the industry it’s working in.

The Product

This is just one example of Ellucian’s technology portfolio. It offers a range of platforms that support many core operations in higher education. Their products are designed to help colleges recruit students; boost revenue and market share, support enrolment services; college administration; course scheduling and content delivery. One of  Ellucian’s platforms even manages student transcripts.

When its most popular enterprise solution, Ellucian Banner®, was rolled out in University of Oklahoma, the IT team there wanted a registration experience that was familiar to millennials who had grown up with the convenience of e-commerce and social media.

They wanted a registration system that was similar to an “online shopping cart experience”. Ellucian Banner® is based on the Ellucian Extensible Ecosystem (XE); this breaks the platform down into modules that provide it with greater flexibility and a high degree of future proofing because it can be added to and taken away from as the technology evolves.The Ellucian Banner® solution was powered by Ellucian XE technology, it succeeded on usability and reliability, being able to scale quickly and smoothly for the college administration team as demand increased with the start of term.

When Old Dominion University in Virgina deployed Ellucian XE Registration platform they found it extremely well suited to the established student practice of jotting down details on courses and schedules when they were looking at the old legacy system. With their new Ellucian platform students could use its drop/add feature to capture details about course modules, course prerequisites and timetables.

This feature could be accessed and used on any device, making the registration process a lot easier for the student and ultimately for the college itself.

All About Student Experience

The student experience at college is all important and a high quality experience, as well as being efficient and smooth must also be a personalised experience.

This is what Ellucian is aiming for with its learning management system (LMS) Ellucian Brainstorm™. It offers engagement that’s similar to social media and is accessible on mobile devices.

On the client level Brainstorm™ can offer interoperability: the platform integrates and works with other Ellucian applications like Colleague and Banner.  This consolidated system is designed to allow all the client’s teams to work together optimising the service and experience they can offer students.

Crucially, Brainstorm™ supports competency-based education (CBE). This approach to learning is flexible and again highly personalised with a student progressing through their educational programme by demonstrating they’ve mastered each competency on their course. The CBE is independent of time and place with students using online learning, blended learning (a combination of classroom and online learning) and very importantly, progressing at their own pace.

Advanced platforms like Ellucian Brainstorm™ make this possible and allow even more people to undertake tertiary education.

Ellucian has demonstrated keen instincts about how education is evolving, in nature as well as demographic and geographic scope. They are developing their platforms in a fast changing industry. In anticipation of the certainty of ongoing technological disruption their products are designed to be future proof, so that the Ellucian brand will persist and avoid becoming legacy technology.

For those of you who are interested in finding out more about Ellucian, check out this video below: Higher education happens here!

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