Vendor Partnerships in Higher Education

As the cost of delivering higher education continues to skyrocket, and institutional operating budgets continue to decline, many colleges and universities are turning to service partnerships with vendors to help serve students. Of course, there are a number of questions surrounding the melding of academic and corporate America. Institutional leaders face a number of challenges in this new paradigm; from determining what services to keep in-house to getting buy-in from all stakeholders to understanding the new roles of the institution and their service providers.


Understanding Postsecondary Service Partnerships

AUDIO | Understanding Disaggregation and Service Partnerships

The first step institutions need to take to evolve from the traditional postsecondary model is to understand their own weaknesses, then look for the best way to address those gaps.

What the Flattening Industry Means for Higher Education

Partnerships provide institutional leaders with a genuine opportunity to redefine their businesses for a 21st-century student population.

AUDIO | Vendor Partnerships Central to Fast Launches

Vendor partnerships for peripheral services were key to the University of Florida launching an online division in seven months’ time.


Partnerships for Periphery and Core Services

To Outsource or Not to Outsource?

Front-end responsibilities should be retained by the institution, but secondary services equally critical to students are good candidates for outsourcing.

Open Source Options are Providing Alternatives for Core Services

As technologies become more ubiquitous, vendors will have to compete with open source providers for core service products.


Determining What to Outsource

Technology Partners, Big Data and the Future of Privacy

While partnerships on technology matters are critical for operational efficiency, institutions must be well aware of their obligations regarding information security and privacy.

Capitalizing on Niche Markets in Higher Education: A Look at International Education

When accessing niche and emerging markets, higher education institutions can find success by working with service providers who are experts in the field.

Seven Responsibilities Perfectly Suited for Vendors

There are a number of functions that, though critical to student and operational success, fall outside the expertise and central scope of institutions.

AUDIO | Cross-Platform Functionality Critical to Success in Postsecondary Marketplace

A vital element of the equation for any postsecondary leader is to ensure that any outsourced solution is interoperable with other services and technologies.


Differentiating Higher Ed Vendors

Differentiating the Players in the Online Education Marketplace

While new entrants in online education may look for vendors to provide comprehensive services, institutions with mature online offerings are more likely to use vendors for tools that increase operational efficiency

AUDIO | Differences Between For-Profit and Non-Profit Providers are Slim

While there is a wide variety of service providers competing in the higher education marketplace, deep down they may not be as different as they might appear on the surface.

Why a Partnership? Assessing Motives and Needs for a Good Fit

The higher education space plays host to a wide range of vendors who all serve different institutional needs and priorities.


The Value of Vendors to Institutional Success

Seeing the Forest and the Trees

Vendors do more than sell products; they can provide insights and perspectives that support the growth of the institution.

Couponing Theory and Low-Cost Pathways: Service Providers Widening Access

By working with service providers, higher education institutions can create accessibility pathways for a wider range of students than they could by themselves.

The Value of Service Providers in Higher Education Marketing

Service providers can ensure institutions have a degree of industry expertise in their arsenal that would otherwise be unavailable to them.

AUDIO | Administrative Skepticism Could Hamper Institutional Growth

While service providers can help institutions achieve institutional growth and success, higher education leaders still do not tend to see vendors as strategic partners.


Why Is There a Negative Perception of Vendors in Higher Ed?

Exploring the Negative Reputation of Service Providers

Institutional leaders are more interested in entering long-term strategic partnerships with service providers than with a one-time purchase of a product or service.

Vendor Practices Must Change to Improve Student Outcomes

Institutions must focus on implementing good business practices, while vendors must recognize that student outcomes and efficiency must come before short-term profits.


The Business Case for Service Partnerships

The Value and Limitations of Service Partnerships in Higher Education

One of the biggest challenges standing in the way of partnerships between service providers and higher education institutions is the unfamiliarity institutional leaders have in partnering outside academe.

How Businesses Benefit from Service Partnerships with Universities

Service partnerships in commoditized marketplaces are valuable because they provide research and training benefits to both universities and businesses.


The Value of Keeping Services In-House

AUDIO | In-House Program Creation Ensures All Stakeholders are Involved

Developing innovative technologies in-house can ensure a connectedness with student, faculty and administrator needs that a vendor cannot match.

Outsourcing Continuing Education: Issues for the Institution

The commonly outsourced academic and administrative services change from institution to institution, but there are a few periphery tasks for which most colleges and universities look for partners.

In-House or Outsource: Deciding How to Manage Services

Though certain internal stakeholders may be offended by their institution seeking out service partnerships for particular functions, these relationships are critical to institutional efficiency and growth.


Understanding the Barriers to Partnering

Communication Critical for a Successful Partnership

Through effective communication, service providers can help overcome some of the roadblocks that stand in the way of mutually beneficial partnerships.

The Fight for Quality Education: Understanding Faculty Opposition to Partnering

When it comes to partnering, especially on teaching and learning functions, faculty have major concerns across a number of areas, including program quality and academic freedom.


Avoiding the Barriers to Partnering

Exploring the Ethics of University-Vendor Relationships

In order for a service partnership to be widely accepted by all institutional stakeholders, college and university leaders must be transparent in their aims and goals.

Traversing Internal Barriers to Partnerships

While vendor partnerships are critical to institutional efficiency and success in economic downturns, they face a number of critics inside academe.


The Benefits of Partnering for Institutions

Three Reasons Institutions Should Work with Vendors

Vendor partnerships provide institutions the opportunity to offer high-end services while simultaneously reducing pressure on staff and providing an opportunity to learn best practices.

Outsourcing Continuing Education: Issues for the Institution

Service providers free up internal time and resources to focus on an institution’s core mission rather than periphery services.

AUDIO | Service Providers Allow Institutions to Focus on the Core

Institutions cannot possibly have in-house expertise in every area related to running a successful operation, which is why service partnerships are critical to success.


Partnerships Across the Higher Education Space

AUDIO | Procurement Process Central to Non-Profit Private Innovation

By creating a highly diligent RFP process, non-profit private institutions can ensure they select the ideal vendor to serve as a strategic partner in institutional innovation and growth.

Innovation and the Public Procurement Process

Moving to an interview-based procurement process could vastly expedite the current approach to procurement at public institutions.

Partnerships: The For-Profit Side of the Story

The for-profit approach to procurement allows for a faster and more efficient purchasing and implementation process for major purchases.


Partnering with Institutions Rather Than Vendors

Looking to Institutions for Service Partnerships

Inter-institutional partnerships drive down costs and free up internal resources to devote to the main mission of teaching and learning.

Three Reasons to Seek Institutional Collaborations

Partnering with an institution can be just as valuable for a higher education institution’s growth as purchasing a service from a vendor.


Choosing the Right Partner

AUDIO | Culture of Innovation and Open-Mindedness Critical for Vendors

It’s not just colleges and universities that need to be selective with their partners; choosing the wrong institutional partner could be dangerous for vendors as well.

Avoiding Selection Error: Developing Strong Partnerships between the Vendor and Customer

Fear of selection error should not stop an institution from partnering with a vendor for critical infrastructure changes.


Differentiating Partnerships and Client-Vendor Relationships

Exploring the Benefits of a True Partnership

A partnership where both sides are clear in their aims, responsibilities and roles can have a positive impact both on an institution’s reputation and its bottom line.

Considering a Partnership or a Contract Relationship? Food for Thought

Partnerships can provide massive benefits for both the vendor and the institution, but only if both parties have bought into the concept.


Finding a Service Partner

The Critical Questions: Determining Whether Partnering is Best

(Lesley Snyder | Director of Continuing Education, UNC Charlotte)

Without considering critical questions related to mission, purpose and core competencies, institutional leaders will never be fully confident in the appropriateness of a partnership.

Six Steps to Choosing the Right Vendor

(Gary Nickerson | Assistant Vice President for Business Affairs, Oklahoma Baptist University)

There are some clear steps institutions should follow to enter into a successful and beneficial service partnership.


Making the Best of Partnerships

Ensuring Success in a Vendor Partnership

(Leslie Hitch | Senior Faculty Fellow, Northeastern University)

By developing a clear set of expectations and guidelines, institutions and vendors can engage in highly successful service partnerships.

Creating A New Identity and New Efficiencies

(John “Ski” Sygielski | President, HACC Central Pennsylvania’s Community College)

Entering into a service partnership allowed college administrators to focus on their mission-critical tasks and create efficiencies within the organization.


Managing Change in New Implementations

Effective Organizational Change in Higher Education

Determining roles, responsibilities and expectations prior to entering into a partnership can pay major dividends when it comes to managing change in an implementation scenario.

Navigating the Waves: Curtailing Fear while Managing the LMS Migration

and Mariann Hawken | Instructional Technologist, Bowie State University

Ensuring faculty are intimately involved with the adoption of new major technologies will support a smooth implementation and transition.


Implementation Roadblock or Change Management?

Faculty Technological Literacy Central to Avoiding Implementation Roadblocks

Change management issues tend to revolve around process challenges, while implementation roadblocks suggest desired outcomes have not been attained.

AUDIO | Outcomes Define Difference Between Change Management and Roadblocks

Moving to an interview-based procurement process could vastly expedite the current approach to procurement at public institutions.

Five Ways to Avoid Implementation Roadblocks

Change management is critical to the success of new partnerships that require major institutional adaptations.

Over the course of this Special Feature, we published articles and interviews from contributors across the higher education world sharing their opinions on these issues and many more, including:

  • How important is change management in new partnerships?
  • What are the biggest stumbling blocks in the way of a successful partnership?
  • Why is there a negative perception of vendors in the postsecondary space?

Read, comment and learn about what the this all means for higher education!