At the heart of NJEdge’s mission is a passion to help members succeed by utilizing optimal technology solutions at the lowest cost. It is also key to their consortium purchasing program called the EdgeMarket. While the name EdgeMarket is new, the program is not. The program has been providing members the ability to obtain products that are in high demand at the most cost competitive pricing available for several years; however, many members are just catching on to the power of EdgeMarket’s range of services and solutions.
“EdgeMarket is our new naming convention for our shared services and cooperative pricing system, and I’m very excited about itbecause we are completing all of the legal formalities to better promote the benefits of EdgeMarket not just to higher ed and K-12s but to all public institutions in New Jersey,” said NJEdge’s Chief Financial Officer, Joe Rearden.
NJEdge is considered a State-authorized “Lead Agency,” and issues Requests for Proposals (RFPs) on behalf of all members for products that are in high demand. It is also why NJEdge is continuously looking for opportunities to find new offerings for their members.
Some current examples of EdgeMarket offerings include:
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- Microsoft licensing
- VMware licensing
- Cybersecurity solutions such as next generation firewalls and end point protection, as well as assessments and mitigation services
- And generally, high-cost or complex education-related technology products and services
One of the compelling benefits of the system is being able to provide cost avoidance opportunities to enhance the overall collective impact of the consortium. In so doing, NJEdge member institutions don’t have to create and award their own bids, plus they can get better pricing and service than if they went out on their own. In a word, it’s better together.
“Recently an NJEdge member was looking for a certain solution and realized that NJEdge already had a contract in place with better pricing than they could get, even though they’re a large, higher education institution,” Rearden said. “They were happy they could go through EdgeMarket and get the best pricing available, and NJEdge had done all of the ground work for them.”
While the consortium benefits all public and private institutions in New Jersey, it provides an even greater benefit for smaller institutions to find pricing and terms that would be impossible to negotiate outside the co-op. These organizations have smaller budgets and don’t have the technical resources on staff to develop bids like a larger institution is capable of putting together. Plus, all members are able to monitor any new offerings and NJEdge can provide quotes through preferred vendor, eliminating a lot of extra legwork.
NJEdge is also working with its other lines, like EdgeSecure, to find products and solutions that work together, so it’s a complete ecosystem for its members. For example, through this integrated approach, members can procure device management, anti-virus software and threat management consoles to work together to lower the total cost of ownership.
NJEdge also coordinates internally so EdgeNet, EdgeCloud, and EdgeMarket interact seamlessly so members can move from capital intensive on-premise IT systems to cloud-based ones with robust connectivity and easy procurement. Thus, schools can move from CapEx to OpEx funding for IT and focus on their core competency — education.
“The consortium approach combined with the thought leadership to help select the right solutions and implement them effectively is a tremendous competitive advantage for our members,” Rearden said.
Another advance for NJEdge is to combine their innovations in a new and unique way, bundling their services and products that benefit their members. For instance, if a member is in the market for a learning management system, the member could purchase a bundle that includes a digital asset management system, and a web based conferencing system, like Zoom video. This type
of bundle answers several complex educational needs and is delivered and supported from the cloud, without the need for any on-site hardware or other resources.
NJEdge is very excited to bring EdgeMarket to those who haven’t used it in the past, specifically towns and municipalities throughout New Jersey. By completing the State co-op registration process, all public entities can be confident in the legal authority to procure these products and services. In addition to every higher education institution, more than 20 school districts already benefit from the consortium.
“There’s tremendous opportunity to help, especially the smaller communities,” Rearden said. “We’re looking for ways
to be more proactive and illustrate the benefits to increase participation and further expand the economies of scale to reduce the prices for everyone.”
NJEdge has found that when their members succeed, they are successful and why this focus on member success is at the forefront of their mission. If you would like more information on EdgeMarket, visit njedge.net/solutions/edgemarket.