Joining forces over a year ago, three higher education technology leaders, Campus Management, Campus Labs, and iModules, merged to form one of the sector’s largest educational technology firms. Rebranded Anthology, the new company harnessed the expertise and experience of these organizations to develop industry-first solutions that help improve academic operations and the student experience. Jim Brigadier, President, Global Markets, Anthology, joined the company in July 2015, bringing fifteen years of education technology experience to the role. “When I joined Campus Management, we primarily served the proprietary higher education market,” says Brigadier. “To be successful in that space, Campus Management’s student information system was extremely versatile, especially in financial aid and supporting highly innovative education delivery models. In looking at the EdTech landscape, I noticed that this core software was extremely well-positioned for growth in the adjacent and adjoining market sectors, especially in the 2-year public and the 4-year not-for-profit space.”
In the past, many enterprise solution technologies for higher education and K-12 lacked the vision of being a true student lifecycle design. “Anthology came together through the union of three very different distinct companies,” explains Brigadier. “As we considered the combination of what these three companies together would look like, what became clear was each company’s decades-long commitment to student success and community engagement. Specifically, iModules enabled institutions to raise more than $400 million each year, which provided access to deserving students. Campus Labs provided solutions around student achievement and engagement that helped administrators align to their needs, removing both the academic and non-academic barriers to success. Campus Management provided the operational backbone, enabling more interdepartmental processes that supported the student journey from recruiting to admissions to the completion of the degree or certificate.”
Anthology’s combined technology footprint in higher education includes more than 2,000 unique institutions in over 30 countries with 24 cloud-based solutions that support the entire student lifecycle. “Our vision is to put the student first and connect data between the historically disparate systems so institutions can focus on serving their students, generating good student outcomes, and supporting the communities that they serve,” says Brigadier. “The combination of the three companies that merged to form Anthology resulted in a sum that is greater than its parts—bringing a collective power to the higher education community that helps to continue to transform the technology landscape.”
The need for innovative technology was accelerated over the past year for many industries, where organizations looked for ways to keep pace with a rapidly changing world. “The pandemic has accelerated digital transformational strategies within higher education around the world, almost overnight,” says Brigadier. “Transitioning in-class learning to remote classes and having the operations to support students was no easy feat. Institutions did what they had to do in order to minimize disruption and survive in the education world and drive student outcomes. As the pandemic continues to shift us toward a new normal, we are recognizing remote education—or at a minimum, hybrid learning—is here to stay. Secondly, the nontraditional student is now the norm, as digital learning has adapted to their needs across greater sectors of higher education. And third, I would say that competition between institutions is heating up. Students have more options than ever before and colleges can no longer rely solely on their campus experience as a differentiator. The hybrid learning model driven by nontraditional students is causing the campus experience to take on a whole new meaning.”
“A larger part of our success is our culture and our commitment to our mission and being part of a global education fabric. From a product side, we offer a complete modern solution with robust functionality and we believe that the first constituent who should benefit from any of the student information systems is the student. From that perspective, our implementation strategy centers around the student, and the faculty and staff who serve them. This mission-centered model aligns us to Edge and to the member institutions that they serve.”
— Jim Brigadier
President, Global Markets
Unlike other mergers that are common in EdTech, Anthology brought together solutions that were in harmony with each other, with minimal overlap. “This merger was very refreshing and unique because the complimentary synergies were obvious, even when they were completely unexpected by the market,” shares Brigadier. “Our combined footprint has challenged us to better understand the hurdles our customers face. For example, not every student information system and ERP software vendor considers how their solutions impact student affairs and the assessed student outcomes. If they do, the approach is from a third-party data information perspective. When Campus Labs joined Anthology, we gained insight into our customer’s unique challenges and our domain knowledge changed to include departmental solutions that were previously ancillary to our customer conversations.”
Anthology’s student-centric approach is interwoven into everything they do at their organization and how they support colleges and universities. “Our broadened perspective, our well-known deeper domain expertise, the partnerships we drive, and our strategy within our product roadmap have direct implications on how we serve our institutions, and ultimately, the students they serve,” says Brigadier. “I’m very proud to be a part of this transformative effort and I look forward to continuing to find new ways to meet the needs of students. The last two years that we’ve measured our customer satisfaction score (CSAT) has been the two highest scores in the history of the company. We were also recently honored by Microsoft for outstanding sales achievement and innovation as part of the Microsoft Business Applications 2021/2022 Inner Circle award. In July, Anthology won the 2021 Tech Edvocate Awards for Best Student Information System and Best Higher Education Leader – honoring our Chairman and CEO Jim Milton. An important part of this success can be attributed to our employees, or our Anthologists; nearly one-third of them come directly or have worked at an institution in their career, and our company has a natural understanding of the education landscape and how things are run on a typical college campus.”
Among all the accolades Anthology has garnered, Brigadier says the company’s partnership with Microsoft is a high point. “In 2018, we were named Global Education Partner of the Year. Our partnership with Microsoft is incredibly vital to our ecosystem and our go-forward strategy in everything we do. In fact, all our M&A activity over the years have been front and center to Microsoft technology.” Anthology was also recently selected as the ERP Vendor of Choice by Edge in its recent award from Public Bid and EdgeMarket. “We are very proud of this award and the opportunity to work with Edge,” says Brigadier. “A larger part of our success is our culture and our commitment to our mission and being part of a global education fabric. From a product side, we offer a complete modern solution with robust functionality and we believe that the first constituent who should benefit from any of the student information systems is the student. From that perspective, our implementation strategy centers around the student, and the faculty and staff who serve them. This mission-centered model aligns us to Edge and to the member institutions that they serve.”
For a relative newcomer to the not-for-profit market, Anthology has celebrated many accomplishments in the past six years. “Looking back at 2021, we have processed over $3.5 billion in financial aid, had over 6 million courses evaluated, 1.5 billion in institutional research assessment data points collected, and approximately $400 million in annual donations processed that are solutions and support,” shares Brigadier. “We continue to propel forward toward our goal of being the global education leader. Coming up, Anthology will be merging with Blackboard, providing us with over 150 million users to serve around the globe. This will give us the opportunity to provide an end-to-end solution that gives a complete 360-degree analytical view of the student. The merger underscores what higher education already embraces; allowing us to remove technology barriers from student success and deepen our commitment to the student journey.”
To learn more about the Anthology solutions available through EdgeMarket, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit edgemarket.njedge.net/home/solution-digest.
*The content reflected in this article predates the closing of the Anthology and Blackboard merger in October 2021.