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Blackboard Acquisition may Solidify Gilfus Education Group Prediction of an Enterprise Education Platform

Combining academic LMS and administrative ERP functionality into EEP can help academic institutions gain efficiencies and intelligence

 WASHINGTON, DC (Tuesday, July 5th, 2011) – Friday’s announcement about the acquisition of Blackboard Inc. by Providence Equity Partners may bring the Gilfus Education Group’s 2009 prediction about the evolution of a new breed of Enterprise Education Platforms one significant step closer. Based on industry research, client engagements and frustrations expressed by thousands of higher education institutions and school districts, the Gilfus Education Group predicted the “Combination of academic and administrative functionality into a more cohesive experience” at Educause 2009, a major education conference focused on the effective use of information technology within education.

Providence Equity Partners already owns a stake in SunGard, a leading provider of administrative ERP software to higher education institutions. It would be logical for Providence to combine elements of Blackboard’s dominant Learning Management System with SunGard HE’s Banner platform to create a substantial Enterprise Education Platform.

During Educause 2009, the Gilfus Education Group also issued a whitepaper entitled Intelligence Emerges from the Enterprise Education Platform in collaboration with Datatel another major supplier of education ERP platforms.  The whitepaper discusses the inefficiencies and cost of fragmentation faced by most education institutions because the LMS and ERP have been disparate systems that have been extremely challenging to integrate effectively. The paper also reasons that “the Enterprise Education Platform provides a wealth of intelligent benefits and efficiencies, as well as time and cost savings to college students, faculty, staff, alumni, potential students, parents, employers, donors, and most other constituents in the continuum of education.”

Reactions about the Blackboard acquisition from students and recent graduates at the Gilfus Education Group’s Education Research Center at George Mason University were mostly positive. Lauren Heimburg, a recent graduate with bachelor’s degrees in both mathematics and psychology from the University of Virginia provided the following insights: “I think Blackboard’s acquisition will cause UVA to intensify its focus on online learning initiatives in order to remain competitive in coming years.  Enterprise Education Platforms can improve colleges and universities by enabling them to provide more efficient systems and facilities to their students and faculty and by simplifying their internal operations.”

The acquisition of Blackboard by a relatively financially stronger company can open an opportunity for further investment in the learning management system which could lead to significant additions and improvements of the current system.

Girma Syoume, a Public Policy major at George Mason University

The EEP platform can improve colleges and universities by adjoining the student’s resources, both academic and administrative, so that the student can receive well-rounded advice and achieve optimal success.

Tamara Davis, an MBA candidate at University of Maryland University College.

“There are many improvements that can be made to progress online learning and the acquisition of Blackboard will hopefully allow for those changes that are needed to be made,”

Jessica Wheeler, a bachelor’s of psychology candidate at George Mason University.

“Perhaps in the years to come Providence will merge key technologies in their immense portfolio to revolutionize learning management systems,”

Jeanine Joyner, a master’s of library science student at the University of Maryland.

“Without a change in management, it doesn’t appear as though this move is driven by a desire to develop an innovative educational delivery platform, so I don’t see the acquisition of Blackboard by Providence Equity as having any effect,”

Lisa L. Ogonowski, a Master’s of Education in Instructional Design student at George Mason.

“I believe the information that an EEP provides would improve universities because they could take appropriate actions, based on the data provided, to ensure all students are successful.“

Kaitlin Metz, a Master of Education candidate at the University of Maryland sees a bright future,

The Intelligence Emerges from the Enterprise Education Platform whitepaper is available on the Gilfus Education Group website at


Based in Washington, DC, the Gilfus Education Group delivers education innovation by bringing refreshing clarity and a pragmatic approach to academic and corporate enterprises through educational, technology, and business consulting. The company provides a wide array of services to clients across the United States and around the world, offering insightful and diversified expertise to the education industry. Since 1997, the Gilfus Education Group team has served thousands of universities, colleges, schools, academic content providers, and education and technology companies in meeting their mission‐critical planning and technology needs. The group consists of individuals of the highest caliber talent and experience in educational research, strategy, planning, and technical implementation services representing capabilities for meeting organizational objectives and compliance, evaluating education quality and outcomes, and supporting technical integration, infrastructure, and delivery.

Refreshing Clarity. Education Innovation.



Gilfus Education Group, 888.861.3375

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