RIA Vendor/System Experience

“You can’t tell the players without a program.”

The vendors in our marketplace are changing regularly. Vendors and packages are newly Developed/Acquired/”Sunset” regularly; they come & go with frequency. Following is a list of vendors and packages that I’ve worked with over the years:

  • Advance – Developed by Business Systems Resources (BSR) in the 1990’s. They developed numerous copies to run on different database technologies (e.g. Oracle, Adabase, Sybase, etc.) I’ve worked with Advance at Arizona State, Auburn, Brown, and 14 other universities.
    • Advance was acquired by SCT/Sungard and sold along with the SCT Banner Advancement module.
    • Sungard and Datatel merged to form Ellucian still marketing Advance
    • Ellucian is now building a CRM version of the package to run on MS Dynamics CRM.
    • Note that BSR also developed a Phonathon systems called “SMARTCall.” It’s still available and interfaces well with Advance.
  • Sungard Banner Advancement – To complement their suite of university systems Systems and Computer Technology (SCT) developed (actually bought and enhanced a package) to become their Banner Advancement package running on Oracle. I’ve worked with Banner Advancement at Abilene Christian, George Washington, University of Southern Indiana, and 10 other universities.
    • Even before SCT acquired Advance, they also acquired the ADS suite of applications including an Advancement package. I worked with that at 5 universities including Baylor and Texas Wesleyan.
    • In 2004 Sungard acquired SCT
    • To broaden their reach Sungard also acquired PowerCampus (PC-Based) including its advancement module.
    • Around 2012 Sungard Higher Education was combined with Datatel and formed Ellucian (with 4 advancement packages)
  • Datatel Colleague Advancement – Datatel initially offered a Colleague Advancement package (in the 1980’s?) then developed a standalone Benefactor Advancement package for Advancement which interfaced with their Colleague suite of applications. I worked with Benefactor at George Mason University, University of Oregon,  Franklin & Marshall, Dickinson and 15 other colleges and universities.
    • Datatel sunset Benefactor and re-introduced Colleague Advancement in the late 2000’s.
    • As noted above in 2012 Datatel and Sungard Higher Education combined to form Ellucian.
  • Blackbaud with Raiser’s Edge, Blackbaud CRM, and Luminate CRM. Blackbaud started in New York in the 1980s. As they started serving independent schools, their name came from blackboard and baud-rate. I’ve worked with Raiser’s Edge at Bloomsburg University, the University of Alaska System, Westminster Theological Seminary and 9 other colleges and universities. I also have worked with Raiser’s Edge at 12 Independent Schools and 9 general charitable organizations.
    • In 1995-96 Blackbaud acquired FundMaster which doubled its client base.
    • In 2006-07 Blackbaud acquired Campagne Associates with its Apple based product. It also acquired Target Software (with Team Approach) and Target Analysis Group as well as eTapestry.
    • In  2008 Blackbaud acquired Kintera, (SAAS) offering. Then in 2012 it acquired Convio with its Luminate product, another SAAS offering built on SalesForce. Blackbaud seems to have chosen to “ride” the Luminate product but has kept some of the Kintera “Sphere” technology.
    • In the mid-2000’s Blackbaud introduced a Blackbaud Enterprise CRM (BBECRM) which has taken some time for acceptance in the market. In the last couple years it has been purchased and installed in a number of larger institutions.
  • Millennium – Jeff Shy built probably the first Windows-based fundraising product called Millennium. (He had earlier delivered a product called Educational Alumni Relations System or EARS. It’s true.) I have worked with Millennium at Binghamton, Wesleyan, and Rice Universities as well as 9 other universities, colleges and independent schools.
    • Millennium has had a long life and many owners. Jeff Shy and the package were acquired first by JSI and then Sage. Jeff left around the time the package was acquired by Abila. His daughter, Erin, still works for Abila.
    • Jeff Shy has most recently built the Affinaquest development system on the SalesForce platform.
  • ONE from Agilon – Via a long and winding road, Agilon was created to sell and support the two (three?) systems developed in Iowa. Iowa State University developed an advancement and fund-accounting system called Summit. Around the same time, the University of Iowa developed another package eventually called Ascend. Based on their heritage, they both addressed reasonably well the needs of a public, foundation-based fundraising operation. Somewhere in the late 1990’s to early 2000’s, these two packages were acquired by RuffaloCODY and were sold and supported along with RC’s CampusCall Phonathon system. Around 2005, Agilon was formed and took over the sales and support of these packages. They later merged the two fundraising packages into a single product called ONE (no comment on the naming.) This allowed RuffaloCODY to go back to its business of supporting college and university Phonathon programs. I have worked with each of the products mentioned here.
  • roundCause from roundCorner – roundCorner is one of the newer players in the market having built their product on SalesForce. I’ve reviewed their product at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and at SalesForce conferences. In the last year, SalesForce has introduced the roundCorner product as NGO Connect in the general nonprofit market and as Advancement Connect in the higher education market. With the teaming, (and what I’ve seen of it) it appears to be a strong contender in the market.
  • Portfolio from Amergent – Amergent is one of the leading vendors in the Direct Marketing space. A number of years ago they built Portfolio to marry the Direct Marketing and the Major Gift Management capabilities. I’ve worked with them at The Salvation Army – Western Territory and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
  • Jenzabar – In 2000, Jenzabar acquired four separate (small) college-wide systems and has updated/delivers two of them (one is windows-based and the other is browser-based.) The initial products included:
    • POISE from Campus America
    • Teams from CMDS
    • ? from Quodata
    • ? from CARS

I’ve worked with many other systems and vendors over the years, but this give you a sense of the players and the challenge of staying current with them.

Good luck with your systems. I’d be pleased to help you get through the forest with all these trees. If I might help you, please go to the Contact Us page and send me an e-mail or give me a call.

Charlie Hunsaker

SDG