Datatel+SunGard Layoffs: Monitoring the Transition

The reason for revisiting the Datatel+SunGard layoffs issue is I realized I should show you some ways to monitor the Datatel+SunGard transition. I decided this after reflecting on my last post Datatel+SunGard Banner Customers Better Buckle Up and reading through the 2012 Student Information Systems: U.S. Higher Education Market Share, Trends and Leaders report for some blog ideas, and thought I should revisit the Datatel+SunGard layoffs a bit more.

Vendor Management

A great deal of vendor management relies on having some degree of visibility into the vendor’s business. With publicly traded companies it is easy to obtain information on sales and financial health from SEC filings and analyst calls.

For most IT service providers you also have the benefit of SSAE 16 (formerly SAS70) audit reports. In the case of vendors for mission critical software, you might even have had the foresight to insist on software escrow which includes annual escrow audits.

But privately held companies enjoy  certain opacity to their operations and many take full advantage of it. Even when they have public debt and some mandatory reporting it can still be a challenge to gain meaningful insights without mutual non-disclosure agreements that are usually not very helpful.

Your other option is employees providing reviews on sites like Glassdoor.com for SunGard Higher Education reviews and others just take it with a grain of salt.

LinkedIn Company Profiles

You may be surprised at what you can learn from a site like LinkedIn. Now I am not an expert in everything LinkedIn but apparently researchers at Cornell University found that the resumes on LinkedIn are more honest. Apparently they conclude that it’s due to the public nature of the LinkedIn resume being open for scrutiny by coworkers.

LinkedIn of course uses the data from people’s resumes and skill profiles to form profiles of companies. So when you look at the LinkedIn company statistics for Datatel and SunGard Higher Education and the other SIS vendors covered in the 2012 SIS Market report you gain some additional insights not covered in the report.

You may even gain some crucial insights for your vendor management strategy.

SunGard Higher Education Company GrowthCompany Growth

To illustrate this I am including here the screen captures of the Company Growth data for the SIS vendors as taken from LinkedIn last night.

Using the SunGard Higher Education Company Growth chart as an illustration you see the chart reflects the net gain/loss of employees as people update their profiles relative to the companies peer group by industry and size.

Now if you are like me, when you see the SunGard Company Growth chart you might conclude the August announcement of the Datatel+SunGard deal caused some employees to update their resumes giving a bump in growth then flat. The recent layoffs won’t show up until the March data is posted.

Now look at the other SIS vendors charts noting RJM Systems is not included because they have only 1 LinkedIn member and no Company Statistics. (Click Images to Enlarge)

Campus Management Company Growth Datatel Company Growth

Jenzabar Company Growth Oracle Company Growth

Three Rivers Systems Company Growth TopSchool Comany Growth

If you are also like me you might note the growth of several companies that seems to coincide with several Key findings in the Tabellini Group 2012 SIS Market report.

Of course all of you can go onto LinkedIn and dig through the statistics with a standard LinkedIn account. If you do, you will want to look through the Company Growth Charts a bit more because they can be broken down by major job categories which might offer you some additional insights.

SunGard Employee Title ChangesEmployee Churn

Also very interesting are the LinkedIn Company Profile charts related to employee churn. The “Employees who have changed their title” charts reflects the number of active employees for a given company who have changed their title.

I am only showing the SunGard Titles Change chart here because Campus Management, Datatel, Jenzabar, Three Rivers Systems and TopSchool had no title changes, RJM has no data, and because Oracle is just so much more than SIS I left it off.

I will leave it to you to decide what that might mean considering the Company Growth statistics.

Common Employee Skills

Each company profile includes the 10 most commons skills found in the LinkedIn profiles of the companies current employees. This list is perhaps a more interesting insight into company culture than you might think.

When I look at the Common Skills for SunGard Higher Education and I see:

SunGardDatatel, WebCT, Enrollment Management, Blackboard, Sakai, UniBasic, Institutional Research, Higher Education, Financial Aid, FERPA

It creates for me an impression of the company culture. How do I get there you ask? I make an inference based on how the skills relate to technologies, products or customer oriented issues which reflects their needs.

This is a signal of sorts as to the degree to which the employees are oriented internally or externally as reflected by the skills which they find valuable enough to note in their LinkedIn profile. It’s rough but like I said it is an inference.

So let’s look at another for comparison to show you what I mean. And think about the results in the 2012 SIS Market report.

DatatelDatatel, Unidata, UniBasic, Enrollment Management, Envision, Blackboard, Web Parts, Financial Aid, Higher Education, Student Services

JenzabarFinancial Aid, Higher Education, Personalization, Educational Technology, Admissions, SaaS, Webinars, Universities, Registration, Solution Selling

Remember, it is entirely up to the individual as to what skills to include and as with any review of self-reported information it can be a very unique window into things. Don’t take my word for it. Go check out the others that have this data.

I realize this can be challenged which is why I am trying to just point you in a direction and encourage you to ascribe your own meaning to it. As you do, look for the big picture surrounding a company. Where do their employees come from and where do they go? What skills do they have which they value?

For the vendor you hold in the highest regard, how do your other vendors compare to them? Consider looking at the LMS vendors in the same way. Or even your own organization to a peer.

In the end I hope that you see you still have ways to do some degree of monitoring of your key vendors even if they are privately held. That includes being able to monitor the Datatel+SunGard transition. I would also argue that vendor management should have a hook into your social media monitoring strategy including measuring and monitoring their social influence.


The Higher Ed CIO


Comments

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jacob campbell @jacobcampbell |March 21 2012, 10:27 AM|
This is an interesting use of LinkedIn stats.

However, I would like to mention a hypothesis re: the "Employees who have changed their title".  If LinkedIn considers this a change: was - "Product Owner, SungardHE" is - "Product Owner, Datatel+SungardHE"; then, the spike represented in this chart will be bloated and will not correctly represent actual churn.

It is all worth further research.  Thanks for the suggestions.
//jacob
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Jerry Bishop @JerryBishop |March 21 2012, 08:56 PM|
Jacob - I had hoped to have received additional detail from LinkedIn by now but I will offer what I know right now and will update once I hear from the team that maintains company profile pages.

Before posting the article and again today, I looked over several profiles and the company pages along with reviewing the FAQ's and support info on LinkedIn. You can find the Datatel Company Page and the SunGard Higher Education pages using the company search. But it appears each of them also has an alias of sorts which employees can use as their employer of Datatel+SunGard. But there is no company page for that entity yet. If you try to view the Datatel+SunGard company from a users profile it takes you to either the Datatel company page or the Sungard Higher Education page depending on which company they are employees by.

Remember they are still separate companies and will have to do some gymnastics to move everyone under the new operating name once it is finalized. From there I imagine each person will have to decide to update their profile on their own but it is possible currently employed people using the LinkedIn Company Profiles for each company will change automatically but former employees will not. (that's one items I am waiting for an answer on).

So it appears any Title change is still attributed to their original company and should be until they convert. I am also asking LinkedIn what happens to the historical stats when a new company profile is created.

There's more but I will spare you. Good question though.
Jerry
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Laura Gekeler @LauraGekeler |March 22 2012, 02:11 PM|
Jerry,

As a Higher Ed community we are indebted to you for an excellent (and free) analytical tool. Thank you for walking us through it. Now I've got to get to reading that SIS Market Report!

Oh, I also wanted to comment on your recommendation concerning an institution's "social media monitoring strategy including measuring and monitoring their social influence" - highly intriguing. I would suspect most of us aren't yet tapped into those. 

I'm thinking about this subject in new ways. Thanks again.
avatar
Jerry Bishop @JerryBishop |March 22 2012, 03:52 PM|
Thanks Laura. I have had a lot of fun exploring the many tools out there offering ways to make the non-obvious become visible but you never know if people find them as interesting or useful as I do.
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Vicki Tambellini @VickiTambellini |March 22 2012, 03:56 PM|
Jerry,

This is an excellent and interesting post. Thanks for being a great contributor to edu1world.

Vicki


Jerry Bishop wrote :
Thanks Laura. I have had a lot of fun exploring the many tools out there offering ways to make the non-obvious become visible but you never know if people find them as interesting or useful as I do.
avatar
Vicki Tambellini @VickiTambellini |March 22 2012, 09:00 PM|
Laura,

Thanks for commenting and posting on edu1world.  What do you think about the SIS report?  I know that you will "tell it as you see it" so, thanks in advance for answering! Regardless of your answer, I want to encourage open, transparent dialogue. 

I would love to make the full report free for everyone that wants it.  This, however, does present an issue that perhaps you can assist us in solving.  How can we (TTG) provide market data that is unbiased and free? Do our members have suggestion? 

Thanks, Laura.

Vicki



Laura Gekeler - University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN wrote :
Jerry,

As a Higher Ed community we are indebted to you for an excellent (and free) analytical tool. Thank you for walking us through it. Now I've got to get to reading that SIS Market Report!

Oh, I also wanted to comment on your recommendation concerning an institution's "social media monitoring strategy including measuring and monitoring their social influence" - highly intriguing. I would suspect most of us aren't yet tapped into those. 

I'm thinking about this subject in new ways. Thanks again.
avatar
Jerry Bishop @JerryBishop |March 22 2012, 07:33 PM|
I received answers from LinkedIn support on my inquiries. LinkedIn will not convert the Datatel and SunGard Higher Education company profiles or automatically make any changes to people's profiles. IN this situation they advise picking one of the existing company profiles and changing its name to the eventual new name. That way they company will keep all of its followers which Datatel has 949 and SGHE has 3119 today. The downside is that the other company will need to migrate over and all the employees of the new company will need to re-affiliate to the new company name as will any followers.

LinkedIn also indicated the transition will likely create some messing statistics during the transition. This includes the stats for visits to the company page as well as stats on the company profile data as people change over. So depending on how well this process is encouraged given these are not company assets, it could take a long time before we can resume using it for insights.
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