Here's why you should partner with a vendor for your CE division.

4 Reasons to Partner with a Vendor

"We are witnessing a major shift in the higher education landscape that is long overdue. The current higher education system was built for a world that no longer exists. The mass education system built for the mass production economy of the 20th century is inadequate for the demands of the 21st century."
– Mark Greenfield, Director of Web Services, University of Buffalo

Winds of change have hit higher education and institutions are being forced to look at their resources and reimagine their strategies in order to maintain their operations in the long run. Colleges and universities have often partnered with vendors on peripheral services, but many are now looking to vendors for help outside of these areas. Partnering with a vendor can be a good business decision for institutions looking to focus on what they do best and differentiate their offerings from their competitors.

There are a number of other reasons a vendor partnership can be beneficial to an institution. Here are four of them:

1. They bring the expertise

Good vendors understand the institution’s industry and the challenges that can arise. Through past experience, they know how to take their partner from discussion to implementation and beyond. Vendors, who work with many colleges and universities, also bring new perspective to a project and can offer innovative ways for it to be completed.

Here is what one administrator had to say about this:

“Just because we you can imagine executing an initiative or activity well, that doesn’t mean we you can do it well. Having a realistic perspective on this is crucial, because it allows you to know when to ask for help. There are nuances and intuition that come along with practice and experience that must not be taken for granted; vendors have this practice and experience.”
– Craig Maslowsky, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing, Excelsior College

2. They provide opportunity for long-term growth

When partnering with a vendor, institutions have the opportunity to develop the relationship into something that goes past the initial implementation stage. Through this, institutions can reimagine their own capacities and focus on growth in the areas that matter the most. As the vendor grows and matures, they add new depths to their offering, which in turn adds new depths to the institution.

Here is what one administrator had to say about this:

“Our partnerships have allowed our unit to offer programs that meet the needs of our population. They have assisted us in expanding our reach and our brand and they have helped create happy students who have been able to further their careers. In the end, our numbers and revenue hit a mark we didn’t think was possible.”
– Carol Fleming, Senior Director for Outreach & Engagement, James Madison University

3. They increase efficiency

There are a range of tasks that administrative staff are forced to complete simply because an institution does not have an automated or efficient system in place. Vendors can help implement software or processes that allow staff to focus their time on high value tasks to improve customer service and meet (or exceed) the goals of the department.

Here is what one administrator had to say about this:

“Building an online registration system that is secure, robust and fully functional is something vendors in the continuing education space have already done. Don’t waste your precious staff time reinventing something that is already available.”
– John DeLalla, Director of Continuing Education, University of Arizona South

4. They save money

A large draw for institutions looking to partner with a vendor is that it is a more cost-efficient option. Departments are frequently being asked to do more with less and instead of expending valuable resources towards services an institution lacks expertise in, institutions should look to outsource.

“As operating budgets shrink across the industry, many smaller institutions will have to consider whether to increase funding to underfunded and overstretched IT units or to outsource some responsibilities to a vendor with the resources to provide the services for a lower cost.”
– Leon Wyden Jr., Vice President for Finance and Administration, Tiffin University

When chosen correctly, vendor partnerships offer numerous benefits to higher education institutions. 


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Last updated: February 1, 2021


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