With about 200 attendees, Evisions Conference 2023 was an intimate event packed with useful information. This year’s conference was the first in-person event for Evisions since the pandemic, with many attendees from previous years in attendance. My first impression of the event was how close the Evisions team is with its customers and how open and curious the company is about its customers’ feedback.
Most of the discussions were centered on Argos, the robust operational reporting product from Evisions. While the product was originally designed as a reporting tool for Ellucian Banner and Colleague, many institutions have figured out uses for the platform that go beyond reporting. With a data storage system that is broken into “data blocks,” the Argos system can also be used to perform integrations. Some customers leverage the solution’s forms and write-back capabilities to build small applications. The customer feedback sessions that explored the criticality of these features were particularly interesting, given that some customers are contemplating moving to Banner and Colleague SaaS—where write-back functions, in particular, would have to be rewritten in new ways.
Understandably, with a mostly user audience at the conference, there was some noted trepidation about moving to SaaS. Users have become familiar not only with Banner and Colleague customizations, but also with the deep data capabilities offered by Argos that may be more limited with Ellucian SaaS, where database access is limited. We also heard from Banner SaaS customers for whom Argos was critical to their success in conversion. I presented at the conference on the topic of modernization and explored with attendees (among other topics) the inevitability of integrating SaaS applications into their institutions and how they can prepare for that change, whether it be five or 10 years in the future. Though many of them recognize that change is coming, it’s not a prospect they relish. (Connect with me to talk more about these critical topics for higher education!)
As you might imagine, this shift to SaaS, along with Ellucian’s announcement this week of a more complete vision for its Ellucian Insights product (Watch for coverage of Ellucian Live 2023 coming soon!), places the Evisions Argos product in an interesting spot. Critical to many hundreds of current customers based on Ellucian’s lack of deep operational reporting capabilities with previous products, the utility of Argos is clear to customers with thousands of reports in their systems. This reliance presents more questions for Evisions and Ellucian.
Evisions’s strategy is to serve its customers in the best way possible, and the company’s open approach is refreshing. Evisions customers clearly value not only the product in which they’ve invested a great deal of time, but also their relationship with the company. The future of Evisions and Ellucian is being written as we speak, including whether Evisions will expand Argos abilities in reporting, visualization, and application development or create a SaaS offering, and whether the partnership with Ellucian will continue to thrive or slowly dissolve. These are topics Evisions leaders are discussing with their customers and partners today. Their customers know they don’t want to lose a great a partner, and we can all learn from that.
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