Jenzabar JAM Emphasizes Transformation and Modernization

Greg Law |

Former Analyst

Top of MInd: Jenzabar JAM Emphasizes Transformation and Modernization
Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Jenzabar held its Jenzabar Annual Meeting “JAM” at the Gaylord Palms Resort near Orlando, Florida, from May 31 through June 3. The company announced several new products and partnerships extending the Jenzabar One solution suite functionality. Key themes presented during JAM included helping institutions differentiate themselves, student recruitment, student success, non-credit learning with Campus Marketplace, financial reporting, and online proctoring. Attendees were also updated on Jenzabar’s progress in delivering its forthcoming cloud-native version of the Jenzabar One solution.

President and CEO Ling Chai kicked off JAM by welcoming more than 1,400 attendees and promoting this year’s theme, “Become Your Masterpiece,” which is a nod to Jenzabar’s Campus Movement vision of enabling any and all learners to “find, learn, and live their true calling.” Chai is admirably working to promote the vision of education to all. Keynote speaker Aimee Mullins (Team USA Paralympics world record setter) inspired the audience with her story of how she embraced adversity as a double amputee to compete in NCAA track and field events and later in the USA Paralympics. Mullins implored the audience to be fearless, curious, shed their egos, and accept being uncomfortable.

Jenzabar is tackling a multifaceted modernization endeavor:

  • Moving legacy customers from earlier Jenzabar versions to Jenzabar One
  • Refactoring the Jenzabar One system from on-premise to SaaS architecture
  • Migrating all legacy clients to its SaaS licensing and deployment model.

The company and its customers had the strongest focus on this last challenge, with the company enthusiastically sharing its aggressive roadmap and institutions reacting with cautious optimism.

Jenzabar emphasized that increased security and performance are key justifications for institutions to move to the SaaS licensing and deployment model. Institutions expressed their challenges navigating enterprise-wide changes while dealing with budget constraints and staffing issues. However, Jenzabar is allowing client institutions that commit to upgrading to Jenzabar One by June 2024 to forgo maintenance charges for their legacy system.

In addition to Jenzabar One, Campus Marketplace was front and center at the conference. Last year in 2022, Jenzabar announced its acquisition of the higher education enrollment marketing and digital media services firm Spark451. This year at JAM, Jenzabar launched its Campus Marketplace powered by Jenzabar, which combines non-credit learning with strategic marketing services and pre-built, skills-based curricula. Using Campus Marketplace, institutions can present an online branded storefront where enrolled and unenrolled learners can register for non-credit courses. It also offers institutions innovative curated skill bootcamps containing non-credit courses for the most in-demand skills delivered via Common Cartridges that can plug into an LMS. These skills bootcamps allow graduates to obtain market-ready skills quickly. While Spark451 and Jenzabar currently support different branding, Spark451 customers (and Jenzabar customers) attended a Spark451 forum that ran parallel to JAM called SparkThink.

Spark451 is integral to two Jenzabar One bundled package offerings announced at JAM: Strategic Enrollment Suite and Student Retention Suite. Each package aligns with its named business priority of recruiting, enrolling, and retaining students and includes relevant Jenzabar One products and Spark451 services. The Strategic Enrollment Suite is specifically designed to help institutions differentiate themselves and improve their recruitment and enrollment yields by identifying potential students and driving engagement with targeted marketing campaigns. Smaller institutions expressed their attraction to Jenzabar One’s recruitment and retention products as being offered at a considerably lower price point than a complete(and often cost-prohibitive) CRM system.

With a more direct proposition to the challenge of accelerating modernization for legacy customers, Jenzabar also introduced its Unified Cloud Platform, a holistic solutions and services bundle that includes the Jenzabar One Student, Finance, HCM, Communications, Financial Aid, and Unity Platform products and a set of third-party services, including an IT services audit. This offering has the potential to help institutions identify the optimal solution set to meet their needs and simplify pricing and bundling services to support readiness, implementation, and user adoption.

Three new Jenzabar One partnerships were announced. Jenzabar is partnering with leading financial reporting company Synoptix to augment Jenzabar One Finance for Cloud SaaS with advanced financial reporting functionality. Synoptix will allow institutions to customize financial reports around institutional needs, compare different time periods, and automate report distribution. Implementation of Synoptix in a Jenzabar environment is currently being mapped out.

Jenzabar also announced a partnership with Syncfusion, whose BoldReports solution provides a path from Jenzabar’s current set of legacy reporting solutions to a SQL Server-compatible, cloud-based, intuitive solution for the future state of Jenzabar One SaaS. This product features a WYSIWYG designer that can transform data into reports with visualizations such as charts, tables, maps, gauges, and widgets.

Jenzabar is also partnering with ProctorFree for automated online proctoring. The solution’s identity management system can integrate with Jenzabar One Student to verify student identities for the entire duration of testing. In summary, Jenzabar has a full plate. Their core focus is delivering their cloud-native version of Jenzabar One, but they have a broad vision across the product suite, which is highly positive. In conversations with Jenzabar clients, the sentiment was positive, and many are cautiously optimistic. Institutions are encouraged by Jenzabar’s progress in the last 18 months and by their aggressive and complete roadmap. Throughout JAM, Jenzabar promoted the idea of a partnership with its customers, which appears genuine based on institutions’ experience with the company through their transformation projects thus far.

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Greg Law |
Former Analyst
As former vice president of product delivery, Greg Law brought over 20 years of higher education experience to Tambellini Group. As leader of the research and analyst team, he aligns Tambellini research and analyst expertise with members’ technology enablement strategies and priorities through research insights, information and advisory services. Before Tambellini, Greg spent over two decades at Ellucian where he guided leaders in maximizing value from their technology investments. Most recently, Greg helped drive student success outcomes and institutional growth as a specialist in CRM solutions.

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