Making the Most of EDUCAUSE 2018: Four Days of Learning, Connections, and Inspirations

Vicki Tambellini |

Tambellini Analyst

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

EDUCAUSE—the largest and most important annual event for higher education technology leaders— will be convening in Denver next week. This year at EDUCAUSE there will be more than 275 exhibitors, more than 300 sessions, and more than 700 presenters. This event attracts thousands of participants that range from higher education technology providers to services providers, industry analysts, media and decision-makers from institutions themselves. In 2018, key EDUCAUSE topics include data-driven decision making, innovations in teaching and learning, evolving the IT infrastructure, security and managing and reducing risk, and transforming the student experience. Within each of these topic areas, attendees should expect interesting conversations around how emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and natural language processing, predictive analytics, and bots will be used to address each of these topic areas.

Nearly every major vendor has a strategic direction to leverage AI, machine learning, and bots to automate repetitive and predictable processes. A few of the more interesting use case scenarios include monitoring student behaviors, using chatbots to answer questions, help desk support, student recruiting, and virtual teaching assistants. (Look for Tambellini’s Top of Mind Podcast with Dr. Curt Carver on AI and chatbots in higher education coming up in January.) As The Tambellini Group meets with institutions across the country, interest around these emerging technologies are starting to enter every conversation. Institutions are interested in understanding just how these technologies are relevant to higher education. Roadmaps from leading ERP and student vendors, such as Campus Management, Oracle, Unit4, and Workday, include plans to incorporate AI, machine learning, and bots into core finance, HCM, and student solutions, as well as, predictive modelling that can be used to manage expenses, employee recruitment, and talent management.


This year brings at least one new student solution vendor to the U.S. market. Unifyed, an EDUCAUSE Bronze Sponsor, will be in Booth #641 demonstrating their student engagement and communications solutions. Security solution providers will also have a significant presence this year at EDUCAUSE, as this topic is top of mind for institutions. Fischer Identity, a Bronze Sponsor, will be available to showcase their identity and access management suite, which is gaining traction within higher education. Other top security vendors that will be present include Duo Security, ForgeRock, IBM, Okta, and Oracle. Many institutions are interested in moving their identity and access management platform from on premises to the cloud. Several security vendors are also investing in AI, machine learning, and bots to automatically identify suspicious behaviors and take appropriate actions.

During EDUCAUSE attendees will have unparalleled access to information, vendor executives, training, colleagues, and parties. There is so much to see, learn, and do during EDUCAUSE, that some advance planning is recommended. Vendor executives have been booked for weeks, but there’s still time to see demos on the exhibit hall floor. You will also be able to snag invitations to the best parties, although you may have to ask for the invitation if you have not received one in advance.

Institutions that are looking at iPaaS solutions will find the top vendors exhibiting this year. Several of the iPaaS solution providers do not have dedicated education business units, so EDUCAUSE provides an excellent opportunity to get information quickly and easily. Leading best-of-breed technology provides in the areas of student recruiting and admissions (Campus Management, Enrollment Rx, Microsoft, TargetX, Salesforce, Slate for Admissions), student success (Ellucian, Hobsons Salesforce, Starfish, TargetX), and advancement (Affinaquest, Blackbaud, Ellucian CRM, Salesforce, Slate for Advancement) will also be attending. This presents a great opportunity for institutions to meet the vendors and compare and contrast the various solutions. For those institutions that would like to set up vendor meetings, there are forms to request a vendor meeting on the EDUCAUSE website.

With more than 700 presenters, some of the most anticipated sessions are led by peers. Lessons learned, best practices and case studies are always well attended. Casey Green’s Campus Computing Survey results are an annual highlight.

As the week approaches, The Tambellini Group is finalizing every hour of the week. There should be some new vendor announcements to garner the attention of the group. October has already delivered a number of major conferences including Unit4 Connect, Oracle Open World, Dreamforce, and Workday Rising. During each of the user conferences, the vendors held higher education tracks.

Tambellini is looking forward to attending EDUCAUSE and to writing about the event and what we learn while we are there. EDUCAUSE also provides a great venue for us to reconnect with many of you. This year Tambellini will have three representatives at EDUCAUSE—Vicki Tambellini, President and CEO; Jeff Levine, Director of Digital Marketing; and Jacqueline Cherie, Director of Client Services. If you see us, please say hello.

Travel safely.

Are you considering replacing your SIS, HCM, or finance solution and need advice? Tambellini helps institutions of all types and sizes understand the higher education technology market and the best fit options they may want to evaluate. Tambellini is a small, woman-owned business and has served higher education exclusively since 2001. Our analysts work with institutions on data-driven market trends (what your peers doing and why), covering every major strategic IT decision faced by institutions today. Tambellini can support you with technology selection and evaluation, vendor negotiations, and CISO advisory services. Members can contact Jacqueline Cherie to discuss your technology advisory needs. If you are not a member and would like to learn more about our services, check out or contact Client Services.


©Copyright 2018, The Tambellini Group. All Rights Reserved.
Photo Credits:

Share Article:

Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Vicki Tambellini |

Tambellini Analyst

Vicki Tambellini
Vicki Tambellini, President and CEO for The Tambellini Group, has more than 30 years of experience and is an award-winning software company executive, author, blogger, consultant, guest-speaker, and entrepreneur. She has received numerous awards and honors from companies including PeopleSoft, Oracle, and NCR. She has been a guest speaker at SACUBO, the Oracle HEUG, ELearning! Summit Events, Smart Woman’s Network, Richmond Venture Forum, and numerous private venues. Ms. Tambellini founded The Tambellini Group in 2001.

Work Better, Smarter, and Faster with the Tambellini Group

Higher Education Institutions


Solution Providers & Investors

market insights

Become a Member of The Tambellini Group.

Get exclusive access to higher education analysts, rich research, premium publications, and advisory services.

Be a Top of Mind Podcast featured guest

Request a Briefing with a Tambellini Analyst

Suggest your research topics

Subscribe to Tambellini's Top of Mind.

Weekly email featuring higher education blog articles, infographics or podcasts.