Tambellini Takeaways: 2022 Higher Education Users Group Alliance Conference

Principal Analyst

Former Analyst

Top of Mind: 2022 Higher Education Users Group Alliance Conference
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The 2022 Alliance annual conference was held in Seattle in mid-March. While there were fewer attendees than usual due to continued pandemic conditions, the small numbers gave the conference a close-knit feel. Much like Tambellini’s experience at EDUCAUSE 2021, Alliance 2022 interactions were longer, deeper, and full of great questions and conversations.

In addition to the more intimate feel, Alliance 2022 was noteworthy due to the expansion of coverage. Historically an Oracle user group conference, Alliance welcomed other vendors and users from across the market.

Here are some of our favorite takeaways from Alliance 2022.

Student-Centered

Over 35 percent of all Alliance sessions this year were student system focused. As the student system market continues to mature, institutions are incredibly interested to hear and see more about the state of the products and services that might help them move their campuses forward in terms of student experience and achievement, administrative efficiency, and institutional agility. Additionally, as institutions face increasing enrollment pressures and financial hurdles, the student system will play a critical role in supporting prospective and current students.

Stay tuned for Tambellini’s much anticipated 2022 Student Systems Market Trends and Leaders Report, coming in May 2022!

Readiness Awareness

As institutions look to modernize their finance, human capital management, and student systems, institutional readiness is a hot topic. In preparation for a system modernization project, institutions must reckon with change management, staffing and backfill plans, skills development, resource planning, and technical readiness. The number of sessions and informal conversations discussing this topic indicates that there is work to be done and much to be learned. We heard from institutions that don’t feel ready or don’t know what steps to take next, and from software vendors and implementation partners dealing with institutions who started projects unprepared.

We have talked about readiness and change in our blogs and our research over the last two years. Institutional preparedness is critical to success in modernizing core technologies. Many institutions understand that there is work to do, which is a very positive indicator for the community.

Blending Leadership and Core Users

Over its history, Alliance focused heavily on bringing together subject matter experts and core user groups from across campuses. As Alliance expanded in 2022, more Information Technology leadership embraced attendance, leading to a fledgling blend of leadership and core users across the attendance list. This blend of CIOs with core users has the potential to diversify perspectives, session offerings, and broad appeal of the event for years to come.

In-person Connections

Even with the smaller number of attendees, Alliance 2022 highlighted the value and strength of in-person interaction. Virtual events certainly have their place and are an excellent tool for inclusivity and reach. At the same time, in-person interaction feels more natural and fosters a more casual environment that encourages spontaneous conversation and deeper relationships. Seeing multiple vendors at the same conference, ready to dig into details with users, is powerful. We are hopeful that the HEUG Alliance conference can be a focal point for these conversations over the coming years.

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Dave Kieffer |

Principal Analyst

Dave Kieffer
Dave Kieffer is responsible for directing research focused on finance, and HCM applications, data management and other critical higher education technologies at Tambellini Group. He brings more than 30 years of creating, implementing, and managing enterprise-class applications in higher education. His experience includes all levels of applications development and management in higher education. Among other things, he has been responsible for ERP implementations, mobile, and web development, application architecture and integration technologies.

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Rebekah Russell |

Former Analyst

As a former analyst, Rebekah Russell researched and published in the student and CRM technology space, concentrating on platforms that focus on recruitment and admissions, student retention and engagement, advising, financial aid, and student management. Coming to Tambellini from Western Kentucky University, she has served in various roles at the university, including student engagement and retention, parent and alumni programming, information technology administration, and most recently, as AVP for budget, financial planning, and analytics.

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