Making the Grade

IBM and HigherMarkets target higher education market

ARMONK, N.Y. and SAN FRANCISCO  BUSINESSWIRE  January 23, 2001  Do you call it B2S? Business-to-schools solutions, like business-to-government, are sprouting up at an increasing pace, and may have reached acronym-status. Last month, Emory teamed with ProcureNet to e-enable their supply chain. And now, IBM and HigherMarkets have aligned to target the higher education market, already snagging RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute).

HigherMarkets, as its name implies, has jumped into this budding space by providing e-commerce solutions specifically for educational institutions. In addition, the company recently announced a preferred provider agreement with IBM in which IBM agreed to provide services to customers to activate HigherMarkets' e-procurement applications and integrate them fully with the institution's current environment and back-end financial systems. The HigherMarket solution offers an end-to-end solution, which includes e-procurement, e-marketplaces and community applications.

Their first customer, RPI, has implemented the solution. As a medium-sized, private institution, we need an e-procurement solution that can be scaled to meet our specific needs and function hand-in-hand with our existing financial system, said Paul Martin, director of procurement and financial services at RPI. We reviewed several other applications in the market and concluded that HigherMarkets' offering is best positioned to meet our requirements of providing a single procurement solution that integrates with our financial system. HigherMarkets' functionality is now a core part of RPI's e-commerce strategy to provide a single point to handle all of our purchasing needs.

We feel that HigherMarkets provides a robust, comprehensive e-procurement platform for higher education that we can quickly tailor to meet specific client needs, said Sean Rush, general manager of IBM Global Education Industry. IBM's depth of expertise in higher education, administrative systems, e-procurement, and e-business will enable colleges and universities to further streamline their business processes and save dollars better spent on educational or research programs.

Under the terms of the agreement, IBM's Global Services consultants will work with colleges and universities to integrate HigherMarkets' e-procurement applications with ERP and legacy systems. In addition, IBM will provide services in the areas of training and change management, process re-engineering, systems integration, and other e-business initiatives.