February 16, 2011–Blackboard has entered into the business of data analytics with the purchase of iStrategy, according to “Blackboard Buys into Data Analytics” on CampusTechnology.com. The new suite of programs is called Blackboard Analytics, and will soon be available to all higher education institutions regardless of whether they currently use Blackboard.
The article says, “The first iteration of the new analytics platform works with data from student information, human resources and financial systems. Blackboard said that the new programs can be set up ‘in a matter of weeks’ to help users better understand and improve performance in multiple areas. Product modules for the release will include eLearning, Student, Financial Management, Human Resources, Advancement, and Financial Aid.”
This acquisition of an established analytics company could pose a serious threat to other education-centered data companies including SunGard Higher Education, Oracle/PeopleSoft, and SAS because of Blackboard’s strong insight into client needs and problems. If that wasn’t enough, the new suite has a massive built-in customer base already, in users of Banner, PeopleSoft, and Datatel.After all,iStrategy was made to work with its new competitors.