Ellucian Achieves High Marks with Qvidian

Ellucian provides the higher education software, services, and analytics colleges and universities need to manage their day-to-day campus business faster, easier, and more effectively. They cover the areas of Student Life, Financial Aid, Finance, Human Resources and Alumni. It’s not an easy task and it’s been their total focus for more than 40 years. Their passion speaks for itself: today they serve 2,400 institutions in 40 countries across the globe. Handling this volume of service for so many institutions requires a robust automation proposal and sales system. Ellucian found just what they needed in Qvidian.

BUSINESS DRIVER

Before implementing Qvidian’s proposal automation software, Ellucian relied on a repository of numerous Word files that contained answers to questions in previous Requests for Proposals (RFPs). But without an effective searching mechanism for these files, finding the right answers to hundreds or even thousands of specific questions was extremely time consuming.

“When someone asked me a question, I had to search on a file name or a keyword across all Word files stored on a shared network drive,” explained Pam DiLucente, Ellucian’s Director NACR Business Development Operations and Proposal Consulting “This process was very slow and I could, quite literally, start a search and then take a coffee break while waiting for the search to conclude. I might find hundreds of files that all had to be manually searched for the right information.” More time was then spent reformatting content that had been copied from multiple Word documents. “With Word, formatting was not always consistent, so to get the appearance we required in an RFP response took another 16 hours, on average,” DiLucente said.

Another challenge Ellucian faced was their file naming conventions. These were required to ensure that file names were modified as new information was added, or as content was edited, or when files were ready to be formatted. “But with back and forth reviews, and files continually being moved from one folder to another,the process was prone to human errors,” DiLucente explained.

APPROACH

To resolve all of these issues, Ellucian initially considered implementing a generalized document management solution. “It didn’t take long to realize that Qvidian was as customer focused as we are,” DiLucente stated, “but their competition was not. Only Qvidian provided actual customer references for us to speak with, completed several onsite demos, and offered the consultative support we needed. In fact, with Qvidian we recognized that what they were selling was not just a software solution, but an entire proposal culture,” she commented.

IMPACT

With Qvidian’s proposal automation, Ellucian has slashed the time it takes to research answers to RFP questions, and to format these answers into a draft proposal format. What began as a group of 5 dedicated RFP users has grown to a team of 35 professionals who manage RFPs globally. Research time for responding to RFPs and formatting has been cut in half by using the functionality in Qvidian.

To service 2,400 customers in 40 countries, the efficiency Qvidian provided was essential to Ellucian’s RFP process and more. Once Ellucian saw all that could be done with Qvidian, both through Qvidian’s proposal automation and sales playbooks, they increased their number of licenses to 250, enabling the company to expand its capabilities within Qvidian and accomplish even more of its goals.

“We’ve eliminated human errors associated with file naming conventions, streamlined workflows, cut research time, and virtually eliminated formatting time,” DiLucente said. “Even more impressive is the fact that we’ve received feedback from a prospect that indicated the quality of our proposal was the primary reason they chose Ellucian as a finalist. They complimented us on our presentation, appreciating that they could easily find the information they needed and that the proposal expressly addressed their strategic initiatives as a university.” DiLucente remarked. “Also,” she continued, “because of Qvidian’s webinars and our consultations with them, we have improved our RFP responses, making them more personalized in ways that ensure they will get noticed. In fact, we are getting feedback from prospects indicating that they appreciate how personalized our proposals truly are,” she stated.

“Now that we’re saving so much time on preparing RFP responses, we have time to address other strategic initiatives", said DiLucente. “Primary on this list is the use of Qvidian to create and manage proactive proposals and other highly personalized sales documents such as our Client Action Planning document. This is a service for clients to ensure proper usage of their existing Ellucian solution. We are very pleased to be recognizing our ultimate goal with Qvidian to create, manage, and leverage our content across all areas of the company that can benefit from personalized documents. We first saw benefits with Qvidian automation and are now experiencing positive impact with their mobile sales playbooks for sales execution and 24/7 sales coaching.

Qvidian customers state many reasons for their success with Qvidian, and Ellucian sums it up nicely: “We at Ellucian feel strongly that our clients should be able to consider us their partner. We know that’s important to them, and it’s important to us as well. We believe that we found a partner in Qvidian. A partner that cares as much about our success as we do,” concluded Pam DiLucente.

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