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Higher Ed firm FolderWave embodies the highest levels of SaaS and cloud evolution by partnering with Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS) to handle everything from document management to tech-support – meeting the complex needs of Higher Education big data management.
Businesses that serve the Higher Education enrollment management industry must be able to manage large volumes of personal data and information, prioritizing security – all in an environment where transaction volumes are highly cyclical and date sensitive.
Success is further determined by an organization’s ability to deliver solutions that can be tailored to the specific needs of each institution it serves. There is tremendous variability in the process of enrollment management from one school to another.
In increasing numbers, educational institutions are migrating their virtual libraries of student data to the cloud where they can better store, analyze and access it while also reducing the cost to manage all that information. FolderWave, a private company based near Boston, is one of the earliest such cloud-space providers for Higher Education.
Today, FolderWave helps flagship colleges and universities like Boston College, Carnegie Mellon, Northeastern, Merrimack College, Wittenberg, Tulane and Worcester Polytechnic Institute centralize millions of documents representing a soupto-nuts approach to admission applications, financial aid forms, academic transcripts, contracts and grants, and practically any other paperless documentation each school wants to track.
Helping FolderWave handle this virtual avalanche of data is Sungard AS. Sungard AS provides FolderWave with a secure and reliable hosting environment, including server management, intrusion detection, managed security, high availability and backup services. Since the fall of 2014, Sungard AS has also provided FolderWave with a cloud environment to help the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider store and safeguard the customer data it maintains. This allows FolderWave to assign its expertise to solution development, helping each of its clients maximize their enrollment management objectives.
The choice of a third-party vendor to help FolderWave handle volume was one of the most important decisions. “We knew our entire service delivery could be made or broken by this decision. We consider the relationship with Sungard AS a true partnership.” ROBERT BURKE President FolderWave
In 2002, FolderWave hosted a server on which its software was installed. With substantial growth projections, IT management could become allconsuming if the company continued to host and manage that data on its own.
“We decided this was not a business we wanted to be in, and it didn’t make sense because there were companies that were doing it and doing it well,” says Robert Burke, FolderWave President. “We decided to partner with a vendor so we could concentrate on our core offerings: technology, support, implementation and strategy, among others.”
According to Burke, a tour of the Sungard AS hosting facility illuminated how well-maintained it was and how personnel respond to various issues that arise. Sungard AS knew the security space well and passed key security audits.
“Sungard AS stood out among other IT providers – for dependability and security, its strong reputation, and being the right ‘fit’ all around. We’re dealing with highly confidential information and that requires a high degree of security. Previously, we couldn’t prove the information was well-protected.”
With Sungard AS handling the managed services and the private cloud environments, FolderWave personnel become master integrators that focus their expertise on capturing more data to permit better analytics. “We don’t need a dedicated IT department that’s tending a server farm,” Burke says.
According to Burke, the choice of a third-party vendor to help FolderWave handle volume was one of the most important decisions. “We knew our entire service delivery could be made or broken by this decision,” he explains. FolderWave now relies on Sungard AS’ expertise to proactively identify potential issues with quick resolution, as well as provide expertise when looking to improve or upgrade FolderWave’s environment. “We consider the relationship with Sungard AS a true partnership.”
“Increasing volumes of data means FolderWave’s storage capacity has to be scalable. Sungard AS takes care of that and we know it will be done right,” Burke says.
Burke sees the greatest benefit and value with Sungard AS during the October-to-January time period when applications flood in and earlyaction admissions must be made. With Sungard AS, FolderWave can respond quickly to a customer’s needs, and “once we have a sense of their requirements, Sungard AS is able to set up and configure quickly,” he explains.
FolderWave has evolved to the cloud over the last two years, initially deploying a hybrid cloud environment and later moving to a private cloud arrangement in 2014, with stored data secured in its own dedicated environment. According to Diane Duprat, FolderWave IT Manager, the move to Sungard AS Private Cloud was the smoothest implementation she’d ever experienced.
As for disaster-recovery services, which Burke describes as once being a time-consuming, annoying and extensive process involving storing backup data in a remote facility, Sungard AS takes care of that with disaster recovery built into the FolderWave environment.
“It’s a huge plus when talking with a university for them to know they’re not paying for back-up servers, heating and cooling, etc. For us, it represents a huge ROI,” Burke says.
He adds: “The greatest compliment I can pay is that dependable service is never an issue with Sungard AS. Everything is completely transparent to our customers, and when we need support, Sungard AS is there.”
“Increasing volumes of data means FolderWave’s storage capacity has to be scalable. Sungard AS takes care of that and we know it will be done right.” ROBERT BURKE President FolderWave