Online higher education institutions are gaining access to an increasing amount of resources as the field develops.

Last week, SciQuest, a supplier management company for traditional and online schooling, announced itself as the leading provider of supply and strategic procurement solutions for online higher education.

Expanding college base

Thirty-eight colleges started using their services in 2010, including Ball State University, Purdue University, Stony Brook University, the University of Arkansas, Wake Forest University, Oklahoma State University, Utah State University and University of Nebraska. Several more colleges selected SciQuest in the past year, including Collin College and Milwaukee Area Technical College. Many of these colleges include online institutions.

Max Leisten, market director for higher education at SciQuest, explained this leap in partners by saying that schools of all sizes are facing pressure to reduces spending and expenses, and SciQuest offers an efficient and strategic solution to helping colleges save money in the long run.

“We are honored to be the solution of choice for higher education institutions especially during these uncertain economic times,” Leisten said in a press release. “We remain committed to working with our partners including SunGuard and Huron Consulting to deliver a comprehensive solution that enables our customers to collaborate and leverage shared resources into better contracts and improved spend savings.”

A history of evolving services

Founded in 1995 as a business-to-business eCommerce exchange company, SciQuest has evolved into an integrated, Web-based program that allows users plan budgets and organize future spending by tracking purchases of indirect goods and services, and then noting efficiencies and savings on those purchases. This eProcurement model is used by Fortune 1000 companies to recognize areas of savings that may have otherwise been missed, as well as improve supplier management, compliance and contract management.

And though life sciences, healthcare, public sector markets and other industries have seen advantages to this program, online higher education has just recently benefited from such services.

At the same time, SciQuest has been striving to appeal more to the higher education industry, meeting their specific needs with solutions fit to their institutions: the lastest version of SciQuest provides even greater opportunities for online higher education institutions to purchase consortiums and join forces with other schools, creating multi-school institutions.

Organizations utilizing the group purchasing funtion on SciQuest can now open library contracts to general membership within the mass SciQuest pCard marketplace, lowering the overall cost of purchased goods while ensuring compliance of partner companies.

Higher education advantages

SciQuest has also become more appealing to higher education institutions as it now allows multi-location organizations to efficiently organize and consolidate purchasing functions in a singular technology system with purchasing control.

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Additionally, SciQuest now integrates with higher education ERP systems. This funtion allows schools to use SciQuest eProcurement solution no matter what information techonology system exists for their school.

Leading software and technology service company SunGard has also chosen SciQuest as its provider at the select member level, using the collaborative partner program.

On their Web site, SciQuest explains their success in other terms: “Our value proposition and our unrelenting customer focus have led to an average annual customer renewal rate, on a dollar basis, of approximately 100%. We believe our renewal rates are among the highest of on-demand model companies.”

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