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digibyte: Unit4 buys Three Rivers to step up US education presence

Phil Wainewright Profile picture for user pwainewright June 9, 2015
In its first acquisition after a $1.6 billion private equity buyout, reinvented service industry ERP vendor Unit4 takes a bold stride into the US education market

Service industry ERP vendor Unit4 this week announced it has acquired US-based student management solution provider, Three Rivers Systems.

The move bolsters Unit4's presence both in the education sector and in the US market. It is the first acquisition led by the new management team brought in last year after Unit4 was itself acquired by private equity investor Advent International for $1.6 billion.

Unit4 highlighted education as a target market when the vendor unveiled its new product branding and 'people platform' strategy in March this year. At the time, Unit4 claimed a two percent share of an education ERP market worth $4.3 billion in the US.

The Three Rivers acquisition significantly boosts that market footprint. Although not among the leaders, which include Jenzabar, Campus Management and Oracle's Peoplesoft Campus Solutions, the Three Rivers CAMS Enterprise product has a 30-year track record and serves a solid customer base across the US and overseas, from Oakland City University and Villa Maria College to Sotheby's Institute of Art and The American University of Paris.

Unit4 claims the acquisition increases its global education customer base to more than a thousand institutions.

Three Rivers offers a flexible, mobile-ready college ERP system incorporating admissions, registration, student billing, financial aid and student services. It is based on a Microsoft platform, thus sharing the same foundation as Unit4's own technology infrastructure, and the Three Rivers focus on Web, mobile and analytics maps to Unit4's product priorities. Like Unit4, Three Rivers offers a choice of cloud or on-premise deployment.

According to Unit4, the converged solution will encompass functionality covering "Human Resources & Payroll, Finance Management, Research Management, a complete Student Management system covering Student Acquisition, Course Management, Retention, Degree Auditing and much more."

In a press statement, Unit4 CEO Jose Duarte said:

This acquisition has created a global market leader for Education ERP solutions, and significantly strengthens Unit4’s market position in North America. By combining technologies and resources, we are the first to deliver the full suite of next-generation ERP for the global Education community.

Amir Tajkarimi, president and founder of Three Rivers Systems, added:

Unit4 will help to expedite innovation cycles around Three Rivers Systems' advanced student management technology, while also bringing it to the global market. The acquisition will result in strengthened global sales and support teams as well as increased bandwidth for ongoing research and development around our combined product suite.

[Updated 04:15 PT] An earlier version of this article implied Unit4's product is not based on Microsoft technology.

Disclosure: Oracle and Unit4 are diginomica premier partners.

Image credit: Library photo of Harvard University in Cambridge MA, USA © Bastos - Fotolia.

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