By Keith Fowlkes Vice President, Technology, E&I Cooperative Services
Originally posted for the E&I Technology BLOG linked here.

The HESS Consortium is a group of 210 private, non-profit E&I member colleges and universities that are looking for new ways to collaborate and uncover cost savings opportunities in ERP/SIS operations and cloud services. The HESS Collective, a subset of the Consortium comprised of 32 institutions, spent over 14 months evaluating several cloud-native ERP/SIS solutions to select a common, modern ERP/SIS platform for participants to move their current platform to over an estimated timeframe of 5 years.

Click here to view the announcement / overview video.

Main Goals of the Initiative

The main goals of the HESS Collective initiative were to:

  • Create a network of HESS Collective institutions to share staff resources and expertise and lower staff costs.
  • Move to a single, modern cloud-native ERP/SIS solution.
  • Move to a common contract vehicle through E&I Cooperative Services for software and services.
  • Develop a shared archive to ease migration and implementation costs.

The Decision

In February of 2021, the Collective selected Oracle Cloud for Higher Education as their common, cloud-native platform through the E&I contract with Mythics, Inc. for Oracle product licensing. Mythics will subcontract implementation services from Drivestream, Inc. as the preferred Oracle implementation and integration services provider for participating institutions.

By Rhea Kelly

  • 06/09/20   |  
  • Campus Technology Magazine : View Original Article Here

    A new initiative out of the Higher Education Systems and Services (HESS) Consortium is researching whether a shared ERP services model is attainable and sustainable for private, nonprofit colleges and universities. The HESS Consortium Higher Education Technology Collective project, or HESS Collective, brings together 29 institutions to address "crucial foundational issues around ERP and cloud technology operations," according to a news announcement.  

    With the overall goal of helping institutions get through operational and financial challenges, the group will explore the feasibility of four main areas:

    • Adopting a single "cloud-native" ERP platform;
    • Negotiating pricing, terms and conditions as a group;
    • Creating a shared staffing and support model; and
    • Ensuring a 10-year return-on-investment.

    The collective expects to select a common ERP platform and develop a shared organizational and data governance model by early 2021, with the first institutions moving to the new platform by mid-2021.


    by Keith Fowlkes, M.A., M.B.A.
    Vice President, E&I Technology E&I Cooperative Services – Jericho, NY.
    Executive Director & Co-founder, The HESS Consortium
    Written for Campus Technology Magazine on 3/26/2020

    I know we are all on overload with COVID-19 communications, preparation meetings, remote work planning and, of course, periodic trips to the grocery stores to clean out their supply of hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Seriously, it is a time that can take your eyes off your systems and the risks this new crisis introduces to our ERP systems and services.



    Blog Article by Keith Fowlkes on January 22, 2020

    I know this might be a little rant and many of my readers may wonder why I care about this little company's software... but stay with me for a minute.

    Over my years as a technology leader, I've used Oracle, Informix, SQL Server, Postgres and MySQL database platforms with a bunch of different development tools.  While these enterprise platforms have done well over the years, my favorite database product for smaller projects is Filemaker Pro.  Don't laugh.  The software is the best "point-click-design-publish" database software ever created.  While most database professionals might call it a "toy database," professionals and beginners can do some pretty amazing things with this software... and fast.


    I'm tagging a great article from Phil Hill on his industry blog "Phil on EdTech" linked here.  Take a read... very good insights on the recent industry shuffle and those to come.

    While Instructure’s agreement to be acquired has generated the most interest recently, that company is not alone in having either private equity firms or larger technology companies looking to buy them out. Recently we’ve had a wave of actual and potential buy-outs in a consolidating market trend. Instructure, Civitas, Knewton, Pearson’s K-12 Courseware business, Trilogy, Parchment, Schoology. Berkerey Noyes tracks the M&A markets for education, and their recent report shows the trends of education-related activity. 2017 was the peak in value, with Frontline Education, Capella University, and EAB joining several other large companies. But the number of deals continues to rise.  


    By Keith Fowlkes for Campus Technology Magazine
    12/5/2019 | click here to see original article

    I always learn something new when I am with my friends in the higher education and ERP industries. I learned yet a new term at Educause 2019 in Chicago this year: "BURNING PLATFORM!" It sounds ominous and brings to mind visions of 1990s oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. But what does it actually mean?

    "Burning platform" is a new term used by some consultants and many competing ERP solution providers to refer (harshly) to companies that are continuing to pull their customers along with a dead-end, "legacy" solution. Having implemented some of these solutions in the past, I can attest that many are using the same core code as they did in the late '90s and early 2000s. While still functional, a burning platform is older and uses somewhat outdated programming methods to post journal entries to a general ledger, move student data into tables, and handle integration records being transferred between old ancillary systems. If you are familiar with running these older systems, I'm sure you can think of a number of routines and scripts you have used for years to manage your ERP.

    Keith Fowlkes, Vice President, Technology at E&I, talks briefly on the new partnership between E&I and Internet2.

    Originally posted online at


    by Sean O'Brien, Internet2 and Keith Fowlkes, Vice President, E&I Technology

    We’re excited to have announced earlier today that E&I Cooperative Services (E&I) and Internet2 are collaborating on a pilot project to bring together E&I’s public procurement expertise and Internet2’s cloud expertise, as developed through the NET+ program.

    A request for proposal (RFP) for cloud-hosted telecommunications and web conferencing services will be released as part of this pilot shortly. A committee consisting of mutual members of E&I and Internet2, along with staff from both organizations, are completing work on the RFP at this time. This blog post is intended to answer some initial questions and provide additional context for our members about the pilot project. We’re looking forward to the opportunities presented by this collaboration and are eager to hear feedback, comments, questions, and ideas from our members.

    If you have additional questions on the pilot, please reach out to both of us at and If you have questions about the RFP process, please reach out to Cathy Goglia, Contracts Manager, Technology, at