By Bruce Schneider, Vice President of Business Engineering, Ambassador Education Solutions
Throughout higher education, institutions are supplementing print textbooks with digital course materials—not only feeding students’ digital appetites and evolving learning patterns, but also boosting course quality and measuring outcomes. This growing trend goes beyond e-books to include everything from digital homework, courseware, and study tools to online self-assessments, quizzes, and tests.
The good news is that these comprehensive digital resources are fostering engaging educational experiences, connecting students with interactive materials and helping them succeed. The not-so-good news is that they are creating challenges for schools, content providers, and publishers when it comes to licensing models, access management, and efficient financial controls. The operational constraints around tracking and reconciling digital content purchasing and invoicing have caused their fair share of issues, namely an inability to effectively reconcile A/R and A/P for both schools and content providers.
Digital content management is complex. Tracking licenses for access to digital content requires effective data visibility to accurately assess usage, license durations, and content payments. Already working with institutions and publishers to deliver digital content, our team at Ambassador recognized the need to do more—to take the guesswork out of digital content costs and close the gaps that prevent wider adoption of these important digital resources. We developed our Pub PinPoint solution to manage the tedious (and, too often, labor-intensive) task of analyzing and reporting on the data behind the content, ensuring schools do not overpay while content providers receive accurate payment.
Typically, students are given access to digital content either through an access code or a codeless model. Ambassador manages both code-based and codeless models, which are designed to save schools time and money. Both models also empower students with day-one access to content, which has been shown to improve student outcomes and retention. Under a codeless model, fees are charged per enrollment at the end of the add/drop period, often referred to as census-based billing. This is where reconciliation can get tricky, often causing financial discrepancies. For example, the school shouldn’t pay for the same item more than once if it is used by the same student in multiple courses. Ambassador’s Pub PinPoint simplifies the management of digital content for institutions and content providers while bringing greater accuracy, timeliness, and accountability to this otherwise complex process.
Integrating with a school’s student information system (SIS) and learning management system (LMS), Pub PinPoint tracks student course enrollments, digital content accessibility, and license or access durations for digital resources. Pub PinPoint handles the difficult job of translating data from the school’s SIS, LMS, and digital content metadata into enrollment-based financial analytics and reconciliations for students who access the digital content. Serving as the disinterested third-party solution to accurately track all licenses, Pub PinPoint enables more timely payments and peace of mind for all parties. As a result, many of Ambassador’s clients have seen a 6 to 25 percent savings on their digital content spend.
Through Ambassador’s state-of-the-art technology and best practices, data is scrubbed, aggregated, and delivered to each institution and its publisher and content partners, giving them both greater visibility into the digital content supply chain and ensuring financial consistency and license management along the way. Pub PinPoint offers the flexibility for institutions to rely on our simplified financial analytics to pay their publisher and content platform partners directly, or Ambassador can handle the payments to the publishers or content partners.
Further simplifying the management of digital content are Ambassador’s integrations with leading publishers. For example, our integration with Cengage enables students to receive codeless access to their Cengage Digital Courseware at the same time they receive all of their other course materials from Ambassador, including any print textbooks, making the entire process seamless.
Making sure our products and solutions align with our client partners, as well as all of our collective strategic partners, is imperative. Ambassador manages and delivers course materials, reduces costs, improves accessibility for students, and simplifies the adoption and fulfillment process for faculty and administration. Helping solve the challenges that are impacting so many schools, faculty, and students, Ambassador not only meets institutional needs today, but also evolves with each client over time, anticipating and adapting as we go.
About the Author
Bruce has more than 25 years of experience developing, delivering, and managing business technology solutions. He is an integral part of the team that leads the development of Ambassador’s integrated bookstore service solutions and helps customer institutions improve the quality of the student experience.
Ambassador creates and manages customized content integration programs that connect students with course materials in the most meaningful and effective way, driving down costs and improving outcomes. Integrated with leading SIS, LMS, and digital content platforms, we simplify the adoption, management, and delivery of textbooks, e-books, digital resources, custom content, OER, access codes, online testing, supplies, kits, devices, and more. We provide an exceptional student experience, lower your operational and financial risk, and deliver key intelligence to measure and enhance programs. To learn more, visit www.ambassadored.com.