Business Profile | Jay Sebben

July 2014 View more

Jay Sebben, CEO of L Street Collaborative, for Naperville MagazinePresident, EDC Technology

Technology is changing higher education. Bolingbrook-based EDC Technology, which provides a wide array of technical products and services to higher education institutions throughout the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean, is a privately-owned company that’s transforming the traditional higher education landscape. Naperville Magazine recently spoke with Jay Sebben, president of EDC Technology, about the new wave of innovation and how it’s reshaping higher education.

How is technology changing higher education?

Higher education will be profoundly effected over the next 5 to 10 years by changes in the way people learn and how they leverage skills and knowledge acquired to earn a living. As with everything, the Internet has had a tremendous impact on higher education over the last 15 years or so. This has resulted in new ways to consume content and facilitate traditional methods of learning in the university or traditional college setting.

The next wave of innovation will have a more radical impact on what it means to obtain education beyond the formative years and how that knowledge is applied. The traditional 4-year college model, as a means to a better career, will be disrupted. Industry will place less value on a degree or diploma as justification for employment and will be focused instead on outcomes and competencies. What did you learn and what can you do? This will inevitably have an impact on the monopoly of the traditional physical college environment and lay the groundwork for alternate credentialing and learning paths.

Some of this change will also be driven by well-known economics as well as every changing social and societal expectations of what it takes to be successful and lead a fulfilling life. People will become lifelong learners and leverage a variety of skill sets and knowledge to find their career path.

One of EDC Technology’s flagship software packages is CampusAnyware. How is it being used by educators around the world?

CampusAnywareTM is a Student Information System (SIS) in the higher education world or what would often be called an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system. Essentially, our systems run the colleges and universities. It’s the core repository for students’ records including all contact and historical information, grade reporting, degree path, and billing information. We have modules that provide for recruiting students and managing the enrollment process, managing financial aid, handling the financials of the school and related payments and billing, registering for classes, managing alumni and donor relations.

CampusAnyware also offers services for faculty, students, and prospective students.

The platform offers several online avenues for recruits, students, and faculty to interface with the system. A prospective student may initiate communication with a college or university by completing one of our online application forms that is then fed into the recruiting and enrollment management CRM portion of CampusAnyware. Accepted students can access their financial aid and billings online, register for classes remotely, or access grades and credentials. Faculty have the ability to interface with the system for course management and grading as well.

EDC Technology has been around since 1964. How has the company evolved to meet the changing demands of the marketplace?

EDC was originally a data processing company founded in the IT Department of Lewis University in Romeoville. Lewis is still a client of EDC, although we have moved off the Lewis campus. In the late ‘70s the company began building software in addition to executing data processing. This business expanded to what we are today. CampusAnyware is the third generation of what is 50 years of systems and higher education knowledge.

Presently, we are developing Pathway, our next generation platform, which will be 100 percent cloud-based and architected from a student lifecycle perspective. Mobile and ease of user experience are probably two of the biggest drivers in what we are building these days.

As president of EDC Technology, what do you see as your biggest opportunity for growth?

The biggest opportunity is to insert ourselves in what we believe will be an ever fragmenting education market. We believe the focus is shifting from a traditional 4-year higher education model to one of lifelong learning and achievement.

This must be learner or student focused, not institution focused.

Areas for opportunity include digital badging, alternate credentialing, unaccredited learning institutions, outcomes and competencies. All of this ultimately plays out in an economic model that facilitates a more filtered way in how employers find talent and employees find their passion. And ROI (return on investment) will be a big part of that. Not just economically, but from a quality of life perspective. We believe we can help facilitate that and bring those ideas to life through the use of technology.

You have more than a decade of experience with start-ups and new ventures, what has been your proudest accomplishment?

As an entrepreneur you quickly learn to be wary of taking victory laps too soon. There are just too many ups and downs. But I wouldn’t be an entrepreneur if I didn’t find things to get excited about.
EDC Technology is part of a larger group of companies called L Street Collaborative. LSC is essentially a holding company comprised of acquisitions and start-ups that are under our umbrell They would appear disparate to most but we share resources and it provides a very exciting and unique working environment. This environment, which promises the ability to work on exciting and meaningful things, has become a calling card of ours. It is a fantastic recruiting tool we can leverage for growth. I have basically taken what should be called my inability to focus and institutionalized it into a cohesive vision with purpose.