It's been a little over a month since the Kuali Foundation announced its strategy of creating a for profit commercial entity (KualiCo) and there's been a lot of talk about the transition.
We, like many of you, bought into the notion what’s good for the goose is good for the gander;that improving the Kuali product would improve research administration as a whole and therefore our own overall success. Today is no different. We still believe that improving electronic research administration (eRA) solutions will improve research administration as a whole and therefore our own overall success. And yes, Kuali Coeus (KC) is still the best eRA platform available.
However, there are significant changes afoot that may have you questioning the new direction…
Carl Straumsheim said it best on Inside Higher Ed, “…some people in academe have walked away almost with a sense of betrayal, as if Kuali would spend a decade criticizing profit-driven companies only to become one of them.”
2. The new licensing model also means that there is now (or will be soon) an official way to report modifications of the source code back to KualiCo. When you customize KC out of the box to accommodate your specific institutional needs, those changes are required to be reported back to KualiCo. KualiCo can then decide if your changes will enhance their overall product and can choose to adopt your changes into a future release. MŌDERAS has been excited about this specific approach for years as we’ve made numerous enhancements for our clientele. It’s unfortunate that the Foundation was unable to make this happen in their current model, but we believe that this could ultimately serve the greater community.
3. KualiCo will now be generating revenue from paid professional services such as hosting, certifications, and other functions that were previously in the Kuali Commercial Affiliates (KCA) space such as implementation, training, and support. Having at least four options (including FastTrak) for hosting your Kuali products will enhance the market keeping the cost of Kuali low and functionality in its prime.
4. Overall increase in responsive support allowing MŌDERAS to be more proactive to our customers’ needs. With the new licensing in place (see No. 1 above) Moderas can now support your entire eRA solution and will not need to wait for the Foundation to make repairs and modifications to the source code. The previous community model was somewhat restrictive; this is a welcome adjustment.
#2 User Experience: MŌDERAS and at least two current providers have made varying levels of enhancements to the user interface to improve users’ experience with the Kuali systems. We continue to be responsive to the market and believe the most successful solution(s) will be based on the needs of the research community.
#3 Speed: Make Kuali outcomes happen faster! Since the announcement we’ve made over sixty enhancements to Kuali Coeus and that number will double in the coming weeks. We’re no longer restricted by waiting for new releases; we’re taking the ball and running with it.
#4 Growth: This new opportunity will allow for exponential growth of the product. Unshackling the software by the Foundation stepping back from the product and allowing their commercial entity to drive functionality will allow other companies such as MŌDERAS to do the same. In the short term this may mean there are more Kuali offerings, but that choice will allow the community to thrive in a way never before possible. The best solutions at the best price will be the ones that rise to the top. Move beyond software selection by creating a fully modular, end-to-end solution that doesn’t sacrifice functionality to be cost effective.
We feel the change in direction of the Foundation unfortunately puts us in direct competition with both them and KualiCo rather than supporting one another. Therefore we will no longer continue to be a Kuali Commercial Affiliate. That being said, we will continue to support the research administration community helping with implementations, training, and support. We will still drive new products such as FastTrak, TurboGrants, ReKoncile, and Kwest to enhance system productivity and address usability issues to ease the burden of research administration. We will always provide free monthly webinars on system usage and answer questions on the current listservs to support Kuali. We will be making changes to our approach as necessary given this new environment, but we’re very excited about what the future holds in store.
We wish KualiCo and the Kuali Foundation much success in their endeavors and feel strongly that the Kuali products will be highly successful.