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Datatel, Inc.
Industry Higher Education Technology Solutions
Fate Merged with SunGard Higher Education
Successor Ellucian
Founded 1968; 49 years ago (1968)
Founder Tom Davidson
Headquarters Fairfax, Virginia, U.S.
Key people
Jeff Ray, President/CEO
Revenue $138.0 Million USD (2009)
Number of employees

Datatel, Inc. was a private company that provided fully integrated software and professional services to build enterprise education platforms for higher education until it combined with its competitor SunGard Higher Education to form Ellucian in 2012. Datatel was headquartered in Fairfax, VA.

With 533 employees, Datatel had more than 799 client institutions located in the United States, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and Bermuda.[1]


Datatel was founded by Tom Davidson in 1968 as a data processing service bureau. The company began in the mezzanine of a suburban office supply store outside of Washington, D.C.. A few years later, Datatel began performing data processing for banks. In 1973, the company grew substantially when Davidson merged Datatel with Data Technology Corporation, owned by Ken Kendrick. Datatel focused on higher education since 1979.[2]

Beginning in 1992, the company was led by Russ Griffith, who died on August 7, 2006. Under Russ's leadership in 2005, Datatel’s executive team – backed by Thoma Cressey Equity Partners and Trident Capital – signed an agreement to acquire the company from Davidson and Kendrick.[3] While no longer involved with the company to this day, Davidson went on to co-found the Balance Bar food company in 1992 [4] and Kendrick is a managing partner and co-owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team. In 2004, Datatel acquired the LiquidMatrix Corporation,[5] a Buffalo-based provider of student recruiting and alumni outreach Web-based software.

Datatel was acquired in December 2009 by private equity company Hellman & Friedman.[6]

In March 2012, Datatel was combined with SunGard Higher Education to form a new company, Ellucian.[7]


  • 1972: Datatel released their first product, the Silent 700, a programmable data terminal
  • 1975: Became the first East Coast Microdata dealer [8]
  • 1976: Began development of TOPS, the Total Office product system, later to be known as ASSETS
  • 1979: Became first PRIME information dealer and began selling solutions for colleges and universities
    • Willamette University became first Datatel client [9]
    • Development of Colleague began
  • 1986: San Francisco office opened
  • 1987: Moved to current headquarters in the Fair Lakes area of Fairfax, Virginia
  • 1988: Sold 100th Colleague client
  • 1989: Changed to multiplatform UNIX
  • 1990: Datatel Scholar's Foundation established
  • 1991 Announced products on IBM and Sequent
    • First Canadian client - University of Waterloo
  • 1996: Introduced Client/Server
  • 2002: Datatel Center for Institutional Effectiveness(DCIE) formed
  • 2004: Acquired LiquidMatrix Corporation
  • 2005: Management buyout of founders
  • 2006: Longtime President and CEO Russ Griffith passes away [10]
  • 2007: Datatel reached 39th year of consecutive growth [11]
    • Releases ActiveCampus Portal, built on Microsoft SharePoint [12]
  • 2009: Datatel was acquired in December 2009 by private equity company Hellman & Friedman.[6]
  • 2010: Datatel announces revenue of $138m in 2009 [13]
  • 2012: Combined with SunGard Higher Education to form Ellucian.[7]



  • Datatel Colleague - an administrative software suite based on a single-source technology approach, coupled with data-driven, rules-based architecture. The five components of Colleague are:
    • CORE
    • ST (Student)
    • CF (Colleague Finance)
    • CA (Colleague Advancement)
    • HR (Human Resources)
  • Datatel Mobile Access (MOX) powered by DubLabs
  • Datatel Portal
  • Datatel Recruiter
  • Datatel WCMS
  • Datatel Intelligent Learning Platform (ILP)

Professional services[edit]

  • Administrative and Application Management
  • Consulting
  • Datatel Center for Institutional Effectiveness (DCIE) - provides strategic planning programs for administrators in higher education
  • Institutional Effectiveness
  • Professional Executive Services
  • Strategic Planning and Project Management
  • Support and Self-Service
  • Training and Education
  • Web Site Design

Related information[edit]

Datatel Users' Group, or DUG, is a professional association of members from Datatel's client institutions. DUG holds annual and regional conferences.

In 1990, Datatel formed the Datatel Scholars Foundation to award scholarships to outstanding undergraduate and graduate students attending Datatel client institutions. The Foundation has awarded over 3,700 scholarships totaling more than $5.5 million.


A review from 2013 at [1] gives a bald-faced view of Datatel Colleague. The software uses Telnet for communications, works with 80x24 text screens, and has a very simple database system that is prone to locking problems.


  1. ^ "Datatel, Inc." Google Finance Profile, 2008
  2. ^ "Datatel and WealthEngine.Com Sign Partner Agreement," Datatel News and Events, 2008[dead link]
  3. ^ "Datatel Executive Team Announces Management Buyout of Datatel, Inc., Backed by Thoma Cressey Equity Partners and Trident Capital," Business Wire, March 18, 2005[dead link]
  4. ^ Balance Bar CO Proxy Statement, February 5, 1999
  5. ^ "Datatel Completes Acquisition of LiquidMatrix; Union Makes it Easy for Universities and Colleges..." AllBusiness, 2004
  6. ^ a b "Hellman & Friedman Acquires Datatel" Datatel Press Release, 2009
  7. ^ a b "Ellucian: New Company Name Announced for Datatel and SunGard Higher Education Combination". Business Wire. March 26, 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2012. 
  8. ^ "Then ... and Now: Datatel - From Original Microdata Dealer to Today's Top-Notch Provider of Solutions for Higher Education," International Spectrum, 2005
  9. ^ "Join a Stable Client Community," 2008
  10. ^ "Russ Griffith, Datatel CEO, Dies at 59; Vernon Hollidge Named Interim Chief Executive Officer". Business Wire. 2006. 
  11. ^ "Datatel Posts Record Revenue in 2007," Business Wire, April 14, 2008
  12. ^ "Datatel Selects Microsoft SharePoint for Its Next Generation ERP Solution; Technology to Help Datatel Build the Optimum User Experience," Business Wire, 2005
  13. ^ "Datatel Finishes 2009 Strong with Record Revenue" Datatel Press Release, 2010
  14. ^ "Washingtonian Magazine Again Selects Datatel as a 'Great Place to Work,' Company Makes List a Third Time," Business Wire, October 24, 2005
  15. ^ The CARE Awards Honor Roll 1992-2006
  16. ^ "Datatel's Quality Milestones
  17. ^ "University of Maryland Honors Datatel with 2008 Smith Digital Economy Award," 2008
  18. ^ "Datatel Counted Among Top Finalists for the 2008 Microsoft Partner of the Year Award in Information Worker Solutions, Portals, and Collaboration," 2008
  19. ^ "Datatel Honored as 2009 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference Awards Winner in Public Sector, Education Partner of the Year," 2009

Additional References[edit]

  1. Company website
  2. "Datatel Offers Web-Enabled Management Software," Campus Technology, August 12, 2002
  3. "Company Profile for Datatel, Inc." Reuters, 2008
  4. "Great Places to Work: The List," Washingtonian magazine, 2005
  5. "Microsoft Announces 2008 Partner of the Year Awards Finalists and Winners," 2008
  6. "Great Places to Work: Where to Feel at Home," Washingtonian magazine, 2007