Announcement Details: We are excited to share some news with you about Blackboard’s new partnership with IBM and Amazon Web Services (AWS), which will have far-reaching and lasting impacts for the education technology industry. This communication will provide details on how this will benefit our customers and other business partners.
We will partner with IBM in the operations and infrastructure management of Blackboard’s data centers. We have also selected AWS as our cloud services provider and entered into an agreement with IBM to manage our cloud services environments. This partnership will enable Blackboard to focus on what we do best – developing innovative educational products and services – while relying on the world-class data hosting and operational capabilities of IBM and AWS.
This partnership does not affect our Transact customers.
This partnership offers customers many benefits. It will enable us to accelerate our focus on developing innovative educational products and services that serve the needs of our customers. Furthermore, we will leverage IBM’s experience, scale, and tools with the goal of delivering the highest quality of service possible to our customers. This includes stringent service level agreements intended to ensure that Blackboard customers receive the most reliable and resilient hosting services available in the marketplace. In addition, this partnership allows for enhanced technical, organizational and physical security measures to safeguard Blackboard customer data. We will also leverage the power of the AWS ecosystem to accelerate product development and deployment, further improving customer experience in the future.
Our relationship with Amazon and IBM is integrated. There are no gaps in accountability for delivering reliable services to our clients. And it’s backed by a comprehensive and robust set of service level commitments to deliver highly available and responsive services for you.
To learn more about our partnership, we will be providing further details in the weeks ahead through webinars and at the upcoming BbWorld Conference.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Why did Blackboard select IBM and AWS as their partners?
We spent considerable time selecting our partners, and we’re confident in what both IBM and Amazon will deliver for our customers. IBM is one of the world’s top infrastructure management organizations, and is uniquely positioned because of its experience and work in the education space. AWS is the clear leader in cloud services, with the largest global cloud infrastructure footprint, the most well-developed ecosystem, tremendous momentum and rate of innovation.
Both companies share our values and dedication to maintaining the privacy of customer data, and both have invested heavily in world-class security programs to keep your data safe in accordance with global standards and regulations.
2. Will the partnership extend to infrastructure provision and management for Blackboard’s Transact customers?
No. Transact will continue to operate as today with no changes.
3. How can I learn more about this partnership between Blackboard and IBM and the benefits to me?
In order to provide you with an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about this partnership and how it will benefit you, we have planned for several sessions at BbWorld, as well as a series of customer webinars. BbWorld is scheduled for July 12-14 and the webinars will be scheduled in July and August.
4. Will this change in responsibility affect who I call if I have a question or issue?
No. Your support will continue to be handled by the same Blackboard team that exists today.
5. Will I see any changes as a result of the partnership?
Yes. We expect that you will see operational improvements starting in the 3-6 month timeframe. These include improved system availability and accelerated response time to issues.
6. What does this mean for Security and Privacy?
This partnership will provide an enhanced privacy and security program and robust technical, organizational, and physical security measures to protect customer data. Further, our agreement with IBM and AWS contains detailed provisions intended to safeguard data in international markets in specific consideration of EU and other international privacy laws and regulations. These provisions include geographic restrictions on the location and transfer of customer data, and encryption standards, to comply with applicable law.
7. Does this partnership mean that I will need to move out of my existing Learn hosted environment?
No. Customers who are currently running Learn 9.1 in our managed hosting datacenters will not be required to move. We will continue with our current managed hosting centers.
8. What about other Blackboard applications besides Learn?
Many other Blackboard applications are already delivered in a software-as-a-service model using Blackboard-managed datacenters. Over the coming years, IBM and Blackboard will work together to move these applications from Blackboard datacenters to AWS. Any migration plan will be developed in full consideration of giving customers an uninterrupted service and user experience.
9. What if I have more questions about this partnership?
There are three ways you can get answers to your questions:
- Attend one of the multiple sessions planned for BbWorld.
- Attend one of the online webinars which will be scheduled in the coming weeks.
- Contact your Account Executive or Customer Success Advocate.