Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Posted By mwasowski      Category

With the promise of keeping you updated about the progress of Blackboard Collaborate, here is a new statement from Maurice Heiblum, President, Blackboard Collaborate:

To the Elluminate and Wimba Communities,

My name is Maurice Heiblum and I’m the President of Blackboard Collaborate, the new division of Blackboard created by the acquisition of Wimba and Elluminate on July 7. (I’m hoping this isn’t the first that you’ve heard this news, but if it is, please click HERE for more details.)

Since that day, we’ve been hard at work on our three most important goals:

1.    Customer experience - Ensuring that you continue to have the great client experience that Elluminate and Wimba have always provided, especially during this back to school time.
2.    New team - Bringing Elluminate, Wimba and Blackboard teams together into a single, cohesive unit so we can carry that high standard of client care forward.
3.    Roadmap - Creating a vision for how our collective solutions come together to help you better engage students, improve outcomes and save time while  trimming cost.

As we make progress on these goals, I want to make sure you receive frequent communications from me and our team.  I’ll start today by providing an update on how the teams you interact with most have come together.  I’m happy to say that the headline is very consistent with our vision going into this new stage.  We thought we could build even stronger teams together than apart, with relatively limited change overall, particularly in the areas closest to delivering you a great customer experience.  You’ll ultimately be the judge of whether we were right, but I’m feeling good about our first steps. 

Customer Support – The people who supported you before will be the same ones who support you moving forward.  Zemina Hasham will lead a combined Wimba and Elluminate support organization that continues unchanged.

Professional Services – Led by Aaron Bond, we stand ready to help you implement our solutions and provide training and certification programs on our products.

Sales and Customer Success - The combined Sales and Customer Success teams will also continue to be led by familiar faces – Paul Roberge, Kristian Photopoulos and Thomas Jepsen.   While we have attempted to maintain consistent points of contact, there might be some change in your individual account teams.  We’ll inform you of those in email within the next few days.

As excited as we are about the new organization, combining the Wimba and Elluminate teams under the Blackboard umbrella has not been easy.   As is inevitable when joining similar companies, we’re losing some of our team members who have been like family and have helped build our companies.   We are deeply grateful to each of them for their contributions and wish them all the very best.  They will be missed. 

Lastly, know that we’re also continuing to make progress on the longer term product strategy we committed to start sharing at Educause in October.  The combined development organization for Blackboard Collaborate is of course bigger and stronger than either of our development organizations were on their own so we’re eager to start sharing our view of the road ahead for their work.  The integrated product strategy and marketing teams, led by Annie Chechitelli, Mike Mabey, Steve Kann, Rajeev Arora and Valerie Schreiner are hard at work on the roadmap and look forward to sharing more detail with you in October.

I’ve shared all the names above because of the personal relationships that many of you have built with our Sales, Support, Services, Products and Customer Success teams. We value these close relationships immensely and I hope the continuity in our leadership team above will showcase our commitment to continue our philosophy of always putting our customers first.

If you attend the Educause conference, I hope to see you and talk to you there.  If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to email me directly or the team at