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ClassLink builds server as school data tool

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From left, Stanley Watts, chief technology officer, and Berj Akian, CEO and founder, ClassLink.
From left, Stanley Watts, chief technology officer, and Berj Akian, CEO and founder, ClassLink. - ()

Clifton-based ClassLink has created a virtual server for educational institutions, called OneSync, which automatically identifies login accounts for students no longer enrolled or employees who have exited.

OneSync offers account provisioning for Google and Microsoft.

“The story of what we do is basically helping create this experience of more time learning and less time logging in,” ClassLink CEO Berj Akian said. “That’s the underlying theory – more time actually using the resources and less time sitting there getting frustrated with the logins necessary to use each of those resources.” 

Before OneSync each educational institution needed an employee to enter and delete the names of new students and employees. OneSync is now handling this process, taking lists of databases and automatically creating login accounts.

“We’ve developed a particular tool that allows us to transfer the data from the school institution to some of these providers in a way that’s automated,” Akian said. “There is a greater need to get information from one system to another. The ideal way to do that is to use what a technology-minded person calls open-data standards. That simply means companies come to an agreement as to the information that they are going to communicate with each other and how they are going to do it.”

Akian said school districts shouldn’t use a single programmer to write software to accomplish this task, as the person may leave – along with knowledge of the program.

ClassLink will market OneSync to educational institutions around the nation. It currently does business with 550 educational institutions.

“Where the universe of technology used to be a Microsoft conversation, it is now fast becoming a Microsoft, Google and Apple conversation,” Akian said.

ClassLink Chief Technology Officer Stanley Watts said OneSync saves time by eliminating the process of editing names in databases.

“If there is a change in the account at the school district or university, it will synchronize those changes,” Watts said. “It will update names in the directories.”

A major challenge facing colleges and school districts centers on outdated names in databases. Colleges are routinely admitting new students and losing students to graduation and dropouts so they need to update their lists.

Another challenge ClassLink faced was the variety of networks and infrastructure among educational institutions, Watts said.

“Every time you go into an institution, the way they configure their network is completely different from the institution right next door,” Watts said. “The big challenge was ensuring that our product was flexible enough while still maintaining the simplicity to handle those completely unique environments. Our system has a lot of different rule sets in place that you can configure and allow you to customize how those accounts are created and matched in those different systems.”

Founded in 1998, ClassLink employs about 70 people.

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David Hutter

David Hutter


David Hutter grew up in Darien, Conn., and covers higher education, transportation and manufacturing for NJBIZ. He can be reached at dhutter@njbiz.com.

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