Pathful: A Leader in Education Technology Providing College and Career Readiness to Students with Salesforce, CPQ, Boomi, and Oracle NetSuite

The Story at a Glance

Pathful helps students get college and career awareness, planning, exploration, and live industry connections for a more insightful, impactful, and meaningful education experience. Pathful was born out of the successful merger of two industry-leading education technology companies which meant from day one they had two sets of platforms, two sets of data, and teams with two different ways of getting work done that had to all work together quickly. With the help of Plative, the Pathful team was able to create one source of data truth and streamline their business operations across a seamlessly integrated environment of Salesforce and Oracle NetSuite.

Technology Implemented

  • Salesforce
  • Salesforce CPQ
  • Oracle NetSuite
  • NetSuite Advanced Revenue Management (ARM)
  • Boomi iPaaS

Pathful, Leader in Education Technology

“Pathful is an education tech company that operates in the career and technical education segment. Our focus is on career discovery, what do you want to be when you grow up, and then connecting students with working industry professionals so they can get a better sense of their career options and define their career goals. We receive a lot of testimonials from students and it’s nice to get to go to work and see an impact.”

Ed Rayner, Chief Financial Officer

Preparing for M&A-Fueled Hypergrowth

Pathful was born out of the successful merger of two industry-leading education technology companies: Virtual Job Shadow and Nepris. Overnight, the newly formed Pathfulteam had two sets of platforms, two sets of data, and teams with two different ways of getting work done that needed to be integrated together. Pre-merger, the Nepris team had a lot of history sitting in their platforms, volumes of historical data, and many outgrown processes that would soon hinder their growth as a larger company. Part of the reason for their merger with Virtual Job Shadow was knowing they’d hit their limitations and needed a partner to work with to continue to adapt and grow in the education tech industry. The team had the expertise and breadth of knowledge from previously working with platforms like Salesforce to know the solution to both their problems was out there.

Together, Pathful’s CFO Ed Rayner and SVP Ops Mark Fry needed to figure out the operations to keep things working and meeting this pace of growth.

Unifying Systems to Support The Merger In Less Than One Year

A majority of the initial work was in combining all of the different teams, rebuilding and unifying all the processes that existed, and bringing a new brand and go-to-market strategy to life. Mark and Ed spent a lot of time on the systems side of how to make this all happen smoothly. Each company was using different systems and sometimes the same systems but for different purposes. This systems integration project had to be completed within 12 months in order to achieve board-level deliverables.  

This was going to involve a lot of manual work to get all of the objectives and success definitions ironed out before beginning the technical work. Things like deciding which data was needed and not, finding missing needed data, combining data on shared accounts for one source of truth, and unifying two entirely separate sales and revenue operations processes became top of mind.

“A lot of the complexity was having two sets of accounts and two separate processes for doing almost everything, so how do we combine all of those within 12 months?”

Ed Rayner, Chief Financial Officer

Pathful, Leader in Education Technology

Plative, Pathful, and PSG

Together with their private equity firm, PSG, Pathful’s leadership team tapped Plative to work on finding a solution for merging and implementing our new processes efficiently right out of the gate. The teams needed to define which systems were going to be upgraded and optimized, what the timeline would be, who from Pathful would need to be an active stakeholder, and how the Plative team would help organize parties from all parties to work together to execute on the goal.

“Our investors also mandated this work out of the gate. There was not really even a conversation to the point where in our first board meeting as we were talking about systems, the senior partner on our deal was actively engaged in the conversation around how we were going to get this done. It was tablestakes for us. Having that level of buy-in from this senior level was super helpful.”

– Ed Rayner, Chief Financial Officer, Pathful

Choosing Proven Systems

From previous experience with Salesforce and NetSuite, Pathful was already familiar with the dominance that both platforms had in their respective ecosystems. They knew they worked well and had the capabilities they needed to get to the streamlined process they were looking for. 

Ed and Mark wanted to choose the best platforms for the job at hand for CRM, ERP, and CPQ and needed a unified integration strategy that made the platforms feel like one unified experience for the employees of Pathful. That’s why they chose Salesforce for CRM and CPQ, Oracle NetSuite for ERP and revenue recognition, and Boomi for the integration platform (iPaaS). Making use of these industry-leading platforms helped them shorten their time-to-value and spend less time customizing solutions to fit their needs. They were excited that this stack could grow as they grow and look into adding more systems and capabilities to their processes.

Pathful, Leader in Education Technology

“For us, it was more of a ‘why not NetSuite’ and ‘why not Salesforce’ mindset. At my last job, we did a very similar implementation of Salesforce, Salesforce CPQ, and NetSuite with Plative, so we knew implementing and integrating those platforms would just work very well together.”

– Ed Rayner, Chief Financial Officer

Salesforce CPQ and Sales Cloud were implemented to streamline the lead-to-cash process including complex product and price book automation, pricing and product rules to coach sales reps through their quoting process, and quote-to-order management. On the NetSuite side, QuickBooks was replaced and the teams implemented Financial Management, Order to Cash with Advanced Revenue Management (NetSuite ARM), and Procurement. To top it off, Salesforce and NetSuite are integrated across accounts and customers, items and products, orders and sales orders, and order line items to NetSuite sales order line items.

The Importance of Choosing a Cross-Cloud Partner

Mark and Ed were both part of Salesforce and NetSuite projects at other companies. They acknowledged that technology partners are typically experts in either one or the other platform which creates the feeling internally like you’re running two projects at once. That’s why they chose Plative: one partner team to advise and execute across CRM, middleware, and ERP, and one single accountable party.

They valued that Plative had this breadth of expertise, communicated well, and took the time upfront to understand their full business and what was unique about them to build a solution they actually needed. A major change like this is an evolution, not a revolution. This is something Pathful will grow into and yes it works great now but there’s always something Pathful and Plative can work on, add in, or grow into as their business grows.

Together with Mark and Ed, the Plative team was able to achieve go-live across Salesforce, Salesforce CPQ, and Oracle NetSuite on time and on budget.

“Something Plative did really well was taking time at the beginning of this engagement to really understand our business and our objectives to really work with us from a requirements perspective as opposed to trying to just ask us what we needed. Sometimes we didn’t even know what we needed, but they were able to translate what we were saying and present potential solutions to us based on what they’d seen before.”

-Mark Fry, SVP Ops, Pathful

Data Excellence Across Platforms Drives Positive Outcomes

Today, the Pathful team is all about data. Now that Salesforce and NetSuite are sharing data and capable of cross-cloud reporting, the finance and operations teams are able to spend less time manually creating and generating reports, and a lot more time making strategic decisions based on the outputs of those reports. With the implementation in place they’re not looking at what do they need to fix to keep moving, they’ve moved on to what can they do to help us continue to grow. They’re excited for the future and plan to spend more time now looking into business intelligence and insights.

“It’s all about data. We’ve made it over the hump. We’ve normalized our data. We now have one source of truth and that really allows us to set ourselves up for not what do we need right now but what would help us grow.”

– Mark Fry, SVP Ops, Pathful

About Pathful

Pathful helps students decide what they want to be, what they need to learn, and the people they need to know to prepare them for life beyond the classroom. Pathful also allows teachers and administrators to consolidate reporting and gain insights on multiple college and career readiness and work-based learning outcomes within one comprehensive platform.

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