It’s hard to conceive of a more powerful display of collaboration than the NCAA Basketball Tournament, known to us mere mortals as March Madness. Beginning with the Round of 64 on March 21 and culminating with the NCAA Championship game on April 6, millions of viewers watched a total of roughly 1,900 collegiate players work together methodically, strategically and sometimes feverishly in their effort to prevail in the most important contests of their young lives. There were 126 games played in just 2½ weeks.  Madness indeed.

Here at Tidemark, we followed this year’s tournament more closely than usual – and not just because we (and our customers) recognize the enormous value of collaboration. The competition felt more personal to us this year because we hosted our first annual NCAA Tournament bracket: the 2015 TideMarch Madness Game. We invited professionals from throughout the Higher Education community to try to out-predict their colleagues (and their rivals). Many participated in hopes of winning our Grand Prize: a $500 donation to the school or non-profit of their choice, along with an official NCAA game ball customized with our snazzy TideMarch Madness logo.

When the final score told the world that Duke beat Wisconsin, Ed Martin, Deputy CIO of George Washington University, stood alone in our bracket. While Ed didn’t pick Duke to go all the way, his bracket picks were prescient enough in the pre-final rounds to earn an impressive total score of 116. As our Grand Prize winner, Ed selected the Alliance for Lupus Research as recipient of a $500 donation from Tidemark. And let’s not forget that sweet NCAA game ball, which he’ll no doubt be showing off to colleagues at GWU.

Tied for our second place prize are Anthony Heyward, a member of the Finance Department at New York University, and Jason Patterson, senior computer technician at Pellissippi State Community College. Both gentlemen finished the tournament with 109 points – enough for each to earn a gift certificate from Rickshaw Bagworks, purveyors of handcrafted urban messenger bags and other great stuff.

As we wrap up our inaugural TideMarch Madness Game, we’d like to congratulate Ed, Anthony and Jason – and we’d like to thank all our Higher Ed participants. We’ll be back next year with even bigger prizes.

Until then, we’ll focus on what we do best:  Providing born-in-the-cloud, mobile-first applications built to make finance a participation sport. Fortunately for our customers in Higher Ed or every other industry, transforming your FP&A environment is nothing like March Madness. Because when you get in the game with Tidemark, everybody wins.