Posts Tagged ‘Business Services’

Outsourcing Technology – Fears in Higher Ed

Administrators and faculty make the best decision possible for their institution, right?

I offer that is a Yes and No answer.

Items that may get in the way include: fear of the unknown, change, ego, finances, staffing, local, state & federal laws, etc.

A quote that stood out to me in an article over on eCampus News about this topic resonated with me.

“If outsourcing frees us up to focus on the core business of educating without risking the quality of service (and peoples livelihoods), then it is a good thing,”
Source: http://www.ecampusnews.com/research/higher-education-proves-resistant-to-outsourcing-technology/print/

That *should* be the goal of a school but it’s not always that simple. After all, higher ed institutions are in the business of providing an education not building networks or buildings or roads. That said, all of those things provide a means to an education. Finding the balance through open dialog and research is where we’ll all find the sweet spot.

The past 5 years (or so) have allowed more and more people to understand what options are available for each of the systems needed by a higher ed institution. In fact more and more schools are moving their email systems off-campus. By the fall I expect that more schools will have their email off-campus than on-campus.

Will these outsourced systems because as regularly used as electricity is? In the early days of electricity was like our IT world of today. Each company built and ran their own systems until there was a cheaper way – outsourcing.

Maintaining privacy for key data is going to be at the top of everyone’s list when discussing any form of upgrade or migration. How many schools would then bring in an outside consultant with little or no emotional or political attachment to the existing infrastructure to decide what a best decision would be? Due to the cost, the answer is likely “None.”

Questions for you

  • Is there a system that is off limits at your institution?
  • Where does email fit into the discussion?
  • Are students and faculty involved in these types of discussions?
  • Does your administration play it safe or are they boldly leading the charge?