By now, I assume you have all seen the Wall Street Journal article Deans List: Hiring Spree Fattens College Bureaucracy—And Tuition about the rising costs of higher education, and the WSJ's focus on the University of Minnesota. But I'd like to highlight that we've been working hard since I arrived at Morris to reduce our campus technology operating costs, while increasing (or at least maintaining) the services that we offer to students, faculty, and staff. Our VPCIO, Scott Studham, has similarly been working over the last year to bring down operating costs across all IT areas at the University.
I am queueing a blog article for a few weeks from now, about what IT at Morris offers to campus (I wrote a similar post last year) and I now plan to work in some of our cost reductions. For example, our adoption of more centrally-offered services such as servers and web hosting allows our technology staff more opportunity to directly support the campus.
In the meantime, you may be interested in a few facts shared by VPCIO Studham that already reduce the University's overall IT costs:
- We have already reduced the number of IT helpdesks from 73 to 56, while consolidating support staff to offer a 24x7 help line. This number will continue to go down with ongoing effort from the Helpdesk Community of Practice. President Kaler's goal is to have one number to call for help.
- We have avoided a $14M data center construction project by better utilizing existing spaces.
- Independent analysis firm Gartner values the University of Minnesota's implementation of Google Apps (Gmail, Calendar, …) at $15M. That's a considerable savings. The University would have needed to invest significant resources in a new email and calendaring system, but now we can direct those dollars elsewhere in the University.