As colleges, departments, and units around the University work to reduce costs while enhancing services as part of President Kaler's Operational Excellence initiative--or rather, what he calls "a new way of functioning at the University"--the status quo is being challenged. The effort is also fostering new partnerships.
UMN-TV is one example of a smart solution born of such a partnership--and one that is estimated to save more than $250,000 over the next five years.
Early In 2010, Housing & Residential Life (HRL) sought to improve the student experience by finding a more affordable way to provide cable TV to on-campus residents. At the time, those residents were paying subscriber fees ranging from $50 to $80 per month. HRL engaged the Office of Information Technology (OIT) to help find a better solution. Together, along with University Purchasing, these partners negotiated a U-wide cable TV service contract that leveraged the University's size and numbers. The result was the UMN-TV Standard Service, which provides 100+ channels of analog and digital TV content. In addition, the UMN-TV Online Service provides 16 channels to the Twin Cities campus over Ethernet.
Use it to Save
In fall 2010, UMN-TV was successfully launched, resulting in significant savings to residential students. Soon, colleges and departments who utilize cable TV in the classroom, waiting rooms, and lobbies also began taking advantage of the UMN-TV contract. University Athletics, for example, has saved more than $20,000 annually since some of their facilities switched to UMN-TV.
In 2012, the Office of Classroom Management (OCM) joined the UMN-TV partnership. OCM adds value by scaling up the service, enabling and assisting interested units and departments to make the transition. The service model is based on cooperation and shared responsibilities across three departments. HRL is the business owner, OCM oversees the licensing and administers a shared service model, and OIT is responsible for implementation and ongoing support.
About Operational Excellence
Operational Excellence is a long-term commitment to working smarter, reducing costs, enhancing services, and increasing revenues throughout the University. Learn more and contribute your ideas at Excellence.umn.edu.