A recent survey conducted by CDI IT Solutions reveals that higher education IT decision makers are becoming increasingly interested in outsourced services to help address key challenges and implement priority initiatives.
Results of the survey show that those making IT support decisions at higher education institutions are most challenged by efforts to effectively manage resources dedicated to the needs of their constituencies, while still maintaining focus on their organization’s strategic initiatives. The survey shows they are finding challenges in:
•Disaster recovery (lack of adequate disaster preparedness)
•Quality assurance/testing (lack of standardization, lack of QA resulting in costly rework, lack of staff and time)
•Application development (have talent but lack IT process, standards and governance)
•Ability to stay on top of IT innovations and their impact on IT support models
•Security (threat of breaches)
•IT staff retention
As for immediate needs, the survey indicates that top IT initiatives for 2010 include:
•Disaster recovery and business continuity
•Content management and workflow
•Strengthening enterprise technology governance programs
•Expansion of service desk self-service
•Student computing & desktop virtualization
•Virtual computer labs
“As their CIO counterparts in the private sector learned in past business cycles, IT leaders at colleges and universities are beginning to recognize the value of outsourcing services to stretch tight budgets while maintaining quality service delivery to faculty, students and administration,” says Andy Cvitanov, President of CDI IT Solutions.
Half of the survey respondents indicated that they already outsource some IT services within their organization with the most common being those considered non-strategic in nature (student email, laptop distribution, printer support and project management, etc.). Noting that most opportunities would be in the QA/Testing and application development areas, nearly all believe outsourcing would be good for their institution provided they can:
•Successfully address outsourcing as cultural change with other internal decision makers
•Accept that an external service provider (ESP) can provide equal or better service than the institution itself and are willing to keep control by managing the ESP through Service Level Agreements
“Demand for services continues to grow as more innovative and non-traditional use of technology permeates into pedagogy, business systems and social computing models,” said one survey participant. “Demand for services requires us to evaluate our core competencies and where does it make sense to outsource to experts.”
“The results of our survey clearly show that IT outsourcing is perceived as favorable within the higher education community and the participants agree interest will continue to grow over the next few years,” continues Cvitanov. “Companies like CDI will prove to be an asset to those institutions as we provide them with high-value IT outsourcing solutions, ultimately allowing them to focus on their core organizational initiatives.”
About the Survey
CDI targeted IT decision makers (e.g. VP, AVP, CIO, Deputy CIO) of both public and private 4-year colleges and universities located throughout the United States. The purpose of the survey was to further explore the current challenges facing today’s higher education IT decision makers, understand their opinions on outsourcing IT services to external service providers and identify their top IT initiatives for 2010. CDI partnered with an independent third party to facilitate the survey.