| by Ron Kraemer
As we all face the issues with COVID-19 and the resulting economic consequences, it is more important than ever that we take advantage of offerings that present efficiencies from both financial and staffing perspectives.
When we want to buy new software or establish new contracts or licensing agreements, each of us must go through many steps. Besides the cost of the product or service, there are legal, security, licensing configuration, indemnification, and procurement guidance issues to consider. Traditionally, each campus has addressed these things individually, so if 100 campuses were trying to buy the product or service, there would be 100 lawyers, 100 procurement officers, 100 finance department staff, 100+ user department staff, and 100+ CIO office staff all engaged throughout the procurement process.
The Value of Cooperative Purchasing
Over the last several years, cooperative buying has come on strong, reducing costs for campuses, dialing in on product specifications and standards, and focusing on requirements that meet most needs. These cooperative procurements also address the requirement for many public institutions that may only purchase through competitive solicitations.
E&I already has an extensive portfolio of products and services, and they are well positioned to react quickly to education needs. By partnering with other organizations like Internet2, the Higher Education Systems & Services (HESS) Consortium, and e-Literate and its Empirical Educator Project (EEP), E&I is increasing its value to higher education.
Collaboration & Partnerships Deliver Great Value
As we quickly move into a new era of advanced cloud services, contact tracing, offsite work, advanced virtual conferencing, remote learning, online proctoring, plagiarism detection, and digital workflow, collaboration at the university/college level and partnering across industry and service providers will benefit everyone.
The key to unprecedented success is for each of these organizations to present offerings that don’t replicate other offerings and, when possible, combine forces to deliver products and services that meet higher education needs at the lowest overall cost, while delivering the greatest value. I challenge all of us to provide input that will ultimately benefit all of our students, faculty, and staff.
About the Author
Ron Kraemer has recently retired after serving as the CIO at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He stays active working on special projects, participating on advisory boards, and serving as a coach and mentor for information technology professionals.