Though there are many differences between Nova Scotia’s post-secondary institutions, they all share a need for robust, integrated digital communication and collaboration.
That’s why there’s the Higher Ed IT Shared Services consortium, a group governed by the 11 post-secondary education institutions in the province. Its goal: improving service and finding cost-savings by identifying ways universities and colleges can share or collaborate on IT services.
Last month, the consortium — of which Dal is a founding member — was awarded the first-place Quality and Productivity Award from the Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO) at its annual conference in Ottawa.
The award recognized the adoption of the Office365 communication and collaboration platform, which is now being used by all members of the consortium for email, calendar and other services. A single procurement contract with Microsoft and a shared services project management office allows schools to share implementation plans, policies and best practices, change management and support services, as well as technical migrations and collaborative training.
Vice-presidents finance and administration from each institution, along with IT leaders, collectively manage the shared IT services, providing each institution with industry-leading cloud-based technology at lower costs.
In 2015/16, eight shared service IT projects were completed through the consortium at a combined savings of nearly $350,000. Divested of servers and responsibility for upgrading applications and storage, IT organizations can focus on more value-added activities, including ongoing transformation of service delivery, technology and collaboration. The result is a model for other jurisdictions.
Accepting the award on behalf of the group was Dalhousie’s Ian Nason (vice-president, finance and administration) together with Perry Sisk (senior director, information technology services and support at Saint Mary’s University) and Todd Williams (executive director, Higher Ed IT Shared Services).
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