Case Study

Rebooting for Success: Improving Technology Services at a Top-Ranked University

Topics in this Case Study :

Higher Education Strategic IT

Faced with increasingly complex IT needs and no increase in IT funding, a top public university needed to identify ways to optimize spending and reallocate existing resources.

University leadership turned to Censeo to help them find a solution that didn’t require raising tuition and fees. As a result of the project, the university was able to reduce IT expenses, build out the IT organization through several key hires, and enhance IT offerings for students and faculty.

$3M

total savings

13

number of initiatives

$1M

to reinvest in the IT staff

Situation

A top ranked public university faced the challenge of providing its students and faculty with top-tier IT services while minimizing costs. The university’s IT organization had a decentralized structure, with a central IT team and additional IT employees distributed across various schools and departments of the university. Due to the decentralized approach, the IT standards across the university were inconsistent, and the existing governance structure was ineffective. The CIO’s office was well-regarded across the university for its customer service, but did not have the skills necessary to lead a modern IT organization (e.g. vendor management, project management, business analysis). The university brought Censeo onboard to assist with upgrading their IT functionality while simultaneously identifying ways to maintain—or reduce--costs.

Approach

Censeo’s approach to developing the university’s IT office while controlling costs included:

  • Conducting an activity-based survey of all IT staff across the university to understand workload distributions;
  • Performing a rigorous analysis of IT financials and identifying spend for service and infrastructure areas (e.g. email, ERP, network infrastructure, etc.);
  • Determining the true cost-to-serve figures for all elements of the IT service portfolio and supporting technology infrastructure, and providing leadership with an understanding of the true cost associated with each service offering;
  • Comparing the current costs of service with alternative service options (e.g. use of cloud capacity, staffing against accepted benchmarks, etc.) to understand if there were opportunities to provide services at lower prices.

Results

The project resulted in the identification of $3 million in savings opportunities across 13 separate initiatives, including service/infrastructure areas and organizational restructuring, all without reducing service offerings to students and faculty. In addition, Censeo developed an aggressive cloud strategy that provided additional bandwidth for existing IT employees and enabled the university to avoid the construction of a new multi-million-dollar data center.

To continue moving the university towards a path of IT improvement, Censeo recommended reinvesting $1 million of savings back into the IT staff to help build out the skill sets of the organization.