OU, OSU Find Cost Savings in Shared Technology Services
To contain costs through collaboration, University of Oklahoma President David Boren and Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis have signed an agreement for shared technology services between the two universities. OU and OSU will also collaborate with OneNet, Oklahoma’s state-sponsored telecommunications network, to add additional private-cloud connectivity between the two campuses.
By sharing services, software and hardware, renegotiating key contracts and sharing expertise and training, the two universities are addressing the state’s lead in technology cost-containment and collaboration.
“With advances in technology, collaboration and shared services between OU and OSU are now easier than ever,” said Boren. “Sharing services between Oklahoma’s research universities and OneNet is another step forward in containing administrative costs.”
OU introduced its Shared Services initiative after the University of Oklahoma began significant investments in new data centers at each of OU’s three campuses in early 2011. OU produced an innovative plan for an infrastructure foundation that spans its campuses, allowing the University to reduce duplication of hardware, streamline software licensing and provide for more efficient staffing while enhancing technical support.
Both OU and OSU began discussions on collaborative opportunities in October 2011. Since then, all OU and OSU campuses are actively assessing sharing key contracts, portfolios, infrastructure and other IT resources for more efficiency across the state. The OU shared services initiative, combined with this new collaboration with OSU, is projected to generate approximately $15 million to $18 million in cost avoidance and savings over five years.
“We support and encourage collaborations and the use of shared technology with the University of Oklahoma that will reduce costs, enhance our students’ educational experience and our faculty’s research, and advance our state,” said Hargis.
Collaboration between OU and OSU will create other opportunities for shared services in conjunction with the Office of State Regents for Higher Education and the new CIO for Higher Education.
“One of OneNet's core initiatives is minimizing the costs of network resources for all higher education institutions across Oklahoma,” said Chancellor Glen Johnson of State System of Higher Education. “Through efforts within the State Regents’ Council on Information Technology, the state saves tens of millions of dollars every year. We see this collaboration as an expansion on those successes.”
OU-OSU’s shared services model will result in savings for both institutions and foster acollaborative spirit that advances Gov. Mary Fallin’s goals and serves the citizens of Oklahoma.
Fallin said that shared service initiatives are projected to produce substantial savings across state government, and that the agreement between OU and OSU would do the same.
“I’m extremely pleased that President Boren and President Hargis have announced plans for shared services at Oklahoma’s two largest universities, and I commend them for their work on an initiative that will save taxpayer dollars,” Fallin said. “Sharing and consolidating information technology services across state agencies have already resulted in significant savings for taxpayers. In fact, we expect IT consolidation initiatives to save as much as $170 million over the next seven years while helping to deliver a smarter, more cost-efficient state government.”
Previous collaboration between OU, OSU and OneNet resulted in the Oklahoma Cyber Infrastructure Initiative (OCII). Since its inception in 2008, the program has yielded five successful EPSCoR grants totaling more than $20 million for the state.