Commoditizing Core Services Cynthia M. Hadden, Deputy CIO for UIS

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  • 1. Commoditizing Core Services Cynthia M. Hadden, Deputy CIO for UIS Brian D. Voss, CIO Information Technology Services Louisiana State University Copyright Brian D. Voss and Cynthia M. Hadden, 2007. This work is the intellectual property of the author. Permission is granted for this material to be shared for non-commercial, educational purposes, provided that this copyright statement appears on the reproduced materials and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the author. To disseminate otherwise or to republish requires written permission from the author. Enterprise 2007 - The EDUCAUSE Enterprise Technology Conference
  • 2. So, you need to get 10 lbs of S hh … er … information systems into a 5 lb bag? We do too.
  • 3. Peer Info Systems Costing 5K 25K 50K 100K+ ERP Reality ‘Home-Grown’ Linear (Mythical) 80K Major Univ. 1– >150 FTE Major Univ. 2 – 80 FTE LSU Flex level LSU Current staffing LSU Post Flex Staffing Level Student Headcount (FTE)
  • 4. DRAFT
  • 5. One obvious solution might be to increase staff size. DENIED!! Not Going To Happen! And assuming we do increase funding for systems, we would not be able to find the talent in today’s market in Baton Rouge.
  • 6.
    • There are no miracles – no three loaves and fishes solution
      • More funding must be allocated
    • But we know in a University setting (in particular, our University setting) that there is an important difference between funding (expense/cash) and personnel
  • 7. Non-Personnel Possibilities
    • Contract programming
    • Contract services
    • Short-term appointments
    • Commodity services
      • SaaS … Software as a Service
  • 8.
    • Is the Software as a Service a viable option?
    • At LSU, we’ve demonstrated that it can be done with e-mail.
  • 9. The LSU E-mail Experience
    • 1997
      • PAWS, E-mail and the Technology Fee
    • 2003
      • Everything old is . . . not necessarily new again. It may be obsolete.
  • 10. Did we say the system was obsolete?
    • The SG Information Technology Officer sent an email to our office asking that we upgrade the student e-mail system to “greatly aid students who use PAWS as their primary e-mail client.”
    • Students requested improved functionality including multiple attachments, a signature block, a personal address book & group calendaring.
    • “ When I am forced to use the PAWS e-mail (e.g. when accessing via the web from remote locations), I am amazed that such a frustrating, horrible, primitive, user-unfriendly e-mail system hasn't been replaced or at least significantly improved by now. . . . “
  • 11. We considered several options . . .
    • Staying the course
      • Cost prohibitive; Would not meet student requirements
    • Deploying another solution locally
      • Not a cost-effective use of limited resources; Would have e-mail experts spending time on “running to stay in place” activities rather than pushing the envelope in other areas.
    • Outsourcing e-mail
      • The list price of web mail services indicated that solutions were available for less than $10/box/year - but we would have to be careful to maintain or improve service levels.
  • 12. We worked with SG to conduct a survey & further refine requirements ...
    • Email
      • Attachments, Signatures, Spell Check, Rich Text
      • Out-of-Office Replies, Reply to All
      • Filtering, Flagging and Forwarding
      • White lists, Block lists, Automatic Junk Mail Deletion
    • Address Book
      • Nicknames, One click entry
    • Calendar
      • Individual, Group, Enterprise
  • 13. We also defined technical specs . . .
    • Company
      • Hosts email as primary business
      • Manages 100,000’s of accounts
      • Operated for two years or more
    • Infrastructure
      • Web-based Customization & Admin
      • Portal Integration Capabilities
      • Backup and Recovery
  • 14. We piloted an application . . .
    • Great look. Great features. Everything I have been asking for!
    • An address book. Finally!
    • Anything is better than the old way!
    .
  • 15. We selected a service provider …
    • Outblaze, Ltd.
      • Carrier class provider hosting > 30M accounts
      • Satisfied all bid specifications
      • Less than $3.00/box/year
    • Initial Service Offering
      • 50 MB storage, Calendaring, Forwarding, Spell Check,
      • Anti-Virus, Anti-Spam
  • 16. We encouraged voluntary migration .. .
    • Voluntary Migration to Basic Service became available in late June, 2004.
    • More than 8,300 students migrated to the new solution by August 31, 2004.
    • Now, complete migration to Outblaze
  • 17. We continue to leverage our success . .
    • By working with SG and STF to expand service offerings .
  • 18. 1 Gigabyte Email + IMAP/POP3
      • New Features
        • Email Quota 50M -> 1G
        • IMAP/POP3 Connectivity
      • Cost
        • Cost for Basic Services: ~$80K/year
        • Cost for Expanded Services: ~110K/year
        • Total Cost for E-mail Services: ~$190K/year
        • Cost Per Student = $6.33/year
      • STF Connection
        • Approximately 95% of the cost of these services are underwritten by the Student Technology Fee
  • 19. Web Hosting
      • New Features
        • Webhosting capabilities
        • 250 M quota for collaborative storage
      • Cost
        • Approximately $50K / year
      • STF Connection
        • Approximately 95% of the cost of these services are underwritten by the Student Technology Fee. FrontPage is delivered to students via TigerWare (topic for another presentation).
  • 20. We continue to leverage our success . .
    • By working with SG and STF to expand service offerings .
    • By implementing new individual and institutional email service strategies.
  • 21. Individual and Institutional Options
    • Individual Email
      • Students, faculty, staff
      • Outsourced
      • General market focus
      • Portal & direct access
      • IMAP, POP, Web
    • Institutional Email
      • Faculty and staff
      • On-site
      • Institution specific
      • Portal & direct access
      • IMAP, POP, Web & other
  • 22. Motivators
    • Individual Email
      • Cost and market
      • Reliability, integrity, and control
    • Institutional Email
      • Reliability, integrity, and control
      • Cost and market
  • 23. We continue to leverage our success . .
    • By working with SG and STF to expand service offerings .
    • By implementing new individual and institutional email service strategies.
    • By revisiting Google/Microsoft options as these continue to evolve
  • 24. Google/Microsoft Advantages
    • High brand identity
    • Highly functional and popular user interface
    • Known high service levels
    • Multi-homed so risk of failure is lower than normal
  • 25. Google/Microsoft Considerations
    • Service level guarantees
    • Backup / recovery for non-DR purposes
    • Archive functionality other than POP (no IMAP)
    • Retention filtering capabilities
  • 26. Institutional Value
    • Potential for….
      • Cost effectiveness
      • Enterprise email services
      • Disaster email services
      • Alternative email interface for faculty/ administration traveling internationally
  • 27. Can this experience with e-mail be generalized to other core services including information systems?
  • 28. Your views / experiences?
    • What types of services lend themselves to outsourcing and why?
    • Are there any services that should not be commoditized?
    • What are some examples of services that you have outsourced?
  • 29. At LSU, we have outsourced e-mail, course management system and value-adds. We are just getting started.
  • 30. Email Recap
    • Market-Driven Demands
    • Universal Access
    • Spam and Viruses
    • Personnel
      • However, not institutional e-mail
  • 31. Course Management and Value-Adds
    • Course Management
      • Personnel
      • Information needed to properly maintain the system not readily available
    • Value Adds
      • Time-to-market
      • Access to ready-made markets
  • 32. The Road Ahead:
    • Information Systems
      • Student Health, Traffic, Continuing Education, HR
    • Expertise
      • COBOL, Data Base Administration
      • (take care of the 1 deep problem, 3:1 on talent?, can be accomplished with one-time money?)
    • Activities
      • Reporting, Analysis
  • 33. Your views / experiences?
    • What are the critical factors to be considered when outsourcing a core service?
    • Are there any cases in which you started down the path to outsourcing and then backed off?
    • Why? What didn’t work?
  • 34. Critical Factors
    • Understanding Campus Requirements
    • Define requirements based on real needs rather than service provider demos. Use this requirements document to validate that a proposed solution will meet institutional objectives.
    • Understanding Risks
    • Outsourcing places the immediate responsibility of maintaining and managing the a service in the hands of a service provider. It may be difficult to bring services back to the campus if things don’t go as planned.
  • 35. Critical Factors
    • Selecting a Service Provider
    • The service provider should meet and preferably exceed the level of reliability and service expected of an in-house solution. Also, consider how much influence the institution would like to have over the outsourced offering.
    • Evaluating Services based on Requirements
    • Outsourced solutions continue to evolve. However, there are still a few gaps. Pay particular attention to service level guarantees and integration with enterprise authentication methods and enterprise directories.
  • 36. Critical Factors
    • Preserving the Chain of Trust
    • Evaluate potential solutions for compliance with federal and state regulations and with institutional policies and procedures.
    • Planning for Disaster Recovery
    • Consider your expectations and what you would do in the event of a disaster on campus or with the service provider.
  • 37. Your views / experiences?
    • Who should participate in the decision?
    • Is there a process?
  • 38. Critical Participants / Processes
    • Partnering
    • Piloting
    • Phasing
    • And, scalability/flexibility
  • 39. Critical Participants / Processes
    • We are using the same approach as we consider other opportunities.
    • Our goal is NOT to have resource constraints be the reason / excuse for not addressing key policy and process issues.
    • We expect that another critical factor as we move forward will be to have policy and process considerations addressed upfront.
  • 40. Your views / experiences?
    • How do you measure success?
  • 41. Success
    • Improved services at a reasonable price
    • Generally understood cost model
    • Some opportunities no longer “lost”
    • Repeatable
    • LSU e-mail:
    • Three years later and still going strong
  • 42. Commoditizing Core Services Brian D. Voss, CIO Cynthia M. Hadden, Deputy CIO for UIS Information Technology Services Louisiana State University Copyright Brian D. Voss and Cynthia M. Hadden, 2007. This work is the intellectual property of the author. Permission is granted for this material to be shared for non-commercial, educational purposes, provided that this copyright statement appears on the reproduced materials and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the author. To disseminate otherwise or to republish requires written permission from the author. Enterprise 2007 - The EDUCAUSE Enterprise Technology Conference