Technology services deal with budget cuts

Luis Martinez, Administration Editor

In a recent program analysis report, it was recommended to implement cuts in areas of Informational Technology Services, Center for Academic Technology Support and other tech support areas.

In the report, it recommended a review of the way technology services are used on campus with the intent of consolidating it all into one department. Depending on the final structure used, it is estimated it would save Eastern $500,000, according to the report.

The savings could be seen in licensing savings, hardware and server-system services, reduction of duplicate personal, and all the efficiencies gained by having technology personnel under one management structure.

Currently, ITS and CATS are mainly thought of in terms of technology services on campus; however, there are more similar positions in other areas as well.

In fiscal year 2013, all vice president areas spent a total of $16 million, which went toward technology services such as hardware, software and personnel. Of the $16 million, $3.4 million came from CATS and $5.3 million were from ITS for appropriated use.

Kathy Reed, assistant vice president for ITS, said ITS has worked diligently to save money in order to avoid any reductions in service.

“One of the examples that is well-known to the entire university community is the transition from Zimbra for email to Office 365,” Reed said. “The transition was completed this fiscal year.”

Reed said approximately $40,000 was saved in fiscal year 2015 and $116,000 is estimated to be saved in the fiscal year 2016.

She also said instead of losing services, students have gained more services with the switch to Office 365 Pro Plus.

“With changes Microsoft made in their licensing structure, we were able to convert from Pantherfile that used the product Xythos to Panthershare utilizing Sharepoint,” Reed said. “The conversion should save an estimated $13,000 next fiscal year.”

Reed also said they had changed some tools to use less expensive ones.

“We continue to look at every tool and system that we support to determine whether a lower cost alternative is available, to insure the university is licensed appropriately, and to insure we are utilizing the product to its fullest extent,” Reed said.

Reed said the president had included all of the technology the university uses in his reductions plans, and ITS is just one portion of it.

 

Luis Martinez can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]