Survivor: Outback (IT, you’ve been voted off the island)

University of Canberra outsourced and offshored its entire IT department to India-based Wipro, claiming they will save $5 million annually. Interesting to see if this pans out as they predict or what the services will be like. Maybe the faculty and staff will just go underground with their IT needs, so the true cost will be buried in vague “office supply” or “research supplies” budget lines.

2 Responses to “Survivor: Outback (IT, you’ve been voted off the island)”

  1. Laura said:

    Mar 18, 09 at 11:03 am

    I’ve often wondered whether this would work. I think there are probably certain components of an IT department that could more easily be outsourced than others. Email is one that comes to mind pretty readily. Maybe servers for basic file storage and sharing. Do you also host your web site on external servers? But what about specialty computing needs–servers data crunching, parallel processing, GIS, etc. And what about service? Are faculty and students going to call India when Microsoft Word isn’t working for them?

  2. admin said:

    Mar 19, 09 at 2:35 pm

    Exactly. There are certainly some services which for some schools are utilities and are good candidates for “sourcing outside.” But our mileage varies as to definitions of “utility.” And, at the end of the day, the mission of higher education is all about learning (learning through research, learning via a teacher, etc.). Learning is not efficient. Learning is creative, random, whimsical, innovative, and personal. And managing the technology to support this endeavor can be outsourced, but it won’t be very good; much the same way hiring too many contract teachers can lead to a lack of cohesion in an academic dept.

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