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CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY | February 2013
why it makes sense to have all servers in one location and to
plan coordinated purchasing across silos. We stressed the
importance of having all servers in a central data center. The
benefits include reducing duplication of air-conditioning
units, and power backup provides for a more secure loca-
tion. We not only saved money but increased performance.
Hatch: For Virginia’s Community Colleges, our biggest sav-
ings come from the centralized infrastructure and implemen-
tation of our enterprise systems, such as the student and fi-
nance systems, the decision-support system, and the new
workforce enterprise system. For example, VCCS has one
of the largest PeopleSoft Campus Solutions and Blackboard
Learn implementations; by using a centralized approach, we
are able to provide more services for the 23 colleges and
there are significant savings.
In addition, the statewide Multiprotocol Label Switching
(MPLS) network allows us to create a private cloud, and
serves as a launching pad for other services such as an en-
terprise authentication as well as opportunities for shared
services including VoIP, security scanning, and e-mail. With-
out these centralized services, our smaller colleges would be
unable to provide the services they do...or at least not at the
same level. The cost of running the systemwide data center
and our enterprise apps is less than 1 percent of the VCCS
budget, with savings of at least $20 million per year.
Other savings are also generated from joint procurement
opportunities on a variety of items ranging from computers to
software licensing. We are in the process of expanding what
has worked so well for IT into other areas of our operations.
Looking ahead, what emerging IT trends are likely to
consume a significant amount of your budget, and why?
Hoover: What we see is probably similar to what other in-
stitutions across the country are experiencing. We will be
spending a lot of money and resources on maintaining and
expanding our core network infrastructure and on wireless.
This includes increasing bandwidth and the hardware to al-
low for expansion. With the number of network devices ex-
ponentially increasing each year—as well as heightened ex-
pectations from students, staff, and faculty—we will need to
continue to make strategic investments to handle this. Last
August, we upgraded our university bandwidth to 2.2 GB
and will probably need to upgrade that to at least 3 GB with-
in the next year. In the past year, the number of devices on our
network increased 32 percent.
Along those same lines, we need to continue to invest and
improve our classroom technology. There is now an expec-
tation—rightfully so given how technology can enhance the
teaching and learning experience—of having technology in-
stalled in every classroom. Some of the technologies that we
are piloting for classroom use include lecture capture as well
as videoconferencing technologies.
We will also be making significant investments in online and
distance-learning technologies. These technologies include
web and audio conferencing, more online collaboration tools,
and a digital repository.
Hatch: Running a data center to support the size of our cur-
rent enterprise systems takes a lot of financial and human
resources—and will probably continue to do so even as we
begin to explore cloud options, starting with some of our
smaller systems. In addition, we are preparing to launch an
enterprise mobile application that will allow us to take advan-
tage of our enterprise resource planning system—and the
programming skills of the colleges—to ensure that we meet
our students’ needs. VCCS is also pursuing innovations, and
ways to be more flexible in pursuit of innovation. If we are flex-
ible, we will be able to quickly identify new opportunities and
options, thus saving resources in the process.
Khan: Despite the fact that the majority of the IT budget is
dedicated to salaries, fielding a competitive IT workforce
is a major challenge in a highly demanding and rewarding
Andrew Barbour is executive editor of Campus Technology.
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