In “Should We Outsource IT?” Campus Technology columnist Linda L. Briggs profiles the University of Florida, which has outsourced some specific IT projects.
For example, the campus offers a distance learning program that delivers “sophisticated video, text, animation, and simulation content via high-speed Internet connections to students at four campuses across Florida.” That’s handled by DigiScript, a Nashville service provider.
Why outsource in this situation? According to Bill Riffee, associate provost for Distance, Continuing, and Executive Education, “After we decided what resources we’d need to physically capture, host, and support [the project], we came to the conclusion that we didn’t have the infrastructure to provide the reliability we needed… We didn’t have people on campus who got up in the morning thinking, ‘I need to capture lectures today and that’s my number one priority.’ They had 50 other things to do instead.”
Without that service provider, says Dr. Riffee, the school probably wouldn't have the distance program.
Likewise, the school outsources the marketing and “customer service” aspects of its Doctor of Pharmacy program. As the article notes:
Through that company, they discovered an interesting fact:25 percent of potential students for the program take up to five years to enroll. Without an outside partner with professional data-tracking and marketing expertise, Riffee says, the school would have abandoned marketing efforts to those students. Instead, they now know to continue pursuing them.