Jan 02 2024

Conversation: The Guaranteed Budget-Saver Higher Ed Can’t Buy

Identifying redundancies and cloud migration opportunities helps with line items, but that’s not where your budget starts.

Budgeting involves nuanced, difficult conversations. But too often, institutions shy away from the very conversations they should have to make sure that their tech investments are paying off.

That’s a mistake. Schools may meet certain goals on their journey and believe that they’re taking the right steps — newer devices, say, or support staff. But when considering efficiency, right-sizing and optimization, it’s about more than evaluating tools. It’s about the big picture, which can’t come into focus without those tough conversations.

RELATED: How IT cost optimization strategies promote organizational value.

Redundancy Points to a Pressing Need for Important Conversations

Business optimization helps institutions understand where they can consolidate and leverage their existing platforms more resourcefully. But that understanding can’t happen without communication across all stakeholders.

Take duplicative spending. When an institution has two solutions to the same problem, it’s spending unnecessarily. You often see overlap in security solutions: An institution’s primary platform might have reliable, embedded security enhancements, yet people are still introducing additional security solutions. You end up with multiple products that do essentially the same thing.

Click the banner below to learn how to optimize your university’s device management program.

Understanding how to leverage an investment can help schools consolidate and stop paying massive renewals. Lean into the platforms you know and learn how to maximize them.

Critical Assessment in the Age of Higher Ed Decentralization

Still, all the platform capabilities in the world won’t matter unless you’ve evaluated what you already have. It can be difficult to assess what you have and what you need. Some large institutions say, “Show us where all of our spending for this vendor is located, and we’ll partner with you just for that.” They don’t know how much they’re spending or where they’re spending it, making an assessment nearly impossible.

This is one of the hazards of decentralization. Maybe an institution has an agreement with a vendor, but three departments are buying separately from the same vendor. Without communication across departments and disciplines, it’s difficult to understand where the investments actually are, much less how to optimize them.

Hiring the right people and enabling the right workflows can get everyone on the same page. You don’t want to talk to eight different people across multiple departments to get anything done. That’s how decentralization takes hold, because people don’t want to work through red tape. It can ultimately be wasteful to fail to invest up front in how an institution behaves.

LEARN MORE: The best higher ed IT roadmap is a flexible and inclusive one.

How Your Higher Education Budget Gets Made Matters

The way your budget is structured will inform your solutions. Some schools are heavy in capital funding; others are heavier on operational budgets. We don’t expect stakeholders to come in knowing specifics or using financial lingo like OPEX and CAPEX, but we need to understand how your budget works in order to develop the best solutions.

Let’s say a university has zero operational money. Everything is capital. We’re not going to look at solutions with yearly or monthly investments; it has to be one bulk purchase. For institutions with no capital arm, all of their investment is operational. Those institutions might fare well with leasing solutions and other flexible tools.

Your vendors understand that budgets and finance are sensitive topics. But the better the understanding your suppliers have of your budget and how it functions, the more successful your work together will be.

Click the banner below to optimize your university’s connection to the hybrid cloud.

With the Right Approach, Cloud Provides Efficiencies

We know that cloud migration can save money, but know what you’re migrating. If it has a high level of security due to a compliance issue, storing it in the cloud could be expensive.

But it makes great sense to migrate many things to the cloud. The cloud does enable efficiencies, such as more strategic on-premises hardware and fewer unnecessary backups. It allows for more control and easier access, which is why you see a move to this consumption model.

The key is to be judicious. Don’t move everything into the cloud. Instead, facilitate conversations where people can really look at workloads and decide what to migrate.

Working with CDW brings you the expertise and support you’d expect from a leading IT provider. But part of our value is unquantifiable: an opportunity to bring together the disparate elements of your tech structure and have the important conversations that you can’t afford to put off.

This article is part of EdTech: Focus on Higher Education’s UniversITy blog series.

wutwhanfoto/Getty Images
Close

Become an Insider

Unlock white papers, personalized recommendations and other premium content for an in-depth look at evolving IT