Are you considering collaborating with another college or department to improve IT services? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Make the goals clear. In the current environment, when people hear "collaboration," they think job cuts and slashed budgets, warns Joanne Kossuth, vice president of operations and CIO at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering. Olin, which partners with neighboring Babson and Wellesley colleges near Boston, focuses on telling employees that the partnerships mean a bigger resource pool.
- Play to the partners' strengths. If one college has a great enterprise resource planning system and another has a new data center, let each take charge of the areas where they excel. "The more you can make this about bartering, the better," Kossuth says. "There's not just one way."
- Adjust disaster planning accordingly. Taking over a service for another campus means there are not one but two colleges whose needs must be considered should disaster strike. Don't forget to incorporate the partner into your own continuity of operations and disaster recovery plan, says Sue B. Workman, associate vice president for client services and support at Indiana University.
- Hold regular meetings to ensure all is well. IU and Ivy Tech meet weekly, and have done so since IU took over the help desk in July 2012. IU provides weekly metrics, including the number of calls handled, the reasons for the calls, how many were resolved and so on. "They didn't have that data before," Workman says.
- Don't take on too much at once. IU provides Ivy Tech phone and email support. Although officials have discussed adding other support services, such as chat, they first want to ensure the current services run smoothly, Workman says.