Higher education proves resistant to outsourcing technology

Federal laws that require campuses to secure student and faculty data has made many higher-education officials gun shy when it comes to contracting with companies to store massive amounts of sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, and student grades.

“If outsourcing frees us up to focus on the core business of educating without risking the quality of service (and peoples livelihoods), then it is a good thing,” one respondent said in James’s report.

Another campus respondent cited bad outsourcing experiences, insisting that the school’s IT staff would do a superior job.

“Generally speaking, our team can do a better job in-house than we can if we outsource. Often times we can do it more quickly as well,” the respondent said. “Of the four projects that we have outsourced in the last six months, none of the vendors that we have worked with have delivered a product that didn’t require significant additional work by our team.”

Immediacy could be the most appealing part of outsourcing key technology services, said several survey respondents.

“I wish we had support to do this more, because I don’t see the sense of spending two years building something that is perfect (maybe) when something can be bought off the shelf and you just compromise a bit,” the respondent said. “Further, I have been frustrated several times by an IT department that would not support basic services like proper blog hosting, yet told my group we were wrong to go outside to get what we wanted.”