The impact of COVID 19 on UK Higher Education
COVID 19 has increased student numbers, put severe pressure on income and accelerated online teaching across the Higher Education sector.
(We took a look at the major challenges and opportunities for IT departments posed by COVID 19 in this post so won’t repeat them here!)
One consequence of the increased and changed workload for IT departments is they need to take a fresh look at their priorities.
COVID 19 has accelerated the shift to the cloud, freeing-up internal resources and improving user access and satisfaction. But there is still a need to make over-stretched budgets work harder. In an increasingly digital world, what worked in the past is not always the best for the future.
One option is to take a long hard look at the role IT outsourcing could play beyond hosting. And the priority area is application development, maintenance and integration services.
IT outsourcing and the Higher Education sector
Some studies suggest that around 20% of UK IT budgest are now outsourced and clients continue to grow according to PA Consulting.
Anecdotal evidence suggest the figure in Higher Education is lower, maybe closer to 10%. Why the difference? Higher Education is a conservative sector historically insulated from commercial pressures and with ample funding in recent years.
But there is a clear trend in all but the largest institutions to outsource server hosting. There is also an accelerating shift to the cloud typically starting with Office 365 adoption or maybe new Digital services that are native to the cloud. Other triggers are the adoption of enterprise applications such as Slate, Banner or Salesforce. These are sensible steps to take and we believe this trend will accelerate.
Why outsource application development, support & inetgration?
The reason? It is one of the most difficult to resource, manage and deliver user satisfaction on-time and to budget. The diversity of legacy platforms, systems and applications can mean the need to retain a relatively large pool of staff but with little flexibility to quickly meet changing user demands. And as a ‘non-core’ activity it is often hard to build and retain the complex and changing knowledge and expertise.
Triggers for outsourcing application development and management:
Some of the common triggers for considering outsourcing are:
- COVID 19 – remote working and reduced IT budgets for 2020/21 and beyond call for a shift in focus and priorities to remote working, e-learning and content digitisation
- Internal knowledge & resource constraints, including loss of core skills through redundancy and retirement (including key contractors) or need to re-deploy staff to more innovative & strategic priorities
- Improve Stakeholder satisfaction in an era where students are delanding more, faculty driven online and users working remotely
- Cost reduction and control to make the most of constrained budgets and improve visibility and value-for-money
- Improve software development processes – adopting Agile and Dev Ops principles and tools across development, integration & testing.
9 major benefits of Outsourcing with us
- Up to 30% savings against current spend through a blend of on and off shore talent pools managed by dedicated onshore account and project managers
- A Partnership model based on common goals with clear roles and transparency
- Access to a deeper pool of ‘on demand’ resources, both for legacy and emerging technologies
- Improved user and stakeholder satisfaction through increased performance, responsiveness and transparency
- Reduced time to delivery via increased talent pool
- Clear contractual performance SLA’s mapped to core metrics and tracked and shared in real-time and with penalty clauses
- Accelerated adoption of modern software development and support approaches – Agile, DevOps and ITIL/SIAM
- Shared cloud collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams for seemless remote collaborative working with ‘one view of the truth’ and ‘virtual team’ working
- Access to industry-wide best practices to reduce risks and accelerate technology adoption to realise business benefits
5 common challenges
- Develop a common ‘language’ and way of working that embraces modern 21C ways of working such as Agile and DevOps
- Ensure no conflict around IP generated and its ownership
- Focus on Quality as well as Cost to meet user delivery expectations
- Address Cloud and legacy integration challenges
- Help the client change internal culture and improve change and relationship management processes to take advantage of outsourcing.
Want to Know More?
Contact us for details of our 21st Century IT Outsourcing Assessment and find our how we can save you money AND improve user satisfaction.