The Norman Transcript

November 27, 2012

Millions saved in collaboration between universities

Transcript Staff
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Although the legendary OU-OSU football rivalry made for a spectacular clash Saturday, a collaboration between the two universities will mean spectacular savings for both institution’s students.

Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma have collaborated to generate $3.7 million in cost efficiencies as a result of a commitment by OSU President Burns Hargis and OU President David Boren to share technology services, according to a news release from Brittney Rochell of the OSU communications office.

The largest portion of the figure came from jointly renegotiating a five-year key contract with Microsoft to provide licensed Microsoft Windows and Office software for students, according to the release.

“Through the leadership of presidents Boren and Hargis, we have saved students across both institutions on the purchase of essential productivity software,” Loretta Early, OU vice president for information technology, said in the release. “Each download of this software reduces student education costs by more than $100.”

The two universities also negotiated a contract with Tegrity to share lecture capture services, and they consolidated network equipment by co-locating devices at OSU-Tulsa.

OU and OSU joined forces again last month to create a series of cyber security awareness bulletins and videos, which were distributed via email on both campuses throughout October. The campaign, titled “Bedlam Battle: Security Edition,” encouraged recipients to watch the videos by adding an element of competition: The school with the highest percentage of video views — which was OSU — won.

The schools were able to save money and resources by producing a single program to be used by both institutions, according to the release.

“Since information security is an integral part of protecting our students, faculty and staff, we chose to promote awareness of this important topic while engaging in a friendly Bedlam competition with OSU,” Early said. 

“We have come a long way in the past eight months, and we look forward to continuing our momentum through further collaboration with the University of Oklahoma and OneNet,” said Darlene Hightower, OSU–Stillwater chief information officer. “It’s encouraging to see what we can accomplish when we work together. We particularly want to thank the OU students in the IT Communications Department for the wonderful animation and work they did on the Bedlam security awareness campaign.”

In addition to cost economies, the knowledge-sharing and relationship-building achievements of the two schools include developing a common service catalog to provide a framework for identifying collaboration targets, publishing a joint paper to further their commitment to work together and share IT resources, and enabling the ability to access each other’s computing resources.

“Although this collaboration was borne out of a need to create cost efficiencies, we have reaped the additional benefit of forging ongoing relationships with our counterparts from institutions across the state,” said David Horton, OU associate vice president for shared services.

The two schools plan to negotiate additional key technology contracts while continuing to share technology training across their campuses and work closely with the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education CIO and OneNet, OSU’s Rochell said in the release.

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