Alberta Educators Save Nearly $1.7 Million in IT Procurement in 2017

Six months into the launch of Cybera’s ShareIT procurement service, Alberta’s education institutions have already saved nearly $1.7 million.

ShareIT began in June 2017 as a collaboration between 19 post-secondary institutions who were looking to reduce the cost of their IT hardware and service purchases. Facilitated by Cybera (Alberta’s not-for-profit technology accelerator), the program has leveraged economies of scope and scale to give participants access to a broader, more powerful, and more economic suite of computing technologies.

In September, Alberta’s K-12 school districts were invited to join the ShareIT program to purchase equipment from the current agreements, adding 11 school authorities to this cost-saving initiative.

So far, ShareIT participants have reported saving 25% on their networking hardware purchases (compared to what they would normally pay using the education discount), and 23% on end-user hardware. This equates to $1.66 million in IT savings in just six months.

Savings Lead to Service Improvements

For Joe Guenther, Director of Information Technology at Olds College, these savings have enabled his team to vastly increase the quality of Wi-Fi offered on campus.

“Instead of upgrading our system with the the lower-end network access points that we had originally planned, we were able to purchase mid-range access points through ShareIT," he says. “Additionally, instead of only upgrading a portion of the campus, we were able to do the entire campus. This upgrade increased the number of clients who can connect to a single access point in a classroom (from 30-50 devices to 150+), with 10 times the throughput! We recently hosted a tech conference, and the organizers actually complimented us on the our network speed and reliability, which was great to hear.”

“We’re thrilled by what ShareIT has been able to accomplish in such a short time period, particularly as it enables Cybera members to redirect much-needed funds to other important initiatives,” adds project manager Mary Friedrich. “And this is the just beginning. We’re focused on maintaining the momentum and growing the service catalogue to allow more institutions — particularly the smaller ones — to save time and resources in their IT operations.”

The Path Forward

Going forward, the ShareIT project team is building the procurement requirements for the next three catalogue offerings: survey tool applications, managed security services, and virtualization technology. Cybera is also exploring opportunities to develop a K-12 specific initiative, replicating the ShareIT governance model.

Project leads will be presenting on the accomplishments and future plans for ShareIT at the 2017 Convergence Conference in Calgary on October 26 at 11:00 am. Existing and prospective members are welcome to attend and meet with the ShareIT team.


Background

How does ShareIT work?

ShareIT is governed by an oversight committee representing Alberta’s education institutions. This committee collectively decides which hardware and software products and services should be prioritized for group purchase. Committee members also share best practices based on their own purchasing experiences. The goal of the service is to increase service offerings at Alberta’s institutions, while driving down costs.

Cybera’s role is to facilitate the service delivery lifecycle of ShareIT. This includes: managing the program; identifying opportunities; working with technical experts from participating institutions to build the requirements; and overseeing the service design, acquisition, and operations.

What products are currently available in the ShareIT catalogue?

End-user computing hardware:

  • Windows Desktops

    • Standard
    • High Performance
  • Laptops

    • Desktop Replacement
    • Ultra portable
  • Monitors
  • Thin Clients (including Chromebooks)
  • Mac Desktops
  • Mac Laptops
Networking Hardware:
  • Edge Switches
  • Core Switches: small, medium and large
  • Data Center Switches
  • Edge Routers
  • Wireless LAN Controllers
  • Wireless Access Points

Which vendors are providing these products?

  • Hewlett Packard Enterprise
  • Juniper Networks
  • Microserve
  • WBM Technologies

How can education institutions get started on ShareIT?

This service is available to all Cybera members who are in Alberta’s education sector. Visit Cybera’s website to see if your organization is already a member. (If you are not a Cybera member, you can find out how to join here).

If you are a Cybera member, you will be asked to to sign: 1) The ShareIT memorandum of understanding, and 2) A participation agreement for each service you wish to take part in. Contact ShareIT@cybera.ca for more details.

About Cybera

Cybera is funded by the Government of Alberta and members to accelerate the adoption of advanced technology in the province. Its core role is to oversee the development and operations of Alberta’s cyberinfrastructure — the advanced system of networks and computers that keeps government, educational institutions, not-for-profits, business incubators and entrepreneurs at the forefront of technological change.

Working with partners in the public and private sectors, Cybera also leads ‘above the network’ projects in Alberta to pilot next-generation and shared IT services that support the province’s economic growth.