Alberta Post-Secondaries Come Together to Share IT Services, Expertise

In a groundbreaking move that will increase the technology capabilities of Alberta’s educators, while reducing their IT costs, a group of 19 post-secondary institutions (PSIs) have united to share their IT experience, knowledge, and procurement practices. ShareIT is an Alberta-based shared service that leverages economies of scope and scale — along with group procurement — to give post-secondaries access to a broader, more powerful, and more economic suite of computing technologies.
 
Initiated last year as a pilot project led by the University of Alberta, ShareIT represents a significant collaborative effort by PSIs in the province. Following the successful completion of the pilot (which was funded through the Alberta Association in Higher Education for Information Technology), the service has now launched and is available to any interested PSI in the province. ShareIT is facilitated by Cybera, Alberta’s not-for-profit technology accelerator.
 
The service pools members’ IT needs, thereby increasing their negotiating powers with third-party providers. By using ShareIT’s procurement services, PSIs can expand on the services they offer, while sharing best practices for those tools. This in turn is expected to boost the capabilities and offerings of smaller educational institutions, while allowing PSIs of all sizes to save money and resources on IT.

“ShareIT represents the logical direction for post-secondary institutions in Alberta to take as they realize the benefits of cooperation and collaboration versus pursuing individual initiatives. In addition to making significant savings on hardware and software, MRU’s participation in ShareIT is helping us improve best practices in the areas of supply chain management, vendor negotiation and group purchasing processes. Strengthening these capabilities will help MRU weather the financial storm currently battering the Alberta economy, while at the same time improve our ability to meet growing student demand for access to top quality education.”

 Michael Barr, CIO, Mount Royal University (MRU)

“This initiative has allowed us, a small Alberta college, to leverage collective price negotiating that would otherwise not be available to us. ShareIT has allowed us take advantage of its aggressive pricing, while still being able to work with our existing value-added reseller, with whom we have done business for many years. So this is win-win-win: we are happy with the pricing; our vendor is happy with the business; and our students get an updated, state-of-the-art wireless network across the whole campus!”

 Joe Guenther, Director of IT, Olds College

The ShareIT catalogue currently includes networking devices and end user computing hardware, with plans to expand to software tools.
 
“As advocates of the transformative power of technology for learning and economic growth, Cybera is thrilled to be supporting a project that is improving service offerings in education facilities, and saving Alberta’s public sector time and money,” says Barb Carra, Chief Operating Officer of Cybera.
 
Members of ShareIT can opt in on individual procurement offerings. Interested PSIs in Alberta are welcome to join and become a consumer and/or provider of a shared IT service(s). Once the program is further established, Cybera hopes to explore opportunities to create similar cost savings for other public sectors.
 
To find out more about ShareIT, visit the website, or contact ShareIT@cybera.ca.