Since it launched in 2017, ShareIT has saved Alberta’s education sector nearly $9.5 million.
Alberta educators have come to rely on cloud-based tools to deliver classroom learning content, as well as to manage their back-end operations. To meet this growing need for cloud services, Alberta’s ShareIT public procurement program has added Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure to its catalogue of offerings. This addition will ease costs and reduce workloads for dozens of school districts and post-secondary institutions in the province.
The new Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) cloud offerings are expected to save Alberta’s education sector $1 million by centralizing the procurement of these services. These savings largely represent the massive reduction in time that organizations would need to spend on running their own complex procurement, individually.
“ShareIT took on the Request for Proposal (RFP) process in order to provide a way for all participating members to easily procure cloud resources,” says ShareIT Manager Mary Friedrich. “So, instead of each organization spending hundreds of hours creating RFPs and reviewing submissions, and then doing the contract negotiations, we have done that work for them. This offering also allows them to take advantage of economies of scale created from pooling resources and centralizing the procurement process.”
“This has been a massive undertaking involving eight education representatives who participated in the development and evaluation process over the course of 17 months,” she adds. “It also represents the first ever consortium framework agreement for cloud services in Canada for the education sector.”
“What’s great is that we’re able to offer multiple benefits for participating members, particularly education institutions that are just getting started with the cloud. The resulting agreements with the providers also sets the foundation for future incremental benefits for members.”
History of ShareIT and what the new cloud offering means
ShareIT is an Alberta-based collaborative procurement service, overseen by representatives from the province’s post-secondary institutions, and managed by Cybera (Alberta’s not-for-profit technology accelerator). The program leverages economies of scale to give participants in both the post-secondary and K-12 education sectors access to a broader, more powerful, and more economic suite of computing technologies.
Since it launched in 2017, ShareIT has saved participating members nearly $9.5 million, with $3.5 million in savings since April 2019 alone. (For the latest figures on ShareIT’s member sector breakdown, and accumulated savings to date, view the metrics dashboard).
The AWS (distributed through Softchoice) and Microsoft Azure cloud services have been fully validated for technical, security, and privacy compliance. And as well as simplified access to these cloud tools, ShareIT is also offering free cloud training to members, including introductory and advanced workshops customized to the needs of ShareIT members.
“School administrators have long relied on cloud infrastructure to house and manage their services, but its importance to all levels of education — including in classroom learning— has never been higher,” says Barb Carra, President and CEO Cybera. “The future workforce will need to have a good understanding of cloud technologies, which is why services such as these are becoming so important for Alberta educators. With this offering, we anticipate a large beneficial impact for many Alberta organizations, both large and small.”
ShareIT will be adding other items to its catalogue later this year, including telephony equipment and services, A/V hardware and services, and accessibility education tools for learning management systems. Cybera encourages members who have ideas for other services / products they would like to see offered to contact our team at ShareIT@cybera.ca.