Massive collaborative effort nabs Alberta educators national IT award

Representatives from the ShareIT oversight committee and project team accepting the CUCCIO Collaboration Award. Pictured: Harold Berry, Mount Royal University; Barb Carra, Cybera; Brian Stewart, University of Alberta; Mary Friedrich, Cybera; Mark Humphries, University of Lethbridge

Only weeks after officially launching, Alberta’s ShareIT procurement service has been nationally recognized by CUCCIO, Canada’s community of information technology leaders in higher education, for its groundbreaking collective achievement. At last week’s Canadian Higher Education IT Conference (CANHEIT), the Alberta post-secondary service received the esteemed CUCCIO Collaboration Award.

ShareIT is a shared service that leverages economies of scope and scale to give Alberta higher education institutions access to a broader, more powerful, and more economic suite of computing technologies. Led by the University of Alberta, and facilitated by Cybera (Alberta’s not-for-profit technology accelerator), the trailblazing project involves 19 post-secondaries working together on IT procurement. This group has spent the past year identifying hardware and software needs — and contributing their knowledge and expertise — with the goal of increasing the technology capabilities (and cost savings) of educators in the province.

“This project was a considerable collaborative undertaking. Over 40 technical and procurement experts spent many, many months conducting meetings and document reviews to get it off the ground,” says Mary Friedrich, Cybera’s project manager for ShareIT. “To receive the national CUCCIO award is an incredible validation of our efforts, as well as great encouragement for other provinces and sectors looking to develop their own shared procurement projects.”

“Alberta’s post-secondary institutions have long known the benefits of sharing their tools and knowledge,” adds Brian Stewart, Deputy CIO at the University of Alberta, who accepted the award at the CUCCIO gala. “With ShareIT, we are beginning to realize the potential of collaboration across the sector to improve the level and quality of services, and to capture the significant savings of shared procurement. I look forward to continuing to work with our partners to grow and extend the capabilities provided to Alberta researchers, educators and students.”

The project facilitators presented their “Pay It Forward: Lessons Learned from Piloting a Shared IT Initiative” during the CANHEIT conference. To view their slides, click here. To find out more about ShareIT, and how to join, contact ShareIT@cybera.ca.


BACKGROUNDER

About ShareIT

ShareIT is a collaborative service that is creating shared learning and cost saving opportunities for educators across the province. Members pool their hardware and software needs, thereby increasing their negotiating powers with third-party providers. This service is operated by Cybera and Alberta’s post-secondary institutions.

What Does ShareIT Do?

  • Makes services available that would normally be out of reach to smaller organizations    
  • Reduces service management duplication across organizations            
  • Increases Alberta educators’ negotiation power by pooling purchase needs
  • Utilizes existing capacity within the post-secondary system        
  • Operates on an opt-in, opt-out model, on a per-service basis

The ShareIT model allows any post-secondary institution in Alberta to join and become a consumer and/or provider of the shared IT service(s).      

About CUCCIO and the CUCCIO Awards

CUCCIO is Canada’s community of higher ed CIO’s and information technology leaders working together to help Canadian universities excel through the innovative and effective use of IT. CUCCIO is a non-profit, member-funded corporation representing more than 60 universities Canada-wide, who collectively serve over 95% of Canada’s university students.

The CUCCIO Awards are designed to honour individuals, groups or institutions whose work exemplifies CUCCIO’s efforts to build and support Canada’s higher education IT community. The awards are presented each year at a gala evening in conjunction with the annual CANHEIT Conference and represent CUCCIO’s desire to promote IT innovation, collaboration and community across Canada's higher education sector.

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.