Kivuto, a provider of academic digital resources, recently released the results of its innaugural academic IT survey, exploring the complex challenges being faced today by IT departments within higher educational institutions.
Kivuto, in partnership with University Business, surveyed technology leaders from universities and colleges to get a better understanding of the challenges and complexities of managing and distributing academic digital resources.
The survey findings highlight a number of key challenges. Procedures that vary by department or by product, unintegrated systems, and limited visibility into product adoption and end-user satisfaction rates all add to the burden faced by academic IT management. This burden will continue to grow as more and more software moves to the cloud.
Among the key findings of the survey:
• 86% of respondents said the lack of integration between systems and workflows is the biggest challenge to managing and distributing digital resources.
• 67% of respondents were concerned by their lack of visibility into the rate of digital resource adoption and use at their institutions.
• 84% of respondents are concerned about compliance when it comes to distributing digital resources.
Ryan Peatt, chief product officer at Kivuto, said: “Shadow IT, decentralized licensing and distribution models, in-house systems, and manual workarounds have compounded the challenges that IT departments face when managing digital resources.
“Quite simply, they don’t know what they don’t know. It is not uncommon for an academic institution to have varying models for purchasing and distribution, nor is it uncommon for these processes to live on different campuses or even within different departments, making it impossible to have visibility across all channels in one central place.”
By Ryan Peatt, chief product officer, Kivuto.
Academic institutions face many challenges due to how the ever-changing nature of technology affects the management and distribution of licenses. No longer can schools afford to leverage traditional models to ensure their students, faculty, and staff are equipped with the right technology to succeed. Innovative and scalable new IT solutions must be developed to create the backbone for academic success and greater user experiences. This includes such things as exploring sustainable licensing criteria, centralized funding models, and risk reduction initiatives.
at higher educational institutions need the freedom to choose the tools they
use to teach. But when resource procurement is decentralized, there is no
visibility into what tools are being ordered, in what quantity, from which
vendors, and at what price. This makes it impossible for institutions to
optimize their budgets and ensure compliance with all laws, terms, and
crucial for institutions to develop enforceable and sustainable licensing
criteria that include clear guidelines around what products their faculty can
license, in what quantities, and from which vendors. Organizations can
accomplish this by giving faculty more visibility into what resources are
available and what terms and conditions they come with; or by establishing a
request-and-approval process for faculty wanting to adopt resources their
school has not already licensed.
University of Utah did both, setting up a secure, centralized repository
containing all assets available to faculty. Educators have self-serve access to
all resources the school has already licensed, and requests for new assets can
be submitted directly through the repository and are visible to other users who
may need the same resources. By ensuring faculty are aware of what’s available
and what’s been requested, and by requiring them to get approval for new
resources, the university has established a more efficient and less risky way
for educators to select their teaching tools.
ideal world, all software would be procured and funded centrally at the
enterprise level, ensuring that compliance requirements are met, and that the
lowest prices are secured. Unfortunately, central funding models can be too
rigid for many institutions as they often require that a certain level of
demand for a product before any licenses are ordered. This can result in
frustrating waits for faculty and students who need resources that aren’t in
high demand. Alternatively, these models may result in institutions
over-ordering certain products and losing money on unused licenses. So
institutions often allow individual departments, or even individual faculty, to
handle the procurement of their own resources.
counter this, Queen’s University explored the option of implementing a
cost-recovery plan. Under their model, software would be procured centrally at
very high volumes to get the best pricing available. The school could then
‘sell’ licenses to individual end users for far below the equivalent retail
price or other volume-license/academic pricing. These chargebacks, combined
with the savings the school sees by purchasing in bulk, would save Queen’s a
significant amount compared to the cost of ordering licenses on an as-needed
licensing is complex, and with complexity comes risk. Institutions are
responsible for ensuring compliance with all terms and conditions attached to
every piece of software they license, from campus-wide essentials to niche
products used by a single faculty member. This is already an uphill battle. As
vendors transition their products to the cloud, move to time-based delivery
models and inflexible clickwrap agreements (which are often updated without
notice), software management and distribution will become even more complicated
– and riskier.
teams need visibility into what software is being purchased, installed, and
used at their institutions. They must ensure that the number of licenses
installed does not exceed the quantity purchased. All stakeholders should
clearly understand all usage rights and restrictions attached to every product
they use, and comply with them diligently. Procurement and IT teams need to vet
service agreements against their own legal, privacy, accessibility, and
computing policies, as well as applicable laws.
reduction must be a core priority in any college or university’s software
licensing strategy. Aggregated and centralized management of software licenses
can help with this by reducing the overall level of risk to schools through
visibility and education.