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Tiffin U Outsources IT Services To Combat Staffing Shortages

Ohio's Tiffin University has decided to outsource its IT operations after facing staffing issues. Tiffin, a private university that has about 7,000 students, signed a five-year contract with Ellucian to provide "leadership services, strategic design and planning, enterprise application support, technical support management, infrastructure support, application management services, web services support, and central 24/7 help desk," according to the university's 2013-2014 strategic plan. John Hallas, an Ellucian leadership services team member, has been named CIO at Tiffin.

According to the university's vice president for finance and administration, Leon Wyden Jr., a big reason for the switch from in-house to service provider staffing was location: "We are not located in a metropolitan area, and that makes it difficult for us to find and keep the high level talent that is needed to run a complex university operation." He added that the arrangement not only provides for "onsite generalists," but also access to "remote technology specialists" to get "timely availability of the right people with the right skills."

The input of Ellucian employees on site has already proven useful, the company said in a statement. On day two, a university server crashed repeatedly. Ellucian resources stabilized the system, minimizing downtime. The new staff has also developed a plan to optimize the use of Ellucian's PowerCampus administrative system to provide university leaders with process efficiencies. Ellucian is expected to provide strategic planning guidance and help the institution develop a governance model for its IT projects.

"Engaging with Ellucian was a good decision," said Wyden. "Our progress was limited by a shortage of resources under our old model. Now we will have a much more productive and enterprising IT department to move us forward in support of our academic mission."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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