Staff members remain hopeful amid ILO struggles – The Rider News

By Kaitlyn McCormick

Despite ongoing transition issues at the start of the academic year, Rider’s recent IT outsourcing is credited with significant savings for the university and hopefully smooth operations for the fall semester.

Although Rider has partnered with Ellucian Services for over a decade, the decision to use Ellucian’s managed services division and move to an outsourcing model for the Office of Information Technology (ILO ) of the university came about quite recently, in part because of the many changes taking place. made to the school to induce savings in order to counter the ongoing cash deficit the school is facing.

make the change

Jim Hartman, vice president of finance and chief financial advisor to Rider, explained some of the behind-the-scenes decision-making when it came to making the choice to outsource the department, including “high six-figure savings “.

“I did a lot of reference checking,” Hartman said. “Not only did the universities save money doing this, but the service to the community actually improved dramatically, and that was in all the references I checked.”

According to Hartman, 13 of the 16 full-time employees (FTEs) on campus were former OIT Rider employees who decided to stay with Ellucian Managed Services, but there are also two FTEs in off-campus remote resources and l access to more than 184 Central technology personnel such as consultants, programmers and administrators.

“Retaining some of that knowledge base is really important with the transition, and some of them are long-time Rider employees, so we wanted to retain as much as possible, but also needed to make sure we were moving forward under this Ellucian umbrella. “, said Hartman.

Ellucian Services

Many people wonder what this outsourcing really means to Rider and how it differs from services used by the university in the past.

Oliver Wendt, the university’s acting chief information officer (CIO), said, “Ellucian Managed Services is a division of Ellucian. It is the service arm of our organization.

One of Ellucian’s main attractions as a long-time Rider partner is the company’s specialization in higher education institutions. The outsourcing process began June 15, but Rider has partnered with Ellucian since 2008, Hartman said.

Wendt said, “We’re not just industry leaders in higher education managed services, but we really specialize in institutional transformation, how to work with schools and help develop strategic plans.”

According to Wendt, there are more than 145 managed service locations across the country, including 11 in New Jersey alone.

He explained that although there is now a “smaller OIT footprint on campus…we have [the] knowledge of all our neighboring institutions that face similar challenges in higher education[ucation].”

A difficult start

While Ellucian Services was not a new partnership for Rider, this new service model correlated with a host of technology issues present at the start of the academic year.

“I would say it’s a combination of a lot of factors. Certainly, when there is turnover…you lose institutional knowledge, as well as [having] new people come to try to learn,” Wendt said.

Wendt also explained that today’s technology issues are much larger than just troubleshooting, especially now that advancements like “cloud computing” are so popular.

The influx of OIT problems was also compounded by the resignation of Wendt’s predecessor and former CIO Douglas McCrea. The resignation was announced by email on September 21. Although McCrea could not be reached for comment, Hartman described the split as “mutual.”

A new chapter

The choice to outsource aligns with a closer look at Rider’s technology services, and both Wendt and Hartman expressed their enthusiasm and commitment to using this switch to provide the best possible service to the Rider community.

Wendt said: “We have to look [the question of]”How can we meet modern academic computing needs in the 21st century”, and that’s not for us to decide and solve, it’s to work with faculty members who understand classroom pedagogy.

Wendt’s team also ventured into the Rider community to gather information from different departments regarding needs, wants, and frustrations that the OIT department could help alleviate.

“That was always the strategy from the start,” Hartman explained.

Wendt concluded, “Although it’s bumpy right now, I’m excited about the future.”

Earnest L. Veasey