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IT Costing Subgroup - Minutes 2011-05-20

Purpose of this group

This was the initial meeting of the group.  After lively discussion, we settled on the following aims for this group, ranging from the immediate and practical, to the long-range and broad...
  1. Ensure some consistency in how we all handle the BPSE FTE sreadsheet, during the campus-wide IT Costing Study;
  2. Find ways to define BPSEs in a common or standard way across units;
  3. Share best practices for managing BPSEs within our respective units;
  4. Seek ways to develop "Common Services" (mostly at the BPSE level), that could be "outsourced" from a unit, and thereby leverage economies of scale and reduce unnecessary duplication;
  5. Identify barriers to the development and acceptance of these common services, and possible ways to overcome them;
  6. Provide a forum for discussion related to development of new common services.

WTC Role & Objectives

  • The campus-wide IT Costing Study is nearing it's midpoint - Round One is coming to an end.  At this point in the study, WTC is preparing a report to the oversight groups, and wants to broaden their engagement by formally including the UW Computing Directors in the effort.  This engagement with Computing Directors is supported by UW leadership (Sponsors of the study) and the Steering Committee.
  • In preparing the status report, WTC wants to test their findings, recommendations and ideas before presenting them to the oversight groups; in particular, as they relate to "commodity" or "common services".
  • WTC has some suggestions of what might be good examples of commodity services:  server management, and virtualization (server & desktop).
  • They would also like to hear more ideas of good candidates to be offered as commodity services, and would like to understand what the barriers are for adoption.

A few misc points

  • It would be useful to bring other IT groups into this effort, for instance, from UW Medicine IT.  Barb, Robbie and Kevin will peruse.
  • We should avoid being too broad, and should focus to get things accomplished, and avoid endless discussion.
  • We should look first at this landscape without regard to costing models - which has typically been a major barrier.  And second, look for ways to efficiently and effectively make them attractive.
  • There is great diversity in how user-facing services look across departments, because the needs and cultures are often so different.  So it's difficult to do any sort of apples-to-apples comparisons at the Service level.  BPSEs are a much more likely place to find commonalities.
  • Grouping units into "affinity groups" might be useful in terms of finding commonality for the User-Facing services, or even the "depth" of how BPSEs are provisioned.
  • The Services/BPSE exercise is valuable in at least three ways:  
    1. going through the process is useful for "internal discovery" about how a unit is operating;
    2. it creates a common vocabulary for talking about IT services across campus, and a common structure for how they are oranized and provisioned;
    3. it creates the opportunity for developing and sharing "best practices" across units, to promote efficient models of provisioning and delivering IT services (e.g., ITIL).

Next Steps

  • A work session with WTC consultants and Computing Directors to identify BPSEs that would be good candidates that could be offered as "commodity services". 
  • 90 minutes, in late June (21-24) to coincide with WTC's next visit to UW.  Betsy and Erik will coordinate the scheduling.
  • We will focus on the academic units that are participating in Round One.


Jerry Arnold, Scott Barker, Phillip Beidelman (WTC), Betsy Bradsby, Tim Hunt, Ann-Marie Lancaster (WTC), Erik Lundberg (ch), Ed Mulligan, Barb Prentiss, Mark Rector, Robbie Scherr, Ginny Schroeder (WTC), Mark Squire