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The Daily Tar Heel

N.C. State and UNC unite in IT savings

Summer on campus is generally a quiet time — fewer students and faculty, and many staff away on vacation. But we have a few additional faces on campus.

Information Technology colleagues from N.C. State University are joining Information Technology Services in working on ConnectCarolina, the University’s new enterprise and administrative system.

The UNC and N.C. State partnership on the human resources/payroll and finance components of both universities’ enterprise resource planning systems announced late last year is now in full swing.

Both campuses use Oracle’s PeopleSoft software for their ERP systems. Larry Conrad and Marc Hoit, the vice chancellors for IT and chief information officers at UNC and N.C. State, came up with the idea for this partnership because of the success they’d experienced working together on a major multi-institutional initiative in Florida when they held similar positions at different campuses.

They talked about potential joint PeopleSoft work when the economic downturn hit. With the reality of budget cuts, the idea became even more vital.

As part of the partnership, IT staff from both campuses are working together to avoid duplicate efforts or investments.

By tapping the most effective and efficient mix of sharing hardware, software, resources, business operations and vendor contracts, the partnership aims to improve effectiveness and reduce costs for both universities.

As the knowledge and skills of employees on both campuses are leveraged, we will more efficiently use and significantly reduce the personnel expenses required to get the job done by 2013.

Both campuses will benefit from a business continuity perspective in case one university experiences a technology emergency. Since we’re sharing substantial development, common systems and distribution across both campuses, we expect to improve our disaster recovery ability at little additional cost.

We’re leveraging the ability of both campuses to increase their technology purchasing power by pursuing deeper discounts when purchasing related equipment or software. This is important in light of a new state law covering certain related purchases by UNC-system campuses.

The Carolina Counts program was launched in response to recommendations from the privately funded Bain & Co. study. Our administrative systems are a focal point in the success of a number of Carolina Counts initiatives.

Bain identified gathering more detailed campuswide procurement and commodity information as a way to support efforts to negotiate better prices.

Our partnership with N.C. State is helping to fast-track the implementation of PeopleSoft’s eProcurement module, which will allow us to capture detailed data which isn’t available today.

This unique partnership is making summer a very busy time for the IT organizations.

But our goal is clear: work together to find common solutions to common problems and a better way to do business.

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