Collaboration between Ball State, other state universities ensure affordable access to essential software

Topic: Administrative

May 24, 2017

There’s strength in numbers when it comes to higher education software agreements.

Five Hoosier public institutions capitalized on their combined size to secure a new deal to provide Microsoft products to tens of thousands of students, faculty and staff at a significant discount.

This spring, Indiana University, Purdue University, Ball State University, Ivy Tech Community College and the University of Southern Indiana submitted a joint request for proposal (RFP) for Microsoft software and services, more formally known as an Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES) agreement.

Following a competitive bidding process, the joint RFP has been awarded to a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) reseller as a three-year contract.

“As technology has continued to become more expensive, we established this group to use our combined purchasing power to obtain pricing concessions none of us could achieve acting independently,” said Loren Malm, Ball State’s acting vice president for Information Technology and chief information officer. "We see this as the first of many opportunities where this group can work together to save students and taxpayers costs or defer cost increases.

“These are real cost savings, which allow us to fund other critical technology needs directly serving our students and the teaching and learning missions of our respective institutions,” he said. “We activity participate in several consortia that expand the purchasing power of combined members, and this is another example of those ongoing efforts to find efficiencies and cost savings.”

Tally Thrasher, IU’s director of purchasing administration and lead negotiator on the deal, said the universities came to together to share resources and similar programs for better purchasing power and in turn received the biggest discount any of the institutions ever had with a Microsoft reseller.

She also noted that the contract was awarded to a minority-owned enterprise, which helps all of the universities to achieve state goals in that area.

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