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Project Title:Partnering to Boost Cost Savings and Quality in Residential Network Services Institution Name:The College at Brockport, State University of New York Innovation Category:Operational Efficiency Project Director:Shannon Sauro, Director of Telecommunications and Business ProcessesContact Information:585-395-7002, ssauro@brockport.eduWebsite:http://www.brockport.edu/resnet
Project Description:

Facing the financial and labor intensive challenges of owning a student data network, Brockport researched numerous avenues to save the campus money and time.  An analysis concluded the best option for Brockport was to invest in a partnership with a provider who offered campus residential network (ResNet) services.

Through this partnership model, Brockport ensures they are always innovating and staying ahead of student connectivity needs with the partner’s built-in technology road map.  Brockport also achieves significant cost-savings, given that their partner assumes the up-front capital investment costs of all equipment needed to set up the network.

Objectives:

Fast and Reliable Connectivity and Customer Support 

  • Realizing that technology is an integral part of student success, The College at Brockport was in need of a partnership with a company who could support the continuously increasing needs of its students. 

 Wireless Connectivity 

  • Before entering into the partnership, The College at Brockport did not have a wireless network in any of its student residential housing units.  Understanding that the demand for wireless connectivity was increasing, the campus sought to develop a network to support its students’ needs.

 Cost-Savings 

  • Keeping up with the costs of equipment maintenance and the ability to have the appropriate number of staff members to maintain the equipment was an increasing challenge. More affordable solutions for controlling ResNet associated costs were desired..

Virus Issues Eradicated 

  • Student computers were spreading viral outbreaks across the campus.  Having the students and the administration on the same network caused vital equipment to become vulnerable to these virus outbreaks.  It was clear that Brockport needed to seek a different solution.
Outcomes:

The College at Brockport was able to join a partnership with Apogee, the nation’s largest provider of managed ResNet services to higher education institutions.  The following results have been achieved from the partnership:

  • Creation of a student network that is separate from the administrative network, guarding against future virus bleeds.
  • A full infrastructure upgrade for a full integrated video/data/Wi-Fi/IPTV solution that provides students with comprehensive high-speed wired and Wi-Fi coverage along with advanced IPTV services.
  • Introduction of an around-the-clock customer service phone support center.
  • Staffing of an on-site technician to maintain the network and assist students.
  • Cost saving achieved: Upon the signing of the five year partnership with Apogee, the college estimated annual savings of $500,000.
Challenges/Problems Encountered:
  • More demands were being put on the network as students began bringing more devices to campus including gaming consoles, iPads, etc.
  • Virus epidemic shut down the existing data network for three business days.
  • Rising costs to maintain and replace network equipment was becoming unmanageable.
  • Financial resources were unavailable to hire additional staff to maintain the network.
Evaluation Approach:Reviewing the responses from the potential vendors, Brockport was looking for one who could offer a full solution of residential data, television and implementation of a new wireless network.  References were taken into consideration, pricing of service, along with the company’s financial security.  The evaluation committee consisted of the following:  Project Manager, Networking Director, Director of Residential Life and a member from our Procurement team. 
Potential for Replication:For replication of such an endeavor, it is suggested that the institution pursuing have a solid plan of what the needs are and what they would like to achieve by entering into this type of partnership.  When requesting a wireless implementation, the institution must take into consideration the age of their existing buildings and how “user friendly” those buildings are for wireless applications.  Once this is done, the institution will have a clear understanding and appropriate level of expectation regarding wireless services.
Additional Resources:Network News – Office of Telecommunications, The College at Brockport, State University of New York. University Business Daily, April 2011.
CEO-to-CEO Contact:John Halstead , Presidenthalstead@brockport.edu
(585) 395-2361
Date Published: Tuesday, April 26, 2011