The academic technology procurement process is particularly difficult. Purchasing initiatives often rise from local faculty/staff desires, but typically require institutional commitment and integration with enterprise information systems. Allowing procurement to proceed in an uncoordinated fashion can result in unsustainable duplicated systems.
focusEDU is fiercely independent of any software or hardware vendors, ensuring our clients of a neutral, objective academic technology procurement process and independent and objective advice without product bias. Our staff of instructional technologists and instructional designers have facilitated rigorous vendor selection projects throughout the U.S. and Canada using a process consistent with best practices.
Our process recommends:
- Survey faculty, staff, and students on system needs.
- Articulate clear functional requirements accommodating to important subgroups of the overall institutional constituent groups.
- Articulate clear technical requirements in collaboration with enterprise and local IT and networking groups.
- Clarify the basis for decision making and the institutional process.
- Proactively provide clear and frequent communications about the implementation group’s activities, distributed to the institutional community via postings in the existing systems, the institutional portal, e-mail distribution, and face-to-face updates to leadership and governance groups.
- Research viable vendor candidates; inform the research by reviewing systems in place at both peer and aspirant institutions.
- Equitably manage and control all communications with the RFP respondents.
- Separate non-financial from financial responses.
- Orchestrate vendor demonstrations and presentations, both on-site (day and evening) and via Web conferencing, recorded for those who could not attend. Ensure apple-to-apple comparisons between candidate systems.
- Tailor evaluation surveys for each local interest group.
- Provide hands-on (sandbox) access to the finalist systems, tailored for faculty, staff, constituent groups, and for selected departments.
Our academic technology procurement process can assist with contract negotiations to address any additional costs required to:
- Integrate with the institution’s central directory service for authentication.
- Enable fall-through to local authentication if enterprise authentication fails (allowing local accounts to be created),
- Integrate enrollments and courses from the institutional student information system.
- Integrate all course-related data from the institutional student information system or other sources, including course syllabi, for all course sections.
- Feed grades to the student information system.
- Support access to a test server that can accommodate a clone of the production system for the purpose of acceptance testing for new versions of the software.
- Add disk storage to accommodate growth in the implementation of the system and multimedia content that is generated.
- Enable an exit strategy to guarantee access to intellectual property (course content) for at least a year in the event of a change in solution at the end of the contract period.
focusEDU’s expert staff is experienced in conducting an inclusive cross-functional academic technology procurement process that results in responsive and successful implementation and sustainable operations.