Academic Digital

Outsourcing grows as institutions find silver lining in cloud computing

Hannah Fearn on the bottom-line benefits of transferring IT functions to Google and Microsoft

Universities are increasingly farming out their computing services to the likes of Google and Microsoft as a way of reducing costs.

Rob Bristow, programme manager at the Joint Information Systems Committee, said that universities traditionally have been reluctant to outsource their complex and unique IT services to external companies.

“Outsourcing is a bit of a dirty word in some quarters,” he said. “There have been mixed experiences of it and given universities’ peculiar IT needs … it has not been something they have looked at.”

But the development of so-called cloud computing, together with the need to cut costs, seems to have changed some minds in the sector.

Cloud computing – which is based on remote servers delivering applications and services to any internet-enabled device – removes the need for expensive and power-hungry servers on campus.

But perhaps more importantly, many such services are being offered to universities free of charge.

Read full story in Times Higher Education.