Report recommends moving A&M System's information technology systems to cloud [The Eagle, Bryan, Texas]
(Eagle (Bryan, TX) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Oct. 20--A report commissioned by the Texas A&M University System recommends overhauling how some of its information technology systems are administered. The report recommends relocating major systems offsite to "the cloud" -- a move that system officials say could save money, boost computer security and allow the system to lay off personnel.
The second and final report by Omaha-based Deloitte LLC was released this week. It began last November and assessed the IT departments for the system's 11 universities and nine state agencies. The first half of the report was made public in July.
System Chancellor John Sharp previously said he called for the $903,000 report because a July 2011 system audit called for "significant improvements" to administration and oversight of logical security and other general IT controls.
The second half of the report is 29 pages long and, similar to the first half, calls for sweeping changes to information technology infrastructure. The report calls for consolidating and standardizing the way IT is administered across the system, and specifically calls for moving some IT systems offsite. There are 15 specific changes suggested in the report.
"The recommendations presented were chosen because they were identified as the ones which provide the most value to TAMUS," the report states. "The value these recommendations bring is measured in several ways, including risk reduction, cost savings, and/or research enablement."
The report recommends systems for financials, human resources and payroll be placed offsite on "the cloud." Student information systems across the system would be centralized if the suggestions are implemented.
"The most important takeaway is that the System is 5 to 7 years behind the private sector in standardizing, simplifying, and consolidating systems and processes," wrote Mark Stone, the system's chief information officer, who responded to interview requests with emailed statements. "The biggest impact will be the transformation effort required to implement these far-reaching recommendations resulting in a more efficient and effective technology environment that will benefit students, faculty and staff."
Stone said if system officials decide to host some of the systems offsite, they will likely still be housed in Texas.
"Standardization, simplification, and consolidation driven by the System will eventually result in lower costs, smaller staffs, greater security and greater innovation," wrote Stone.
Stone said he didn't know how much an overhaul to System IT would cost or how much money consolidation could save.
"Work has begun to establish ballpark costs for these recommendations," Stone wrote. "The ROI will be dependent upon the strategy chosen."
A system spokesman previously said a committee composed of representatives from the state agencies and universities will determine if or how to implement the Deloitte report. Stone previously said some of the suggestions from the report could be implemented immediately and some could take up to three or five years.
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