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History - Chapter 8 Benchmarking

First mooted in the early 1990s, IT Benchmarking required major efforts and considerable time to get off the ground at all. The initial efforts, driven principally by John Winship (Curtin University) centred on the concept of joining in the US-centric annual survey conducted by Kenneth C (Casey) Green, who has conducted a wide-ranging survey )The Campus Computing Project) for mainly US universities since 1990. This effort lapsed, despite enthusiasm by John Winship and Casey Green, as too many saw as unproductive the effort of completing a survey with many aspects too US-centric.

Local efforts commenced with a proposal by Hugh Gunn (Swinburne University) in 1994 to undertake a project involving three universities. However, this came to nothing. Later, a group of members in Western Australia attempted to establish a set of benchmarks; this too came to nothing. Finally, in 2002, the Executive established a Working Party on IT Benchmarking under Jeff Murray (Edith Cowan University) as Chair. This Working Party did some work, with Peter Nissen (then Executive Officer (Projects) of CAUDIT) coordinating activities, targeted principally at development of definitions of IT Services as a preliminary to conducting benchmarking across the sector.

Eventually this work led to the realisation that this was most likely an unproductive exercise, and the then Standing Committee on IT Benchmarking commenced a more ambitious exercise to develop gradually a set of measures which could be used to undertake some cross-sector comparisons. At the same time, it was decided to encourage members to participate in the EDUCAUSE Core Data Survey which was launched in late 2002, to collect data for the 2001/2 (US) academic year. Today the majority of CAUDIT members participate in the local benchmarking data collection and the Core Data Survey with results which are considered valuable by many members.