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Skin The Game - Strategic Partnerships In Higher Education - Balancing Market Contest-Ability And Strong Vendor Relationships

Mr Martin Fuljahn

University of Newcastle

Critical to a University’s delivery of digital transformation in teaching, learning, research and infrastructure is it’s ability to source IT goods and services in an timely and cost-effective manner. IT sourcing in the higher education sector is plagued by a range of issues, such as lack of category management expertise, one-size- ts-all tools and processes, intensive focus on compliance to the detriment of business value delivery, lack of communication and transparency with vendors, and one speed of operation resulting in procurement being ineffective in achieving its value-for-money proposition and exposing the University to unnecessary risk. To address those issues, the IT Services and Strategic Procurement units of the University of Newcastle (UON) have partnered to develop and implement a new framework for conducting IT sourcing, known as Strategic and Partnerships and Alliances (SP&A). The new framework enables greater business agility, flexibility and contest-ability in the sourcing of IT services, supporting both managed services and panel partnership arrangements. The SP&A model leverages capability-based planning to identify bundles of services to support the University’s short, medium and long-term IT objectives. It introduces a Master Partnership Agreement framework that allows IT partners to respond quickly to work orders, which are subsequently assessed against a multi-dimensional scorecard to determine which proposal offers the best value. The relationships with the strategic suppliers (or partners) are based on mutual trust and an open discourse. The SP&A model was trialled in early 2018 in the establishment of the managed services for Central Computing with a leading IT vendor, and a partner panel is in the process of being established for the provision of Data Services. Later in 2018 and over the coming years many new panels will be formed to deliver services in capability areas such as digital experience, constituent relationship management, networks management, end-user computing and interactive technologies.

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