University Business September 2016 - 17
SPONSORED CASE STUDY
Simplifying operations with a
universal technology infrastructure
California institution system partners with
AT&T for large-scale network management
are typically done in phases of
ver 16 years ago, the
smaller groups of four campusCalifornia State Unies at a time and are completed
versity system's 23
system-wide within four years.
campuses had independently
"One of the great things
managed networks. Each had
about partnering with AT&T is
autonomy over standards and
we learn and work together,"
used a hodgepodge of prodsays Crase.
ucts. But leaders in the Chancellor's Office knew a single
A long-term partnership
setup across the board had
The original contract with AT&T
potential to create a better exwas set for 10 years. When it
perience for 450,000 students
ended, CSU initiated a new comand over 45,000 staff members.
"One of the great things about
bidding process and
"The campuses had been
partnering with AT&T is we learn petitive
again selected AT&T. That was
wildly divergent in the quality
and work together."
six years ago.
and scale of technology infra"We have had a mutually benstructure," says Mark Crase,
eficial relationship because
chief technology officer. "But
to meet the demands of the 21st century, our institution CSU and AT&T were both committed to making sure we
presidents felt every campus had to have state of the art succeed," says Crase.
Not only are there financial economies of scale for purtelecommunications."
chasing the same equipment across all 23 campuses, but
there were also unexpected operational economies of
For such a large project, it was critical to bring in a stra- scale, according to Crase.
"When everyone is using the same equipment to the
tegic partner that could come in for the initial engineering and upgrade planning, and then continue to work same standards, people can help manage networks for
with the institution on a project basis, says Crase. Due campuses they do not even work at," he says.
The group of network managers that AT&T gathered
to its reach across California and known expertise, AT&T
emerged after a competitive bidding process as the has continued to operate as a professional cohort 16 years
clear fit to engage with CSU as a common networking in- later. "The managers use the same equipment and know if
they have a problem, they have 22 partners to reach out
"We needed the technology to meet our mission, and to," says Crase.
The strength of CSU's network has allowed for a shift to
AT&T had the experience to do the right planning and
a teaching and learning philosophy that is focused on moshow us the right options," says Crase.
As a first step, AT&T met with the network managers bility and access anytime, anywhere.
"Our campus networks are second to none," says Crase.
from all of the campuses to develop common infrastructure standards. From there, AT&T took on project plan- "Because of the robustness of our infrastructure, our facning and equipment procurement, installation, training ulty and students have consistently reliable technology
and maintenance for all institution upgrades. Projects services."
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