University Business - November 2012 - (Page 55)

CAmpus FINANCE By Sonya Stinson IT Project Finding dollars for technology projects that fall outside the general budget hile enterprisewide IT projects are generally funded through a central operating budget and approval process, smaller projects may depend on the resourcefulness of the department head or even a professor to get done. Texas Tech University has an example of the type of multilayered funding model that many institutions employ. Beginning in the fall of 2003, the university launched an initiative that resulted in a new, more centralized process for requesting, evaluating, and approving IT projects. Called PRISM, for Projects and Resources for Information Systems Management, the initiative stemmed from a need to address a backlog of project requests and a desire to involve functional managers more closely in the decision making, says CIO Kay Rhodes. Enterprise IT systems shared between sister institutions Texas Tech University and Texas Tech Health Sciences Center are financed through the general budget, under Rhodes’ oversight. For non-enterprise projects, each college or department has its own IT staff in charge of finding funds to cover its needs. “We work very closely with them, because we share a lot of the same data,” Rhodes says. “But each of those institutions has a different process for providing IT work.” 12 Options for Financing For the projects they have to pay for on their own, divisional leaders at Texas Tech and other institutions can tap a variety of sources. Sometimes the solution is to work within existing budgets or generate additional funds internally; at other times, they look for external assistance. Here are a dozen options for finding and applying money to IT projects. W 1. Budget Dust When there ends up being some cushion in a departmental budget—perhaps from unanticipated cost savings or a conservative estimate—a small, unplanned IT acquisition might be easy enough to absorb. “Budget dust” is the term sometimes applied to those extra dollars, explains Rodney Tosten, vice president of IT and a professor of computer science at Gettysburg College (Pa.). “If you estimate and plan your projects well, and you execute them well, there might be some dollars that fall to the bottom,” he says. Consultant Jerry Bishop, founder of The Higher Ed CIO blog, says most cost center managers also have some latitude to apply leftover funds from operating budgets to department-level projects, especially when facing a “use it or lose it” proposition. September 2012 | 55

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of University Business - November 2012

University Business - November 2012
Editor’s Note
College Index
Ad Index
Behind the News
Financial Aid
Internet Technology
Security: Show and Tell?
P byo Dasvidt Gieenr g a Threat
Inside Look: Residence Halls
Education Innovators
12 Options for IT Project Funding
What’s New
End Note

University Business - November 2012