Thursday, January 18, 2007

Outsourcing applications -- a university example

The Economist published an article on corporate use of consumer and other services. One example they cite is Arizona State University, which is using Google Mail and plans to use other Google services.

I create list servers for the students in my classes. Last semester, 3 out of 60 students used their CSUDH email addresses. This suggests that we are spending a lot to offer a service that only a few students value.

But, should CSUDH outsource our email and other applications? We cannot run servers as efficiently as folks like Google or Amazon, but, even if a service provider is cheaper and more reliable, can we depend upon them? This is a business and contractual decision as much as a technical and cost decision. I listed a few pros and cons in this teaching note.