ERIC Number: ED198871
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Dec-10
How Elected Officials Can Control Computer Costs.
Grady, Daniel B.
Elected officials have a special obligation to monitor and make informed decisions about computer expenditures. In doing so, officials should insist that a needs assessment be carried out; review all cost and configuration data; draw up a master plan specifying user needs as well as hardware, software, and personnel requirements; and subject various methods of providing computer services to cost-benefit analyses. Five alternatives for meeting computing requirements are: (1) contracting with a computer services bureau which, while costly and less flexible for users, can free the agency from hardware and software maintenance; (2) joining with other users in operating a shared computer center, which can reduce hardware development costs; (3) maintaining a full in-house hardware and software operation, which often best suits large institutions; (4) purchasing software while maintaining an internal hardware operation; and (5) entering a full or partial facilities management agreement with a vendor which manages all, or a portion of, an institution's computer operations. This last alternative has been implemented successfully by the San Diego Community College District. Two final suggestions for the concerned official are to attempt to assess computing costs in terms of output, rather than in terms of dollar amounts; and to assure that cost savings are actually realized through the mechanization of jobs formerly performed by employees. (JP)
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the CAUSE Conference "Productivity--A Key to Survival in the 1980's" (Phoenix, AZ, December 8-10, 1980).