IT transformation required outside assistance

Spalding University’s small, six-acre city campus has great student appeal, but its small campus limits its ability to grow geographically. Online instruction offers an avenue for expansion and access to a wider population of students, as well as increased learning flexibility. The sophistication of a university’s campus technology increasingly influences a student’s choice of schools. It is also essential to administration, on- and off-campus communication and student life, and has to work 24/7 reliably and securely.

Dealing with 80-year old buildings and an inadequate IT infrastructure to support its opportunities for expansion, the university’s small IT team looked outside for assistance. To support the university’s evolving mission and expanding programs, the team knew that reducing routine IT operational demands and costs was an essential first step.

Flexential provides unwavering support

In 2006, the university’s IT director Ezra Krumhansl and Flexential began discussing an IT outsourcing plan.

The university contracted with Flexential for colocation services at one of its Louisville data centers, entrusting Flexential to take care of backup power, monitoring, disaster recovery and security.

As time passed, the university’s expanded and diversified curriculum, as well as the increased expectations for more online services, required more support. Flexential was there with tailored solutions to meet Spalding University’s changing needs.

Flexential essentially functions as an extension of the Spalding University IT team and an active participant in back-and-forth collaboration on IT strategy, including the university’s move to cloud computing and storage in 2012. ”With what we were spending on hardware and software, VMware® licensing and maintenance contracts, moving to the cloud became more realistic and cost- effective. It actually has saved us money,” said Krumhansl.

Today, Flexential cloud services power student registration and billing, the university’s accounting and enterprise software, file servers, the SharePoint- powered portal, domain name servers, the active university directory and more. Flexential also provides a managed firewall service, which includes intrusion detection, access control and filtering.

Outsourcing IT services reduces costs and increases confidence

Outsourcing many of its IT services to Flexential has enabled Spalding University to keep costs down, especially for staff expansion. At the same time, its students reap the benefits of Flexential managed solutions, even if they don’t realize it.

“In the eight years I have been at Spalding University, we have not increased our in-house staff despite the growth of our student body from 1,700 students to over 2,500 at present,” Krumhansl said. “This has meant more computers, more users, more servers and more data storage without an increase to in-house support. Flexential has been by our side to help us scale our IT environment to accommodate the increased activity.”

The university’s IT team feels comfortable calling Flexential experts to make requests, seek advice or just bounce ideas off of them. Flexential understands Spalding University’s business and offers advice as well as a rapid response to calls for assistance. In addition, Spalding University’s in-house IT team frequently takes advantage of Flexential webinars and lunch-n-learns to stay current on the latest technology trends and techniques.

“We all sleep much better at night and during weekends knowing that Flexential has our back,” said Krumhansl. He recalls Hurricane Ike in 2006 and the ice storms five months later that took down other colleges in the area. The lights stayed on, and the network stayed up at Spalding University, thanks to Flexential’s reliable back-up systems.

“If we ever had to bring this back in-house — the systems, the backup, security, infrastructure and staff — it would easily be a seven-figure proposition,” Krumhansl said. “Fortunately, we have it covered with Flexential.”