Wednesday, July 8, 2009
When I woke up this morning, everything was calm. Looking at my calendar, it appears to be a relatively easy day. That was until I received a reminder about a meeting with CampusEAI. Immediately, a sinking feeling fell over me. There is work to be done and so little time to do it.
Let me explain. A few months back, my CIO submitted a $1.2 million grant to the CampusEAI Consortium for support of a campus portal. To the best of my knowledge, he became aware of the consortium during a conference. When he came back from the conference, he asked that I look into submitting a grant application. The offer sounded good, at first. The more I read into the offer, the more I realized the solution would essentially negate our existing homegrown system, MyEOL.
MyEOL, built by NCCU Web Services with Adobe Coldfusion, is the existing campus portal. For the past two years, the team worked to develop MyEOL into a solution that would serve our current and future needs. The most notable selling points are targeted announcements, single sign-on, and role-based access to web resources. As the manager of Web Services, I am very proud of what the team has produced, but concerned that CampusEAI's MyCampus will change things.
A few weeks ago, I learned that North Carolina Central University (NCCU) secured a partial grant and, should we accept, will receive hardware and services in the amount of $1.2 million. That sounds impressive, huh? That's part of the problem.
Either today or tomorrow, I have to provide a case in support or against the CampusEAI grant. The CIO added that if we are against it, we had better have a good reason. That is where the fun begins.
On one hand, I have a personal interest in supporting MyEOL. The portal is ours and we built it from the ground up. However, I have a responsibility to the campus and state to base my perspective on what is best for the campus. At this point in the investigation, MyEOL already does most of what CampusEAI claims it can do. For those few things MyEOL does not do, we can add with time.
One of my developers asked if the difference between CampusEAI and MyEOL is worth the amount NCCU is responsible for paying each year? My response is that it is not. However, the $1.2 million grant would look good on anyone's resume, but is it worth that amount?
As you can see, I have a serious task set before me. How do I weigh the value added benefits of this grant against the benefits of our existing homegrown system? With a $1.2 million offer on the table, my response will have to be quite compelling.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue.
Until next time...