ACANS News & Information Center
ICT’s Gaps and Glue, Inc.
With roughly 1.3 million bachelor’s degrees awarded annually, plus an equal amount of associate, graduate, and professional degrees combined, it ’s obvious that higher education is growing at a highly accelerated speed. And as the numbers of degrees keep growing, likewise the different software programs and technical business applications that the universities are choosing keep expanding. The days of any university being able to use one application for the entire campus are long gone.
ICT embarks on a new entrepreneurial enterprise.
Higher education uses what is known as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, such as SunGard Higher Education’s Banner system to try and provide a unification of the data storage and business applications. But even this ERP software cannot unite all systems. According to Mrinal Virnave, director of Enterprise Application Services at Information & Communication Technologies (ICT), adds that “ institutions retain enough uniqueness in their missions and in their business processes that ERP software is not one-size-fits-all.” As a result of this, many third company venders have developed additional “ add-on solutions to provide niche solutions,” Virnave adds.
Over the years, ICT has begun developing their own portfolio rich in intellectual property that can also be commercialized into software, services, and support. Gaps and Glue, Inc. is the new project which would provide the means for the commercialization of software developed by New Mexico State University employees. Gaps and Glue, Inc. is part of the University Research Park Act, which was started as a means to drive New Mexico State University into a more marketable realm, “[the University Research Park Act] lets us be entrepreneurial as a university,” according to Garrey Carruthers, Dean and VP for Economic Development. The results of this new ICT project, along with any other proposed “entrepreneurial” plan,would not only increase the prestige for NMSU, it would increase income for the NMSU community, thus increasing recruitment, technology, research, and more attention to potential donors.
As part of the Gaps and Glue, Inc. bundle, ICT will be providing “a combination of Banner add-on software and knowledge” for any business that chooses to purchase a customized package. Virnave believes that acompany should not rely on a complaint box to truly understand the efficacy and service of their particular business; rather they should automatically assume the opportunity to grow and begin customizing their software and hardware for their customers. Along with ICT building customized software, they will be providing specific training for Banner, Luminis, Workflow, or any other third party products. ICT realizes that over time businesses tend to lose some of their consultants, thus the staff members are left not knowing how to troubleshoot these particular products. In cases of that, ICT steps in to help re-train the staff on their business system and/or software in order to obtain a desired usability both internally and externally.
Though ICT has more research to do before their proposed business plan is totally inclusive, they have already completed some definite package plans. They are offering what is called “Usability Analysis and Restructuring” which will provide: web site usability testing and analysis, content inventory and analysis, and ethnography: study of usability of administrative systems and analysis. Another available package is “Workflow Design Services” which offers: design services for workflow frameworks, design for maintenance frameworks for already developed workflows, and training for complex workflow design using the SungardHE workflow tool. Though Virnave was unable to give me an exact date of when Gaps and Glue, Inc. will go begin targeting a larger client base, he did assure me that ICT expects to have a working web site for the public in no time at all.
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