The PeopleSoft and Microsoft applications provide the basis to the college’s processes for student administration, finance and human resources. Xwave has managed the college’s PeopleSoft applications since December, 2001 and Microsoft’s applications since last January. Under the new contract, Xwave will manage both systems under a single integrated outsource service. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Both contracts were put up for tender separately, with PeopleSoft edging out EDS and IBM, according to Wilson Verge, director of information technology at the college, while Microsoft won over GE Capital and Aliant among other bidders.
“”We consolidated two contracts into one with price adjustments to provide an integrated contract solution. The services are combined into a single service level agreement. In terms of cost savings and benefits, they’re very favourable,”” said Verge. “”Our secondary level suppliers, like Microsoft, also gave us good terms.””
The cost benefit is the result of having the system managed by Xwave, Verge explained. The alternative would be to manage the system internally, necessitating the hiring of new staff.
“”We’re also getting increased availability of information and can do things we couldn’t do before. For example, we’re getting a better profile of students before registration and we’re better able to manage the student population and get separate financial information which we couldn’t get before. In addition, the college is getting improved security and firewalls and management of VPN (virtual private network).””
All told, Xwave is providing 14 key services, including project/service management, PeopleSoft application management, Exchange application management, change management, network/server/operating system support, database administration, system monitoring, security management, disaster recovery and help-desk service.
NSCC consists of 14 community college campuses across Nova Scotia serving 8,500 full-time and 12,000 part-time students. It will retain ownership of all hardware and software, while Xwave will handle the system’s fifteen servers from its Halifax data centre.
Xwave also provides all services supporting the operations of the administration systems, including those related to financial records, human resources and student administration at Memorial University in Newfoundland.
“”But Memorial uses an SCT banner system which is a different manufacturer and different application,”” explained Xwave account executive Steven Marsden. “”They’re both hosting infrastructures, even though they’re using different software.””
Marsden noted that NSCC represents one of the few PeopleSoft Student Administration installations in North America which will benefit other educational institutions in the region.
“”Other colleges might want to implement their own system or they could join the existing (NSCC) infrastructure,”” he suggested. “”There have been several discussions along these lines, but it is not actively being pursued.””
He added that NSCC is one of the few users of the PeopleSoft application because it is relatively new and, budget-wise, the application is typically for larger institutions. It will minimize costs through the expansion of current operations.
“”The college is currently undergoing an upgrade of its PeopleSoft application from version 7 to version 8. PeopleSoft Financials version 8 is up and running now, while Student Administration and Human Resources Version 8 will be ready in November,”” said Marsden.
He said the upgrade program is separate from the outsourcing contract. While the outsourcing contract runs until May 2008, an upgrade will have to be done every 18 months to two years.
“”Basically there should be two more upgrades during the life of the outsourcing contract which will be negotiated separately.””
In addition to the educational sector, Xwave has customers in other industries including telecommunications, utilities, defence, aerospace and health care.