School IT teams often build their own systems to manage and distribute software licenses and other digital resources on campus. This is understandable. Developing a solution in house can seem cheaper than adopting a third-party option, and schools often feel it’s the only way to address their unique needs.
However, there are pitfalls to this approach. The long-term costs and work involved in maintaining a home-grown system are often underestimated. And it’s not enough to simply create a means of distributing software. An ideal system for managing digital licenses and entitlements on campus needs to be capable of much more.
So, is an in-house solution best for your school? Here are some questions to ask during your strategic planning.
Is It Secure?
As stated, it’s not enough to just create a means of distributing software. Your solution has to be secure and set up to protect the PII of your students and faculty. In the age of the GDPR and other privacy legislation – and with vendors and institutions under constant threat of cyberattacks – secure systems that protect stakeholders’ information are more important than ever.
Information security has placed first on EDUCAUSE’s top-10 list of academic IT concerns every year since 2016. This is a reflection of the critical – and growing – importance of ensuring the security of personal information.
Is It Compliant?
PII isn’t the only thing your solution needs to protect. It has to protect your institution from the risks of non-compliance with software terms and conditions, as well as applicable laws.
Does your solution adhere to all accessibility regulations (e.g. the ADA)? Can it enforce compliance with the eligibility restrictions, usage guidelines, and other conditions attached to products offered through it? These are questions worth asking when considering a home-grown solution for managing licenses and entitlements. Because the costs of non-compliance can far outweigh any initial savings achieved by building your solution in house.
Is It Simple?
A good platform for managing licenses and entitlements should be simple – both to use and to manage. If a solution isn’t user-friendly and fails to provide an intuitive, one-stop experience, students and faculty may not take advantage of the resources available to them. This, in turn, may result in shelfware – excess software licenses that go unused – which has been shown to cost schools millions of dollars a year in many cases.
The platform should be easy to manage as well as to use. If it isn’t, your school will likely need to hire extra staff to maintain it. This can create a significant and ongoing burden on IT budgets and consumes resources that could be repurposed for more important tasks.
Is It Centralized?
Will your solution serve your whole campus or only a single department or course? The fewer software systems your school maintains, the easier it will be for end users to find resources. Fewer systems also means less maintenance work for IT staff and lower overall costs.
For this reason, a best practice is to consolidate all digital resources and distribute them through a single, centralized platform. This streamlines management, provides better visibility into resource adoption rates, and makes it easier for students and faculty to figure out where they need to go to get all the resources they need (which, in turn, can further reduce shelfware). Is your in-house solution robust, versatile, and centralized enough to accomplish all this?
What Are My Other Options?
If your team has created a secure, compliant, simple, and centralized solution – great! But if you’re concerned that your in-house solution may not meet these criteria, or that maintaining it may require too much IT work, it might be time to consider third-party options.
The good news is that Kivuto has over 20 years of experience helping schools solve these problems. The Kivuto Cloud platform is designed specifically for managing digital licenses and entitlements at educational institutions. With advanced security and compliance-enforcement features, an intuitive user interface, a central administration portal, insightful reporting, and more, Kivuto Cloud takes the work and risk out of distributing digital resources on campus.