21. Costing IT Services

As part of JISC’s Flexible Services Delivery programme, OUCS attracted modest funding to investigate the costing of IT services. Although our present model stands us in good stead for the purposes of reporting back to the Divisions, and implementing the 1-2-3 funding model, we wished to investigate whether the system could be improved by utilising the TRAC methodology. Throughout the year staff from OUCS worked closely with Melanie Burdett (JM Consulting Ltd) to develop a costing toolkit. The project took a step-by-step approach to costing IT services in the light of TRAC’s approach to considering the full economic cost. Once the toolkit had been developed it was then test-run on three services - the Help desk, WebLearn, and the HFS, plus an instantiation of Microsoft Exchange in a college. We then fed back our findings into the toolkit for further refinement. At the point of writing the final report is near completion to be sent to JISC.

This short project has proved to be very beneficial. Not only has it allowed us to explore a much more detailed costing model (which we will consider, if resourced, applying to all our services) but it also revealed some interesting findings. The most important of these is the recognition that IT systems are highly dependent on each other, and thus serious attention needs to be given to how the true costs of a service should be allocated. For example, if one service makes higher than usual use of another service where should the costs reside? The toolkit proposes a process to help answer this and similar questions. The toolkit also guides an IT provider through the recognition of other costs involved in services both at a local and central level, and the drivers that might be considered.

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