The school also hopes to achieve savings with reorganization. As with many research universities, Purdue's IT operation is not fully centralized. The university has about 1,000 IT employees, with about half that number working in a central IT organization. The rest are dispersed among some 35 other IT operations that serve specific department and research needs.
The goal is to centralize some aspects of IT decision-making without imparing the university's strategic needs. "The Borg is not going to win here," said McCartney, referring to the Borg in Star Trek who force assimilation on those they conquered.
Today, for instance, an academic department might negotiate a software licensing agreement with the same vendor that the central IT department is negotiating with. But each IT organization could arrive at different terms. Similarly, hardware purchasing is all over the lot.
"How many types of toner cartridge do we need to be a world-class institution?" asked McCartney.
Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld . Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
Read more about virtualization in Computerworld's Virtualization Knowledge Center.