Chapter 19: Outsource Email Services

In the course of a generation, email has become the dominant mode of communication, both on campus and between academic personnel and the outside world. Analysis of email costs have suggested that full costs only run $25 per month per user, which for a university with 15,000 students and 2,500 employees is $750,000 for the employees alone, and as much as several million dollars a year for all users, including students. Specialists in information technology services, companies like Google and Microsoft, can usually significantly undercut the costs of in-house systems of email delivery, potentially saving large sums of money. The savings come in the form of lower storage and staffing costs, and reduced costs for servers, archiving and filtering messages.

The email issue is an application of a broader principle. Colleges and universities are in the business of creating and disseminating information, but not in the business of developing and managing the technology that allows for low cost communication of data and images over long distances. There are extremely successful companies who have learned how to do these things relatively cheaply and reliably. That is why universities should typically not only outsource email services, but also other electronically based services utilizing information technology, such as preparation of payrolls.

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