Unifying Technology: The Voodoo that Hulu

Let’s say you have a two-story house with a finished basement. Despite a family-wide overpowering love of television and movie entertainment, would it ever make household budget sense to have one cable contract for the first floor, one satellite contract for the same service(s) for the second floor and a third, competing contract with another satellite provider, same service(s) for your finished basement? Yes or no. Quick estimate:

Contract 1: $150/mo
Contract 2: $150/mo
Contract 3: $150/mo
Annual:      $5,400.00

Likely no. There’s a lot of duplication of efforts there. And contracts. And vendors. And training on differing, bulky systems.

A more realistic scenario in our ever-changing technology world: One cable/satellite contract for your home providing basic service. One account with Netflix. One account with Hulu. An Apple TV to stream it all. All costing less than a bundle per floor.

Contract:   $150/mo
Netflix:     $8/mo
Hulu:        $8/mo
AppleTV: $99 one time fee
Annual:    $2,091.00 first-year, $1,992.00 thereafter

Above we’re just talking television/movies in the home. One home. Now expand that to a university. With maybe ten colleges and schools under the university umbrella. Each holding hundreds of faculty and administrators that looooooove their current system. (Well they more than likely don’t truly love their system, but it’s a lesser of numerous evils situation.) Tack on up to twenty residence halls, all administrative support functions, dining, athletics, student activities. Now compile all the output/data into one report for assessment. It’s tough.

You can spend your life honing and re-honing a data warehouse to bind together systems of many into one – or you can focus for a year or two (maybe less!) on what simply makes sense. Less large systems, more tiny, feeder, fun systems.

Bottom Line
In any size higher ed environment, managing multiple large data systems simply doesn’t make sense and it wastes many cents. Is it fun to continuously vet needs and wants? For anyone with a personality like myself, yes. For most, no. It means communicating, identifying, mapping out, building, migrating, implementing, integrating, training, and more communicating. But once the base-level is done, the bells (Netflix) and whistles (Hulu) follow, which makes everyone smile and finally ‘get it’. What also creates smiles – savings and efficiencies, streamlined processes, more reliable output/data, and the immeasurable relationships that have now been built across campus and community.

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