Clients reap what vendors sow (or not)

Notre Dame recently entered into a small insignificant contract (less than 50 hrs) with a programming and service provider to deliver a sql query which would return tracking events for all persons whether the events occurred in a cross-listed section or 'normal section' in Blackboard Vista.

We are planning on using those flat file results to populate a data mart we hope to be able to build in the near future. In the meantime, we'll still be able to slice and dice the data for whatever kinds of reports we may envision, rolling up results by course, by college, by particular tool being used … even by the organization or department the course belongs to.

(Some of you may think we're a bunch of sissies for not doing it ourselves. Our lead on the project is of the same mind, believe me. She's much better at building queries than she is with the communication with the service provider. However we are resource contrained ourselves; we need her skills elsewhere. And with cross-listing part of the equation, and the database filled with fields called 'lcid' that contain identifiers for differing levels of the learning hierarchy, this kind of a query is not the walk in the park you may initially think it is!).

I wouldn't have minded that the billable hours include the building of a Blackboard Vista instance (11 hours) for the service provider to manipulate, test and refine their query (or queries as will probably be the case), except that the service provider we hired is Blackboard Global Services.

I'm stunned that Global Services doesn't already have access to whatever product and versions of Blackboard software they need. Those very instances could be easily set up and maintained by Blackboard's Managed Hosting division. Or is that too obvious?

Sigh.

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One response to “Clients reap what vendors sow (or not)

  1. Managed Hosting doesn’t provide the TSMs environments to replicate technical support issues as well. That is another too obvious situation.
    Thing to remember is MH is separate from Global Services, Client Support, and Information Technology in Blackboard, Inc. So they waste resources building their own silos.

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