RMG Consulting Services to Higher Education

RMG Consultants, Inc., is a boutique IT consulting firm that since 1980 has assisted hundreds of leading libraries and higher education institutions worldwide to plan and buy IT-based systems and services. We are a well-seasoned team of senior consultants who have worked together on a broad range of IT projects with colleges and universities throughout the U.S., Australia, Canada, South Africa, and New Zealand. RMG specializes in team-based IT procurements (designed as enterprise learning processes) and IT Strategic Planning.

RMG adapts the special methodologies and templates we have developed for all of our services to fit the needs of each client – we don’t have “to re-invent the wheel” to design, plan, and conduct IT projects. RMG has assisted our Higher Education clients with the following:

• To plan and buy a range of IT systems and services
• To develop Information Technology Strategic Plans, Technology Plans, and Project Implementation Plans
• To plan and direct a variety of IT projects
• To design project organizations and processes to achieve targeted outcomes
• To organize and orient institutional project participants and project teams
• To facilitate projects and develop individuals and teams to achieve project goals and consensus-based outcomes
• To develop and constantly refine methodologies for RFP- and RFI-based procurements and evaluations
• To adapt RMG’s contract templates, terms, and conditions for IT systems and services.

RMG maintains ethical standards and applies and develops best practices.

Rob McGee founded RMG Consultants, Inc. in 1980 to assist libraries to plan, procure, and implement computer-based systems and services. RMG has assisted hundreds of libraries to procure Integrated Library Systems (ILSs) and Next-Generation Integrated Library Systems (NGSs). We have assisted clients to evaluate virtually every major library automation product and service sold in the global library market.

From the outset RMG’s approach has been to develop and refine methodologies to deliver best value services to our clients. Our staff of senior consultants has the experience, expertise, human relations skills, and tools required for the complex and demanding tasks of IT planning and procurement projects.

In recent years RMG’s work with Higher Education institutions has evolved to encompass enterprise technology planning and procurement projects – not just those for the library. RMG’s evolutionary work in the H.E. sector reflects our observation of the synergies and similarities between the Library and Education Industries.

Synergies and Similarities between the Library and Education Industries

RMG believes the synergies and similarities between the library and education industries make this an ideal time to emphasize RMG’s services to Higher Education.

Aside from the underlying convergence factors of the Digital Age, the similarities between Next-Generation Integrated Library Systems and Next-Generation Enterprise Resource Planning Systems, and the roll-up of companies in each industry, make RMG’s experiences in the library industry especially valuable to Higher Education.

Some in the library automation industry do not believe that H.E. ERP vendors and systems have matched the efficiencies achieved in the library system industry.

One of our colleagues noted “That the H.E. sector’s ERP systems and practices are maybe 10 or 15 years behind where the library automation industry is, with respect to the integration and configurability of the systems themselves, and the industry-accepted streamlined planning and procurements for systems, and straightforward implementations.”

Holistic Enterprise IT Strategic Planning vs. Silo Planning

The impact of
• New and commonly-used technologies, and
• Highly specialized IT solutions
invites the organization to take a holistic, enterprise approach to IT strategic planning.

Library and education environments rely increasingly on an array of new technologies to deliver services and support daily operations. Technologically sophisticated populations worldwide are forcing their libraries and colleges and universities to adapt technology tools and trends common among societies. There is extensive overlap among technologies used the library and education industries.

Technology-driven factors from other industries – e.g., iPods and other entertainment industry innovations -- are forcing H.E. and libraries to re-think the nature, scope, and delivery of information services. Waves of new technology bring opportunities and issues that invite a holistic approach to enterprise planning – in contrast to silo planning for individual organizational units or sets of resources.

Highly specialized IT solutions are often monolithic systems that the organization should view collectively in planning and implementation, in order to achieve interoperability and information-sharing among them to deliver enterprise-wide benefits, increased return on investment, and perhaps competitive advantages.

In the last year RMG has assisted various clients to assess the technology topics listed below. The list is a compilation of terms and descriptions in common use that have had different meanings to different individuals and institutions. We offer it to illustrate how challenging it may be to understand, evaluate, prioritize, plan, and fund technology over 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year periods.

• Google and other Web search engines and products
• Web portals: Institutional and library portals and portlets to library electronic resources and selected internal and external Web Sites
• Options for providing personalized information services through staff and student portals and RSS
• Options for single sign-on for networked services, associated directory services, and access to e-Learning services in the context of the Institutional information environment
• Interoperability of key Information and Learning Systems,
• Open-source programming and software development
• Web services
• Supplemental Web Resources (video streaming, podcasts, interactive technologies, etc.)
• Instructional technologies and infrastructure
• Telecourse development and delivery
• Enterprise Calendaring, Scheduling, and Reservation systems
• Enterprise PC Scheduling and Print Management
• Enterprise-wide media booking and management systems
• Enterprise-wide database management systems
• Enterprise-wide human resources systems
• Enterprise-wide financial systems
• Building access and security systems
• Smart cards
• E-commerce and other electronic transactions
• RFID and wireless technologies
• Book-handling and inventory systems
• Data warehousing and mining
• Business Intelligence
• Institutional repositories
• Digital asset management
• Digital content management
• Digital rights management
• Document imaging systems
• Electronic resources management
• E-learning systems
• Learning management systems
• Personal computing and communications devices.

RMG’s IT Strategic Planning Services are designed to take a holistic, enterprise approach to evaluating, prioritizing, scheduling, and budgeting for technology.