Does UCLA have a campus-wide license for an online survey product (answer below)
By Sirinya Tritipeskul, UCLA Fund
Earlier this month, I started a thread on the Campus Web Publishers listserv to inquire about whether there was a campus-wide license for an online survey product such as Survey Monkey or Qualtrics. Several listserv members chimed in to express their interest in a campus-wide license.
Tom Trappler at UCLA Software Central wrote the following:
Software Central publishes guidelines for pursuing new agreements at http://www.softwarecentral.ucla.edu/about/New_Agreement_Guidelines.htm. These guidelines help provide a framework to identify circumstances when it does or doesn’t make sense to pursue a UCLA-wide agreement.
Some highlights include: UCLA-wide agreements typically bring together the collective demand of multiple UCLA units for the same product. There is rarely any central funding provided for such agreements, so the costs of these agreements are typically shared by the departments participating in those agreements.
To have the best chance at succeeding in establishing a new agreement, the volume of demand needs to be sufficiently broad (among multiple departments) and deep (total volume sufficient to provide negotiation leverage). This typically entails multiple interested units agreeing upon a single, common solution where more than one possible solution may exist.
UCLA-wide agreements typically provide for a sufficient degree of autonomy of use by the participating departments so that one department’s use does not impinge upon another’s. Were it to make sense to proceed with a UCLA-wide agreement for a survey solution, a solution that would allow for such autonomy should be identified.
The benefits (improved terms/pricing) of the potential agreement should exceed the costs of negotiating, implementing and managing the agreement.
Software Central analyzes UCLA’s annual spend on software in an effort to identify opportunities for new agreements. In the most recent full fiscal year for which this data is available (FY 10/11), UCLA units collectively spent the following amounts on the proprietary survey solutions discussed so far:
Qualtrics = $36,300 (This spend was by 3 departments, with over 80% spent by one department.)
Survey Monkey = $1,798 (This spend was by 8 departments (some who are part of this discussion), typically paying $200/year for the service.)
The breadth and depth of demand represented by the 10/11 spend data, combined with the lack of consensus on a single solution, suggests that the cost of establishing and managing such an agreement would likely exceed the resulting benefits. If units come forth with plans to make significant new purchases, that could change.
Because of UCLA lacks a campus-wide license, I jumped through several hoops to upgrade our account. For the purpose of sharing knowledge, here are the steps I had to take:
- SurveyMonkey requires the use of a credit card or a purchase order in order to pay for the upgrade. Given the lead time required to process and execute purchase orders, I had to find someone with a PCard.
- No one in my department has a PCard (and UCLA has halted sessions to train employees on the policies and procedures for the use of PCards “indefinitely”), so I contacted Felix Sarao in Purchasing.
- Felix Sarao assigned a buyer to work with me to use her PCard to pay for the SurveyMonkey upgrade.
- Hiccup: SurveyMonkey charges fees on an annual basis and requires credit cards to assess recurring charges. Basically, they will charge the renewal fee for their license on an annual, recurring basis. UCLA Purchasing did not have operating procedures in place to deal with this kind of scenario. The buyer asked to speak with on the phone with someone at SurveyMonkey.
- However, SurveyMonkey does not provide phone support except for enterprise customers (like literally, there are no phone numbers on their website), which was kind of a problem for our people. So in order to make stuff happen fast, I reached out to SurveyMonkey via email, Twitter (used my personal account) and Facebook (I posted as myself directly to their page). They were very responsive, and I was impressed that they had protocol in place to capture the fact that I had reached out to them via three online avenues.
- Because Purchasing was unaccustomed to using their PCards to pay for recurring charges, the buyer had to hammer out an exception on my behalf with her supervisor. The agreement: I need to give them 45 days notice if I want to cancel my upgraded account.
Side notes: Other members of the CWP have posted that there are open-source survey solutions available. Nick Todd in External Affairs noted that we have access to custom-built survey data collection pages. In my case, that didn’t meet my needs, but I just wanted to make sure others in our community were aware of what’s out there.