The NB/PEI Educational Computer Network (ECN) reduced IT costs for members—and thus funders including the provinces—an annual average of $1.3M over the past five years—a 100% return on investment. In the last two years, the yearly savings have been even more–$1.5M. Through economies of scale, and with expertise contributed by all, ECN members pay less for many software applications, connections to commercial internet services, and equipment, than they could independently. Furthermore, ECN continues to be amazingly successful in attracting investment from the federal and provincial governments–over $600k has been contributed to the development and expansion of the NB research and education communications network over the last three years. Inestimable value from collaboration, cooperation, and highly professional relationships among the members has contributed greatly to ECN’s reputation across Canada as having one of the best governance, management, and operating models among similar organizations.
ECN has provided shared IT services to universities and colleges in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island for 47 years. Over this time, ECN membership expanded from just a few schools to include all publicly funded universities and colleges in the two provinces. ECN is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of the Presidents/CEOs of member institutions, and is managed by a Network Committee consisting of the IT directors of the members. The Information Technology Services (ITS) unit at the University of New Brunswick is the main operator and services provider for ECN shared IT services.