Feb 2nd, 2006 @ 12:58 pm | Author:
The second round of awards by the Centers of Excellence Commission includes recommendations for six new economic development projects, including $1 million in state funds for a proposed Institute for Customized Business Solutions (ICBS) at Valley City State University (VCSU).

VCSU’s proposal describes the ICBS as a public-private partnership that will co-develop new enterprise applications consulting jobs in North Dakota. The initial private partner is Eagle Creek Software, and relationships with other partners are being developed. The ICBS will use a unique approach to high-end information technology services called the Enterprise Application Model (EAM) to create information technology businesses to meet spiraling national demand for high quality and reasonable cost in enterprise IT services..

The EAM has great promise for economic development, according to Eric Van Horne, consultant to Governor John Hoeven: "The Enterprise Applications Model describes a collaborative development effort that has the potential to offer a very high, market defensible investment return." Retired state CIO Curt Wolfe agrees: "What [you] have accomplished for Eagle Creek Software typifies what can be achieved. Additional new jobs in North Dakota can result from your efforts if you can expand to other required technology skills."

Support from private sector partners, including Eagle Creek Software Services, Eide Bailly Technology Consulting, GEM Car, and MeritCare, was central to the VCSU proposal. VCSU and Eagle Creek are already producing consultants for an enterprise software program called Siebel CRM. The Center will expand capabilities to include other companies and enterprise applications that the private sector partners need. Programs currently under consideration are SAP, Analytics, and .NET.

Center of Excellence funds will be used for staffing, building an IT training infrastructure, providing support for qualified trainees, customizing the curriculum and administrative system to meet industry needs, and providing an external project evaluation.

The Commission is allocating a total of $20 million that was set aside by the 2005 state legislature. Other recommendations of the Commission in the second round of awards include $4.5 million to the University of North Dakota for a biotechnology research building and research on piloting and equipment for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), $3 million to North Dakota State University for research into biotech oilseeds and research on surface coatings, and $400,000 to Williston State College for training of oil field workers. These recommendations of the Commission now proceed to the Foundation board of the state Department of Commerce, the State Board of Higher Education, and the Emergency Commission and Budget Section of the legislature, and funds are expected to be available in March.

Valley City State University (VCSU) prepares people for life through visionary leadership and exemplary practices in teaching, learning and service. VCSU is nationally acclaimed for attracting and retaining talented individuals who advance quality learning opportunities and economic growth through technology and innovation.