Core Data Service

Decisions Built with Data

Colleges and universities use Core Data Service benchmarks to inform IT strategic planning and management.

CDS help IT leaders like you at nearly 800 institutions make better decisions by providing peer data comparisons for key IT areas and services.

Participating in CDS enables you to:

  • Study your IT organization with metrics
  • Benchmark against past performance
  • Assess your institution’s digital capabilities
  • Look at trends over time
  • Have data available "just in case"

How Does CDS Work?

CDS starts with an annual survey. You share data about your IT staffing, financials, and services. Your data are fed into a reporting tool that you use to benchmark your IT organization and compare against other institutions.

What Can I Benchmark with CDS?

Below are benchmarks pulled from 2016 data for all US non-specialized institutions. How do you compare?


  • Total central IT spending per institutional FTE (students, faculty, and staff) = $993

  • Total central IT spending as percentage of institutional expenses = 4.5%

    • Percentage of institutions with a 5% or greater increase in central IT spending = 46%

    • Percentage of institutions with a 5% or greater decrease in central IT spending = 30%

  • Central IT spending on in-house infrastructure and services = 34% (Median)

  • Central IT spending on external providers = 4% (Median)

  • Percentage of central IT spending on running the institution = 80%


  • Central IT FTEs per 1,000 institutional FTEs = 8.4

  • Student workers as a percentage of total central IT FTE = 20%

See more in the 2016 Core Data Service Data Almanacs. 

Get Started

Manage roles, contribute data, and access reports in the CDS Portal.

Step-by-Step Overview

Go to CDS Portal

New Survey Guide

Check it out! Experienced CDS users explain how you can most efficiently complete the required "IT Organization, Staffing, and Financing" module.

2017 Timeline

  • February-July: 2016 data, reports released

  • July 18: Survey opens

  • November 10: Survey deadline (extended)

  • January 2018: 2017 data, reports released

Contact Us

303-449-4430 (Monday – Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. MT)