Service provides discounted prices on software to UW students, faculty

Posted November 4, 2015

The Wisconsin Integrated Software Catalog (WISC), offers a range of computer programs at a substantial discount, is available to all in the UW System, but its popularity ranges dramatically depending on the campus.

WISC is a service that everyone in the UW System and Wisconsin Technical College system has access to. The site offers a range of software packages at a substantial discount, compared to the usual sale price.

The selection ranges from Adobe Systems Inc. software to free antivirus software. For example, the database software FileMaker Pro is sold on WISC for $195, which is around $134 cheaper than the retail price.

Even with the sharp discounts on software, the popularity of WISC varies depending on the campus, according to Warren Robords, WISC product manager at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“WISC is very popular on some campuses and less popular on others,” Robords said in an email interview.

Robords explained that one reason for the range of popularity of WISC is that some campuses have book stores that offer software to students. Usually these book stores don’t advertise WISC much to students.

“We send promotional materials to all the campuses, but we have to rely on each campus to get those in front of the students,” Robords said. “Our ability and desire to market directly to students is limited, we don’t want to be regarded as a spammer.”

Any income from WISC goes back into paying for the costs and any income that exceeds the cost goes to fund information technology development.

UW-Madison is responsible for 31 percent of student sales for WISC. The size of the school and the increased marketing at Madison are among the reasons why WISC is more popular at Madison than other campuses, according to Robords. UW-Stout has the second highest total with 21 percent of WISC student sales, while UW-Milwaukee is next with 8 percent.

UWRF is responsible for about 3 percent of student sales for WISC. The top selling software at UWRF is Adobe Creative Cloud and IBM SPSS, but Robords has also noticed that WISC has distributed a fair amount of Windows 10 Education to River Falls students as well.

With UWRF being a smaller campus compared to other UW system schools, it makes sense that little of WISC’s overall sales comes from UWRF, but awareness might also be another issue.

UWRF Freshman Katie Geesey had not heard of WISC and felt that she had everything she needed on campus already. Sophomore Alexis Stibor also said she was not aware of WISC, but was interested in learning more about it.