Evolving the IT Organisation to Meet the Demands of the “New Normal” in Higher Ed: Louise Finn, Tracy McMahon, Tom Podles, Patrick Donohue/Loyola University Maryland
The ‘new normal’:
- Shrinking budgets/staff: more/better with less, leveraging technology
- Cloud: is it the end of infrastructure? Is IT Organisation needed?
- Consumerisation: smartphones etc, works without IT
- High expectations/instant gratification: integration expected, don’t want training, want stuff to just work (hardly unreasonable)
Profile of University: 5000ish students. Looks like 70+ in IT, 5 Directors & a CIO, reporting to CFO. Was traditional kind of arrangement.
Looked at core values of division of Business & Finance – why would a division have it’s own core values, why would they be any different to the core values of the whole organisation? Lot of work on customer service/communications – speaking the language of the customer.
New organisation structured around how stuff flows in & out of IT. Each VP has a ‘tech coach’ available 24/7 to help them use technology – interesting idea. Structure: Infrastructure; Support; PMO; Enterprise Apps; Office of the CIO.
PMO new – took 2 years to get up & running. Methodology for project submission & prioritisation.
Infrastructure & Enterprise Apps – behind the scenes, endangered species? Pete’s story (coincidence, obviously). Became systems engineer working on integration projects, particularly card system – covers most aspects of IT, works across all units. Difficult for supervisors – who supervises Pete? Interesting problem.
IT: one-stop-shop – just ASK – ask anything, may not be technology, may think it’s technology when it isn’t (!); NEVER the wrong place to turn. Goal: trust & inclusion. Dept structured around this. Comes back to revived mantra: common ownership of problems & solutions. Consultancy/coaching role. Solve the customer’s problem, not your own! Also sounding board – counselling! All good stuff, all not-so-strangely familiar…
Be where your customers are. Maintain an attitude of gratitude – ask to help; capitalise on opportunities. Loyola Technology Answers – crowd-sourced online help (?) Don’t forget about the good stuff: support metrics should not just be based on problems.
Faculty technology adoption. Goal: to help Faculty to interact effectively with technology. Moved from Dept of Instructional Services. Reorganisation brought new resources – one being a Moodle administrator, transitioned from Bb to Moodle. CIO partnership with Deans; staff partnership with faculty – listening/understanding. Top down/bottom up.
Essentially trying to create a culture of collaboration with the customer. Reorganisation helped people understand that things had changed: new roles, new job descriptions, new career paths. Culture of information sharing.
Overall, very good session, interesting stuff particularly around support/customer service.
Which IT Strategy & Why? Betting on Clouds, Collaboration, and Contracts (or Contrarians?): David Gift, Klara Jelinkova, Kevin Morooney, Brad Wheeler
Seeing a lot of shifts. So which to bet on? All say all – balance/context – depends where you’re starting from; workforce skills important factor. Indiana – bet on collaboration. Core & context. Didn’t put in Oracle Peoplesoft – saved $16m by going with Kuali Financials. Team working across departmental boundaries – difficult – running with hair on fire. Job of suppliers: to transfer money from institutions to their shareholders.
IT From Both Sides of the Executive Table: Michael McRobbie, President, Indiana University
Final session of the conference – so first, thank you time again! Stand up & be recognised! Actually, doesn’t seem to be as much of it as usual.
Note: have a look at Indiana’s IT strategy, meant to be exemplary.
- The mission of HEIs. Creation, dissemination & preservation of knowledge. Yep, sounds about right. Universities – one of the oldest forms of human institution. Why is this relevant? Universities have always preserved data, best bet for digital preservation in the future – have demonstrated longevity.
- Funding. Pressures are the new normal – pressure to be more productive. Move from agrarian model ref Obama to whole year round. IT affecting most areas: but so far not really HE & Healthcare – but will. Interesting that electronic health care record has made no impact in USA as well. Again, tens of millions of $ saved through adoption of Open Source. Sakai, Kuali etc.
- Centralisation. Centralised IT = right way to go. Happening in business – why is HE different? Plus immense savings to be made.
- Risks. Cyber security. One office responsible for all security, risk management etc.
- Role of the CIO. Diminishing? Role more important than ever.
- People. Partnership not servitude.