President's Strategic IT Advisory Committee (SITAC)
Updated on August 18, 2009.
In his charge to the Committee, President Powers requested that SITAC address issues of governance, funding, and provisioning of information technology at the University. To accomplish this, and to discover additional IT-related issues and concerns across campus, more than 250 members of the campus community were asked for feedback in one-on-one interviews and focus groups.
Based on this feedback, the Committee identified the following initiatives and addressed them in the report presented to the President in August 2009:
- Define IT Governance
- Build the New ITS Funding Model
- Establish Flexible Provisioning of IT Services
- Address Negative Perceptions of ITS
- Sustain and Grow the Network Infrastructure
- Sustain and Grow IT Security Capabilities
- Foster Sharing of Campus-wide IT Innovation
- Create Clear Vision and Direction for Instructional Technologies
- Enhance Administrative Systems
Recommendation Summary—Create an IT governance structure for the University that provides strategic leadership, establishes campus-wide IT priorities, and is accountable and transparent. The new IT governance structure will provide strategic, operational, and technical decision-making required to ensure IT enables the University to excel in its mission.
Description of Problem—The proliferation of various IT-focused committees, councils, and task forces at the University has not helped in establishing priorities and accountability for IT on campus. A lack of clarity, empowerment, and communication with and among these existing groups exacerbates the already difficult process of managing the IT investment portfolio and making strategic IT decisions that are in the best interest of the University.
Recommendation Summary—Establish a sustainable funding model for Information Technology Services (ITS) that creates trust and confidence in rates charged for centrally provided IT services, prepares for large multi-year capital investments, and appropriately supports the maintenance and growth of IT resources on campus. The funding model will be implemented under the auspices of the new IT governance structure.
Description of Problem—Campus-wide feedback on IT funding focused on the ITS structural deficit, perceived and documented ITS inefficiencies with resultant higher costs, and the need for anticipating large multi-year capital requirements. The sun-setting and sustainability of services and a lack of trust and transparency in ITS rate setting were also identified as problematic.
Recommendation Summary—Define and determine which IT services across campus are Common Good services and funded centrally and which services are best offered at the local level or a hybrid of both.
Description of Problem—The lack of clarity on campus about the IT services that are and should be provided centrally prevent the University from realizing economies of scale on commodity services. A distrust of the cost of services provided by ITS―as well as inconsistent quality of ITS customer service―present barriers to adoption and require IT support staff in the units to focus away from unique, value-added service to their faculty, students, and staff.
Recommendation Summary—Restore trust in the central IT organization on campus through improved dialogue and professionalism, higher quality customer service, and a demonstrated commitment to partnership and collaboration. Under the direction of the new IT governance structure and supported by a viable funding model, implement strategic IT initiatives that focus on more efficient and effective delivery of IT services to the University.
Description of Problem—Campus-wide mistrust of ITS stems from poor customer engagement and dialogue, a lack of follow through, inflexibility, and instances of unprofessional behavior on the part of some staff. ITS is also perceived as not partnering with campus or seeking customer input on important IT decisions for campus.
Recommendation Summary—Maintain and enhance the campus-wide network so faculty, students, and staff have reliable and secure access and necessary bandwidth to achieve their mission. Use the new IT governance structure to set networking standards and policies for the University and dedicate investments to support the central network operations.
Description of Problem—The absence of required standards for network operations―and clearly defined responsibilities for departmental and unit Technical Support Contacts (TSCs)―places the reliability and security of the campus network at risk. Without adequate and ongoing funding, upgrades to the existing infrastructure and expansion of wireless capacity are not guaranteed nor assured. Oversight and strategic planning are required if the campus-wide network is to adequately serve the current and future needs of the University.
Recommendation Summary—Expand Information Security Office (ISO) support for both local and central IT security compliance and improvement. Provide steady, recurring funding as approved through the new IT governance structure and establish clear responsibility and accountability for the appropriate use of University information technology resources and data.
Description of Problem—Campus expressed the need for more ISO staff to better support local and central IT security, including the development of more scalable security tools for all of campus. Also, the current lack of clearly defined information security responsibilities and accountability between local and central IT hinder the University’s ability to meet mandates in support of research and teaching needs.
Recommendation Summary—Maximize existing campus services to enhance IT innovation across campus and focus on creative sharing and problem solving. Establish a structure and process within the new IT governance structure to support and publicize new technologies and solutions to campus after they are vetted and implemented.
Description of Problem—IT innovation occurs in many places across campus and carries the potential to improve how we work at the University and beyond. However, the absence of a framework and process for collaboration costs the University in terms of effort, resources, and funding. Without coordinated campus-wide sharing of IT innovation, the full benefits of evaluating and recommending deployment of new technologies remain unrealized.
Recommendation Summary—Provide leadership―locally and globally―in instructional technology by clearly articulating a vision for the role it will play in the future of the University. With guidance from the new IT governance structure, resolve funding and provisioning issues around the standardization of classroom technologies, and reframe instructional technology as supporting the research-intensive mission of the University.
Description of Problem—The lack of standardization of classroom and instructional technologies across campus has a negative impact on teaching and learning for both faculty and students. Without collaboration and coordination of efforts―and a way to share what is available to faculty in terms of innovative instructional technologies―the University risks missing the opportunity to recruit, develop, and retain the best faculty and students. Also, the lack of a clearly articulated view of the importance of innovative instructional technologies, including teaching with technology, within the faculty roles and rewards system should be addressed.
Recommendation Summary—Enhance the University’s administrative systems to meet the needs and expectations of 21st century faculty, students, and staff. Align technology with the University’s mission and goals through improved productivity and efficiency, campus-wide application development standards, architecture and processes, and creation of an Administrative Systems Master Plan for future coordination and collaboration within the business areas and the development community.
Description of Problem—In some important business areas of the University, work is still performed manually or with outdated and inadequate tools. All across campus there is an identified need for improvements to administrative systems that range from upgrading tools to support fundraising to developing an improved inventory system. Campus needs include developing a consistent and secure Web-based architecture for the end user interface to administrative systems. An update to long-term administrative systems (five to ten-year) planning is needed. There is no comprehensive approach for integration of legacy systems with the growing number of application package software solutions.