[CSG Winter 2006] IT Governance and Strategic Planning – UC Berkeley


Jack McCredie (outgoing CIO) and Shel Waggener (incoming CIO) from UC Berkeley are talking about their current strategic planning effort.

Six Aspects of IT management – 1. Strategic alignment; 2. Value Delivery; Resource Management; Risk management; performance management; IT governance, which is at the center of it all.

Governance – who is decidiing, how do they decide, who gets input.

Jack asks the great question – What percentage of your acmpus community could describe the IT governance structure on your campus? Most folks answer with under 40% – which speaks to the problem. Kitty Bridges notes that most of the community couldn’t describe any of the campus governance structures any better.

Tracy notes that people only ask about governance when they think it’s a problem.

Jack wisely states that people’s characterization of funding as a top IT issue is really a symptom of poorly understood governance.

Jack’s top IT opportunities and challenges – 2006
– security and privacy
– re-invent central IT organizations
– transform teaching & learning environments
– governance and structure

Berkeley had an audit of their security and privacy effectiveness, which gave them high marks on their policies, but low marks on implementation of those policies across the campus – that’s a governance issue.

The Weill & Ross Governance Model (MIT sloan Management Review – Winter 2005) identifies Key Issues for each IT Decision Area

Berkeley tried to identify where they fit along that model, as did Syracuse in a recent ECAR study.

There are some comments that our most common governance model is anarchy. Richard Katz points out the ECAR finding that CIOs who spend more time with deans and faculty leaders report more positive IT outcomes than those that spend their time with central administrators – this speaks to the feudal governance model that in fact rules our campuses, where the middle tier of a hierarchy in fact holds much of the actual power.

Berkeley came up with a good list of principles for IT.

Then they identified six critical campuswide IT issues:
Thre major areas of IT support – Teaching and Learningl Research; student experience

and across-the-board imrpovements in: security, reliability, access, privacy; IT structure, governance, funding; optimization of IT expertise.

These were identified not by IT, but by leaders campuswide.

Shel notes that simplicity, while easy to scoff at, is key to a well-functioning governance process.

Berkeley did a self-study, which came up with the following recommendations:

1. The CIO function needs to be strengthened, defined more clearly, and differentiated from the function of running IS&T.
2. The CIO should be involved in formulating all campus-level IT budget requests.
3. The CIO should be the key link between input/advice from IT stakeholders and formulation of campus-level IT budgets.
4. There should be a clear way for knolegeable faculty to interact with the CIO and for the CIO to receive expert faculty advice and draw on highly-regarded faculty partners to advocate for proposed IT investments.
5. The Berkeley campus needs to reorganize, rationalize and enable technology (and other) investments in classrooms and instructional-technology support systems.
6. The Berkeley campus needs to reorganize, rationalize and enable the provision of the IT resources that faculty, students and staff need to do their work (including responsibility for a minimum standard level of computing capability an desktop support). Shel notes that you need to be very clear what standards you’re implementing so others can make their local decisions wisely based on those.
7. The Berkeley campus needs to reorganize and rationalize its approach to hiring and training professional IT staff, to encourage the development of a campus-wide community of IT professionals, and to identify and disseminate best practices.

Shel states that true 100% transparency in IT governance is the key to a successful CIO function.

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