CSG Spring 2014 – Organizational and Staff Development for an Unpredictable Future

Bernie Gulacheck – Minnesota


  • Adjusting our Organizational Structures
  • Acquiring and Developing Talent
  • Understanding our Customers and our Staff 

Survey results 

Most people survey staff and customers annually, mostly through online surveys. 

15 out of 17 CIOs have been involved in an org analysis or redesign within the last year. Lot of people trying to flatten organization and/or redefining managerial roles. Some upswing in Matrix management and participatory management.

Lots of people are doing ITIL implementations. 

7 schools redesigning IT job classifications. 

Nobody said they’re decentralizing IT, but are trying more centralization and refocusing local IT on innovation, research, or curriculum. 

What’s driving change? Coalescence of technology-enhanced teaching and learning under the IT organization. Reducing layers of management. Efficiency, Rationalization, cost reduction. Or because of a new CIO.

3/4 of schools have a technical career path. Some track staff development in manager evaluations. 

Skills that have risen in importance in the last three years: Communication, cloud computing, IT architecture, project management, vendor management

What will rise in the next three years? Business analysis, cloud computing, consulting, data analysis, soft skills.

One person notes that some new hires lack curiosity about how the institution functions. 

Hard to hire positions: dbas, erp devs, info sec, java devs, network engineers, sys admins.

Post incident surveys for support cases are very popular with IT – are they popular with clients?

One campus comments about survey proliferation from different parts of IT. Some schools make every survey go through central communication for consistency. Some use institutional research office.

Stanford tries to make their survey so it can be finished in five minutes and they only include items that can be actionable. 

Forming IT Services: in 3 Acts Michigan State: Breandan Guenther & Tom Davis

Act 1: Cultures derives from two large sections of IT – academic and admin. lots of them/us language – didn’t feel like an organizational collaboration. Too many gaps. Spilled over to campus – not a lot of trust or desire to work together with central IT.

Act 2: Reorganizing – oriented IT towards customer constituencies. Service level at the top, with infrastructure at bottom and service units aligned vertically. Asked staff whether it should be a tune-up or an extreme makeover – staff wanted makeover. 

Moved to service centers & directors, one central HR team, centralized accounting, IT support, etc. 

Act 3: Recovering from resistance & rejection

Internal – resistance (Culture eats strategy for breakfast; Grieving; Insurgency; Orphans; Overload). 

Lessons from aftermath – ambivalence with central budgeting in CIO’s office; Financial management lag;  Accounting string ought to emphasize service portfolio equally with org structure. 

Matrix Organizational Model at Minnesota – Bernie Gulacheck

In spring of 2012 embarked on reorg of central IT shop. Moved towards more ITIL based framework. Explicitly calling out the demand side of IT – listening to the external community, governance, from the supply side provision of services.

Separated resource management from initiative and operational management. 

Complex part is understanding difference between service vs. function. Service = what we do. x-functional teams deliver customer facing services. Function – how we do it. Defined 23 business services that service the horizontals, each with has technical offerings (150-180). Security and Enterprise Architecture are off to the side – where resource manager is also the service directory. Line orgs: end user support, academic tech, infrastructure & production, application dev.

Challenge is to change staff perception that they look up for direction, but instead to look to the side. Resource manager is head coach. Service manager is quarterback – calls the plays.

Challenges & Benefits: Initially understanding the model; spans and layers (went from 72 managers to 20, some ended up as service directors); resource managers & evaluations; healthy tension (service directors are responsible for meeting budgets); duplication elimination; scalable. 

Formal communities of practice across the entire IT community – formal charge, beginning, and end. 

IT@Cornell – Job Family – Ted Dodds

It is 2nd largest job family – 755 people (Ithaca) 45/55 ration of center to units. CIT staffing reduced by 28% since 2009. Job family was reviewed and rationalized in 2011. 

Today IT expenditures are 90% on utilities, and10% on differentiators.  They aspire to a more equal balance. 

Skill Inventory/Assessment – by popular demand; self-assessment – technical and business, 80+% response, current state. Survey was not anonymous because want to give information to IT directors on campus. Now have a current state assessment, now developing direction on future skills needs. 

Next – Continue ITLP and ELP (Emerging Leaders Program); Drive other training programs by current/future gap; Actively manage attrition for whole IT job family.



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