CSG Spring 2018 – Strategically reallocating/restructuring IT resources

Paul Erickson (Nebraska, Lincoln)

Stage Set

Jim Phelps (Washington)

Laundry list of technologies: hyper personalization; AI and ML; IoT; Autonomous systems & robotics; everything on every device, everywhere; virtual and augmented reality; Big data, data driven organizations; hyper connected world

Cultural impacts of digital transformation – will transform all aspects of work and society in the same way that the industrial revolution and electrification transformed work/society; DX will lead to whole new technologies never seen before; There will be whole new classes of jobs, skills, and competencies; This is a period of great disruption; We cannot predict the winners and losers, either technology nor business; we need to be adaptable; we need resources to invest and investigate during this time of change; higher education will be disrupted too; the winners in higher education may not exist yet.

Change Management will be a critical competency. Example of Nordstrom adapting their culture of perfection to an agile IT process.

Are we a commodity provider or a business transformation partner? If it’s a commodity we can expect budgets to keep shrinking and visibility to go lower. If we are business transformation partner it implies whole new sets of skills. Staff must have customer experience and business skills. Teams need to respond quickly to business changes and opportunities. We need to be change leaders. IT needs to be transparent and build trust and actively manage relationships with the business. We need to understand the business well enough to bring opportunities to the table.

Transformation of IT’s stack itself: DevOps and all it implies (full-stack teams, job rotation, joing meetings, “servant leadership”, etc), chaos monkey. Culture shift – learning, trust, collaboration.

“We need to become IDEO consultants for campus, not Gartner consultants” Matthew Rascoff – Duke

Steve Fleagle – Iowa – OneIT

Board hired Deloitte to look at IT improvements. Adopted 4 recommendations. Proposed a 3 year self-implementation plan – 16 projects with a savings target of $3.6m.

Structure – project teams; coleaders from central and distributed units; program office to oversee projects; Steering committee

Communication – web site, kickoff meetings with each college, town hall meetings, IT leader retreats, monthly newsletter mailings, administrative updates.

Nine of 16 projects complete, seven active projects on track for closeout by end of FY18, 27.39 FTE redirected or eliminated. Two biggest efforts were desktop/device management and data center consolidation.

What went well? Executive support: Provost, new president; Clear direction from and access to the Board; Intentional transparency; High staff engagement: license to collaborate; Momentum: strong kickoff and early wins; Structure (program office, steering committee, change management)

What could have gone better? Challenging to convey what Board wanted and articulate parameters; generating campus buy-in was a long, exhausting process (lack of synergy at senior leadership levels. collegiate IT leaders caught between Deans and CIO), Mixed messages about involvement of other regent schools, not enough focus on cultural/political factors – us vs them mentality, when everyone agreed it was easy, changing roles felt threatening and caused resistance).

Lessons: Describe future state clearly or people won’t let go of the past; executive support is critical; mandate is a blessing and a curse (you still need buy-in); people need to know how change impacts them personally; helpful to identify common ground and diferences up front; good project managers are helpful; figure out who has skin in the game and work through concerns one conversation at a time). People really like success stories of how other people have gone through things.

Next Chapter: IT integration with health care IT

Brett Blackman – Nebraska – OneIT

President asked to look at efficiencies in IT across Nebraska, which is 4 campuses. Drivers: scale/efficiencies, improve IT security, improve/maintain services, cut $6m in permanent budget.

Strategy – fromed team structures to review IT organization (March 2017) – combined 360 central IT staff, 200 distributed IT staff. Learned from peers. Communication – be transparent with staff. Implemented new org model (September 2017) – balanced between scaled services and forward facing campus services; 80% of staff had some change to job; community of practice teams.

Five skill areas across the whole consolidated org: IT strategy and planning; Client Services; Security; Enterprise services; Infrastructure. Specific academic and application services exist at the individual campus level.

Outcomes – OneIT is the foundation for $6m in savings – reduced staffing largely through attrition; IT efficiencies; Procurement (joint contracts); Aligned distributed IT (administrative and academic); unifying central ITS campus budgets. Improved security; Improved/mantained services;

Lessons learned: Communication; Culture…change is hard. Enabling leadership at all levels; transition planning

Not everyone believes in collaboration when it means giving up local control.

IT, Procurement, and General Counsel at Nebraska (Paul Erickson)

As IT moves off-premise, more services are governed by contracts – IT has traditionally struggled with Ts&Cs. Not really commodity buy, so Procurement and GC weren’t comfortable with the issues. Had a multi-year effort to articulate ideal Ts&Cs.

Enterprise Architect & Strategy @ UW (Jim Phelps)

Shifting EA practice – was downward facing at tech, now very business architecture focused. How to link strategy management to investment planning to project portfolio management. EA value proposition – help set and then lead vision of change. Creates need for lots of workforce development.

IT Help desk Consolidation & Opportunities for Innovation – Phoebe Johnson (Minnesota)

Help desk Alignment – the who, what, where, and when. In 2012 there were more than 73 IT help desks across the University system.

IT Support Alignment: Cost savings; Great service; Regional zone support.

2 success stories: Liberal Arts Technology & Innovation Services – allows them to invest in relationships with faculty, students, and staff and foster a culture of innovation. College of Food, Agriculture & Natural Resource Sciences – Went from 8 end user support people to 1.5, freeing up people for academic and research tech and app development. Allowed them to focus on online courses.

Technology Advisory Council – Phoebe Johnson (Minnesota)

System-wide membership, deep technology expertise.

Purpose: Provide UMN staff and faculty with expert guidance & advice; reduce institutional cost; avoid redundant technologies; improve alignment with UMN standards, policies & practice. Engage in activities like work in RFP processes.

What we do: expert consultation and support to units; connecting people with similar needs; A portfolio of technologies.

How it works – inspiration, research, assessment, selection, purchase & implementation

Sarah Christen – Cornell

Wanted cloud initiative to partner with the rest of campus, not just central IT. Started talking about developers moving into a “broker” role – but that wasn’t a popular term. Moving from operators/administrators to innovators, developing an infinite number of solutions to meet problems. Creating infrastructure as code, and operations tasks are automated (which takes innovation), highly variable technology stacks – we consult ranter than run. Updates are frequent and automated (but still planned). New products are purchased frequently and need to be integrated into larger solutions.

Central IT as a transformation partner: focus on partnership – don’t reinvent the wheel when central IT can fill the gap. Staff dedicated to helping campus make the transition from the data center to the cloud – documented best practices, refactoring applications, collaboration venues, help/support tickets. Goal is to help with transition and training so the team an support and maintain their services.

Staff transitions: Desktop engineering (Appstream, VDI, CM and JAMF); Storage (starting to backend backups to the cloud, file replications in AWS); DBAs (embracing RDS, exploring new DB platforms, moving away from Oracle).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: