“Leveraging resources” is the term used to describe the work group tasked with providing recommendations on how UO could ensure that we are making the most of our limited resources when investing in IT. In other words, making sure we are spending our money in the smartest, most efficient ways to accomplish our goals and eliminate duplication of efforts. Another way to think of this is “rationalizing” how our IT functions are distributed across campus.
In making their recommendations, this work group established guiding principles to help determine when/if it is appropriate for one unit to be the owner of a particular IT function. The work group concluded that it is important to consolidate functions that:
- Are a strategic priority for UO;
- Will result in opportunities for scale economies;
- Will result in a more efficient use of resources;
- Cut across multiple units and do not require specialized knowledge of a unit;
- Will result in faculty/staff/students receiving new or improved services/products; and
- When consolidated, improve operations and mitigate risks.
It is notable that these principles are not “rules.” They will guide the IT Steering Committee in making recommendations to the provost but they do not mandate any particular course of action. Additionally, if an IT function is being considered for consolidation, where that function would be consolidated would also need to be determined; some functions may consolidate into Information Services while others may move to other units (e.g., the Library).
The work group made recommendations that the provost and president generally accepted: (1) move forward with five initiatives in the shorter-term, and (2) implement a longer-term assessment process.
The work group identified areas that met at least one of the following criteria:
- Addresses risks identified by Baker Tilly;
- Could result in fairly rapid cost savings/efficiencies;
- Have an identified path forward (i.e., can be implemented relatively easily); or
- Are likely to be widely supported by campus.
The five initiatives that were recommended include:
Consolidate Data Centers
Concerns Addressed: Security (high priority risk identified by Baker Tilly) and long-term cost savings due to less staff time spent maintaining equipment as well as less equipment/locations to maintain and cool.
Current status: Units began moving equipment into the Allen Hall Data Center at the start of fall term 2016. This work is ongoing.
Establish Central Contracts for Hardware Procurement
Concerns Addressed: Immediate cost savings due to economies of scale and standardization.
Current status: Purchasing and Contracting Services (PCS) is implementing an eProcurement portal. In conjunction with Information Services and the IT directors, PCS is evaluating the variety of desktop, laptop, and mobile technology purchased for employees to make a recommendation on standard purchase processes, standardized technology, and an exception process.
Central Licenses for Enterprise Software
Concerns Addressed: Immediate cost savings due to economies of scale, standardization and centralization of enterprise software.
Current Status: Information Services has compiled an initial list of all academic and administrative software licenses and is currently working on evaluating opportunities to streamline purchasing. The IT Steering Committee will utilize this information to advise the provost on an ongoing process to ensure central purchasing and management of software that could benefit numerous units across campus.
Help Desk Support
Concerns Addressed: Long-term savings due to increased staff efficiencies.
Current status: A new ITSM tool, TeamDynamix, has been licensed for the university and the implementation team is working to deploy that software during spring term 2017. Implementation will be done in phases, starting with the three units that use the current ticketing system the most. This ITSM tool will provide a much better user interface for customers that have questions and need assistance, and it will facilitate better work coordination amongst IT staff.
In order to ensure the best possible use of our limited resources (both personnel and monetary), we are engaging in a coordinated assessment process that will establish an accurate inventory of our investments in IT across campus units.
We have engaged Harvey Blustain to carry out this assessment and make recommendations to the provost and president on how to rationalize the distribution of our IT staff and functions. More information on Mr. Blustain is available online including a copy of his contract.
Mr. Blustain met with faculty and staff across campus.
A part of his work included carrying out a survey of how IT staff on campus spend their time on various components of IT. This survey was circulated to staff in mid-May. Mr. Blustain’s final report is available online.