Wednesday, July 15, 2015

In recent presentations to UI administrators and at the Tech Forum in June, Associate Vice President & CIO Steve Fleagle has made some important points about change—why we are doing all of this, and what exactly we must change. Here's what he said.

Why change? While we must be responsive to the efficiency initiatives approved by the Board of Regents, many other external forces are driving the change of IT on our campus. IT on campus must change because higher education and information technology are both in the midst of dramatic changes. This theme is consistently a topic of discussion at national higher ed IT conferences and meetings. Many or our peers have undertaken similar work, some of their own volition, including Michigan, Minnesota, Kansas, North Carolina, Cornell, Berkeley, and Texas A&M.

Reasons for change: Universities are working to operate as efficiently as possible to reduce expenses. There is also a greater focus on enrollment, learning analytics, and online education, and more competition for research funds. The IT field is focused on security and compliance, and on meeting information needs. We are looking at ways to leverage cloud services and the “Internet of Things” (everyday objects with connectivity to send and receive data) and striving to meet user expectations in an era of consumerized technology.

What does IT need to do? Here are several ways that higher ed IT must respond to and prepare for the changes. The OneIT activities are helping to move us in the right direction.

  • Increase efficiency in commodity and infrastructure services
    • Leverage scale either on or off campus
  • Shift IT resources from commodity to teaching/research
  • Transition from primarily service providers to primarily service brokers
  • Decrease complexity, get rid of barriers, reduce risk
  • Take advantage of emergent opportunities
  • Share more information and coordinate activities