June 6, 2013

IT Task force submits strategic plan

By Donna Fowler

President Stephen Jordan is seeking comments on the Technology Services Strategic Plan recently completed and submitted to him by the Information Technology Task Force.

“The task force was charged with addressing strategic planning, shared governance and organizational structure,” says Jordan. “The members have done an exceptional job in fulfilling these goals, creating a plan that will move the institution forward and that integrates with the University’s five-year strategic plan.

The task force made the following three recommendations:

  • The merging of Administrative Computing and Academic Computing into one organizational unit headed by one individual;
  • The adoption of the Technology Services (TS) Strategic Plan;
  • The use of a shared governance model for TS.

The recommendations and strategic plan were developed following an IT survey, a staff retreat involving all the units, and weekly two-hour meetings by the task force since October of last year.

“Responses to our survey indicate that most of the constituents in the University receive great service from our IT folks despite their being short-staffed,” says Raj Khandekar, task force co-chair and professor of management. “This does not mean there are no issues, but the Technology Services Strategic Plan includes an initiative to clean up business processes that may be problematic as indicated by the survey.”

The plan focuses on the following four initiatives:

  • Reorganize TS into one cohesive unit;
  • Increase TS resources and capacity;
  • Improve communications and buy-in with all stakeholders;
  • Establish a strong prioritization and project management process.

The first initiative, in line with the task force’s first recommendation, is merging Administrative Computing and Academic Computing into one organizational unit headed by one individual.  

The foundation for the second initiative centers on employee recruitment and retention through competitive pay, professional development programs and cross training.

Almost a third of the positions in the Academic and Administrative Computing units have been vacant, as pointed out by President Jordan in his Spring Update. This problem was addressed by hiring a consultant to seek candidates for the vacancies and to suggest best practices to streamline the hiring process.

In addition, the Human Resources department has made it a priority to fill the IT vacancies, according to HR Director Nicole Teft. “As of May 31, 10 positions have been filled, and another 20 are in various stages of the hiring process, such as interviewing, recruiting and job-description development,” she says.

The second initiative also entails improving the University’s technology infrastructure including, among other priorities, improving the wireless network, upgrading the educational computing environment and developing a mobile application for the University.

The task force’s third initiative and one of its three recommendations is the establishment of a “long-lasting, stable and effective” shared governance structure for TS.

For the fourth initiative, the plan states that TS will work in close partnership with business and academic units to integrate services and software by creating a process and project management system and team and a second team dedicated to researching and testing emerging technologies.

“The current leadership team headed by James Lyall did a stellar job keeping IT moving in a positive direction while the task force did its work,” says Sandra Haynes, task force co-chair and dean of the School of Professional Studies.

“The taskforce members worked diligently to develop a strategic plan that meets the needs of the entire campus community and that will help move technology services and, indeed, MSU Denver forward in a highly positive manner.”

Faculty and staff are encouraged to send their comments regarding the TS Strategic Plan to feedback.

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