By Cliff Foster
The 20-member task force supporting the strategic planning process for information technology services is getting organized to survey members of the MSU Denver community about their experiences with IT and how systems and services can better serve the goals of the University.
The task force, with representatives from all of the University’s constituencies, has been meeting weekly since early October to discuss and plan how this process is to be conducted. Now, it is preparing “to hear from a large, representative group across campus before we make big decisions,” says Sandra Haynes, dean of the school of professional studies, who co-chairs the task force with Management Professor Rajendra Khandekar.
The survey and other outreach efforts are aimed at developing a comprehensive blueprint for IT that further integrates technology services into the fabric of the institution, envisions IT as a full partner with the University and not simply as a support group, and advances the goals of A Time of Transformation, MSU Denver’s 2012-17 strategic plan.
Toward those ends, President Stephen Jordan gave the task force three charges: to facilitate the development of new shared governance and organizational structures, and draft a strategic plan that may include themes such as customer service, data security, service reliability, infrastructure, communication and more.
“In this day and age when we are depending more and more on technology for our business side and for our teaching, we need an IT that can be very forward-looking and can help us stay current and even ahead of the game when it comes to changes,” Haynes says.
Here’s a summary of the task force’s accomplishments and plans:
· It has created a website to keep the University community informed. The site includes the original charge, task force membership, agendas, meeting minutes and regular progress reports;
· The task force has compiled documentation of past and current IT plans, policies, resources, business processes, organizational structures and the like. The purpose is to determine the evolution and current state of IT and to identify elements that have value and those that are outdated;
· The task force formed an ad hoc shared governance subcommittee to address issues such as technical challenges that need immediate attention. The idea is to allow the experts to deal with operational issues or, if necessary, bring in stakeholders to work with them on solutions – a model for the shared governance structure that will emerge from this initiative;
· Khandekar has led task force members through strategic planning exercises, the results of which will inform a survey of stakeholders throughout the University community. The questionnaire will probably go out in early February after scrutiny by the Institutional Review Board.
“We want to get wide feedback from individuals in various stakeholder groups about the positive things about IT services, the difficulties they might have had, the things they might want to see changed, and their vision of an ideal IT,” Khandekar says.
The stakeholder survey results, plus information from other sources, will be given to IT leaders and staff. Using this input and facilitation from the task force, they will develop the strategic plan and organizational and shared governance mechanisms for the future.
The deadline to accomplish all this is summer 2013, though Khandekar hopes to see the work finished by April. “The task force members are working hard and are enthused about what they’re doing…so I think we’ll get it done by then.”
“The ideal result,” Haynes adds, “is that the University will have decided what kind of IT will work for us and we will have a plan to move toward that.”
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