Last Updated: Mar 28th, 2013 - 15:54:01
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MSU Denver launches IT Strategic Planning Task Force

By Cliff Foster

The University today launched a major initiative to develop a strategic plan for Information Technology Services, as well as a new IT governance and organizational structure, to support “A Time of Transformation,” the blueprint that will guide MSU Denver’s progress over the next five years.

President Stephen Jordan announced the Information Technology Strategic Planning Task Force in his Welcome Back speech last week, and on Monday Chief Information Officer James Lyall presented the IT Strategic Planning Task Force in greater detail to members of the president’s cabinet.

The president’s charge for the IT Strategic Planning process is posted on the Strategic Planning web site.

“The primary driving factors [for the creation of the task force] were the completion of the University’s strategic plan and the president recognizing the value of strategic, integrated, technology services as well as an organization structured to advance the institutional priorities ,” Lyall says.

The 20-member IT Strategic Planning Task Force will include broad representation from faculty, staff, administrators and students; those members should be named by the end of the week.

One of the group’s priorities will be to create a shared governance structure. An Information Technology Strategic Oversight Committee will review policies, strategies and management of the University’s IT Services. This committee will work closely with the technology staff to come up with a governance structure committed to “transparency and communication,” as the president’s charge puts it.

Next, the task force begins the heavy lifting of developing a process to create an IT strategic plan to support a range of institutional priorities, particularly the goals and objectives of “A Time of Transformation,” MSU Denver’s overall 2012-17 strategic plan.

“This process should be comprehensive and create a mechanism for [the University community] to provide feedback about their experience related to technology services,” the charge says. This will involve collecting and analyzing data from several sources, including new and previous surveys, open forums and a review of best practices in technology.

Like “A Time of Transformation,” the IT strategic plan also would address core themes – in this case customer service, data security, service reliability, infrastructure, communication and priorities for new systems and services. In addition, the charge suggests creating working groups to identify the systems, services and support necessary to advance the objectives and goals identified in the four themes of “A Time of Transformation:” Student and Academic Success, (Student Success), Community Engagement and Regional Stewardship (Urban Land Grant), Institutional Culture (University Culture) and Institutional Resources (University Resources) .

For example, a working group formed around the theme of Community Engagement and Regional Stewardship (Urban Land Grant) would include representatives of the Division of Advancement and External Relations, Academic and Student Affairs, and Administration and Finance who would consider ways technology could advance the objective of positioning MSU Denver as a strategic community resource. That might include looking into how the high-tech equipment in the new Center for Advanced Visualization and Experiential Analysis (CAVEA) can be used for University programs as well to attract external entities.

The president’s charge also acknowledges that IT Services has been through many structural changes over the last decade. The task force, the charge says, should consider an organizational make-up that would reinforce the goals identified in the IT strategic plan.

“This is an outstanding opportunity for MSU Denver technology services to work in close partnership with students, faculty, and staff to identify not only the systems and services to support and advance the institution, but also to develop transparent, inclusive processes as well as an integrated and supportive information technology organization,” Lyall says.

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