SENATE COMMITTEE ON LIBRARIES, INFORMATION SYSTEMS, AND TECHNOLOGY
Reimagining Information Technology
The speed at which technology changes, and the responsibility of our organization to harness and direct it for optimal support of the University’s teaching, research, and service mission, provide exciting opportunities for the future. To prepare for those opportunities, we devoted a great deal of time examining our organization with a critical focus on discovering our strengths, understanding existing challenges, and gaining insight into strategic opportunities in providing world-class support. The information-gathering was a combination of self-study, work done by consultants, and input from focus groups to provide an objective look into areas of profound opportunity. The compilation of data provides a compelling substantiation for the reimagining IT plan.
As the plan for Reimagining IT evolves, based on guidance and feedback from the University community, transparency and clarity on the adapting strategy is a top priority. Continued engagement with key stakeholders for feedback is invaluable and a critical component to ensuring the success of this transformation. Updated documentation will be widely available through rit.psu.edu, along with continued conversations and engagements through the duration of this process.
This report will be presented to the Senate by Michael Kubit, Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer.
Where things work well, we will respect that and build upon it
Where things can be improved, we will work to find the very best solution
Six Reasons Why
- The Pennsylvania State University deserves a world-class IT organization commensurate with its status as a leading R1 institution.
- Financial strain is exacerbated by demographic changes and decreasing support for public higher education. IT must reinvent its funding model and business processes to maximize the overall spend to adapt to financial and demographic realities.
- We are now in the midst of experiencing a Fourth Industrial Revolution due to the velocity, scope, and systems impact of the exponential change in technology. The speed of change is disrupting almost every industry and transforms entire systems of production, management, and governance.
- The IT workforce must grow and transform to keep pace with changes in society, education, and technology. Penn State IT has tremendous unrealized potential, where we can accomplish far more working together than working in fragmented units.
- IT has a very large potential attack surface with multiple instances of systems. Many are not properly documented, monitored, or maintained. We are inconsistent and, at times, slow in response to cyber threats, legal, and administrative requests.
- Penn State has more than eighty IT support units, which has led to duplicative services, resource inefficiencies, siloed behaviors, and decreased time to innovation. We are currently robbing our capacity for innovation by overinvesting in unnecessarily duplicated technologies.
Current State of IT
Penn State has grown both organically and geographically to become one of the largest educational institutions in the United States, resulting in a highly complex and distributed technology environment, with 60% of IT spend occurring outside of Enterprise IT in support of localized constituent requirements. Over time, Penn State has evolved to having more than eighty IT support units providing over 630 IT Services. This creates a complex environment of overlapping, inefficient, and duplicated solutions.
Lack of coordinated governance and variable maturity levels in financial, technical, and service management disciplines offer limited transparency for technology leaders to manage cost and value optimization initiatives.
Following a six-month engagement with Gartner consulting, Gartner positioned IT at their lowest level of maturity. This model typically consists of a lack of coordination, and end-to-end accountability for service results are typically absent. Service predictability and quality tend to be poor or nonexistent.
Goals and Objectives
Reimagining IT will enable us to amplify the things we are good at, mitigate our weaknesses, and maximize our focus on supporting the teaching, research, and service missions of the University.
- Aligning IT resources to support the Penn State Strategic Plan
- Optimizing the University’s investments in IT
- Creating capacity to support innovation and the unique needs of units
- University-wide IT governance and alignment of resources in support of the University’s
mission and strategic plan
- Strengthening local IT presence with an increased focus on the unique needs of the
colleges, campuses, research centers, and administrative units, and connecting those
needs with access to services and solutions
- Running commodity technology and services at scale, with the very best talent from
across the University
- A comprehensive professional development strategy to attract, retain, and promote IT
- Appropriate insight of budgets and resources across Penn State IT to enable the vice
president for Information Technology to better align and manage resources on behalf of
Elements of the Plan
Ongoing engagements and feedback sessions occur throughout the lifespan of the Reimagining IT process. Beginning in August 2018, invaluable conversations with University leadership began to occur to ensure transparency and sponsorship and will continue through all phases of the process.
Multiple advisory groups will be formed in spring 2019 to represent interests in Research, Teaching and Learning, Administration, and Information Technology. Membership for each area will be determined through University leadership. Students will also be engaged for ongoing input, leveraging existing student leadership groups. These groups will be charged with:
- providing feedback on the strategy, tactics, and overall approach of the initiative;
- providing insight into the overall support of the plan;
- advising on new ideas and approaches developed by the Reimagining IT team as the initiative moves forward; and
- serving as a trusted source of knowledge for peers regarding the plan to Reimagine IT at Penn State.
As University leadership engages in continual feedback of the plan, distribution of the overall objectives and goals to all layers of the University is occurring. Through the rit.psu.edu website, supporting documentation, presentations, and webinars, the plan to Reimagine IT, along with the adapting strategy, is being broadly communicated.
The planning phase will encompass key preparation activities, including the formation of working groups to develop strategies and methodologies for unit engagement to assess people, process, technology, and IT spend. Other activities include rounding out the senior leadership team, IT budget planning, further development of the human resources strategy, development of new IT job profiles in conjunction with Penn State HR, and development of a governance framework.
Units who volunteered to be discovery partners will work with RIT discovery teams to implement the methodologies and strategies created during the planning phase. As assessments occur, feedback and lessons learned will be a key component to inform the engagement phase of the process.
Best practices gleaned from the discovery partners will be enacted across units. Recommendations for optimization will be produced at the end of each unit discovery process and given to unit leadership for review and approval. This will include recommendations for people, services, technology, processes, and IT spend.
During the optimization phase, changes to services, personnel, and budgets will take place in accordance with the agreed upon recommendation from the discovery process.
SENATE COMMITTEE ON LIBRARIES, INFORMATION SYSTEMS, AND TECHNOLOGY
Fred Aebli, Vice chair
Mary Beth Clark
Roger Egolf, Chair