Developing an Effective IT Governance Structure from the Ground Up


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Effective use of information technology requires more than just a solid technological infrastructure. Broad campus-wide participation and engagement is critical to the success of IT. In this session, we will explore how an effective infrastructure can be developed by looking at how Purdue University Calumet developed a model based on a combination of industry best practices and EDUCAUSE resources.

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Developing an Effective IT Governance Structure from the Ground Up

  1. 1. H. Frank CervoneVice Chancellor for Information Services and Chief Information OfficerEDUCAUSE 2011 Southeast Regional ConferenceCopyright Frank Cervone, 2011.Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-NC
  2. 2.  Regional state universitywithin the Purdue system Primarily a teaching-baseduniversity About 10% of the budget comesfrom research-based activity• 750 faculty and staff• 10,000 FTE students– 9,000 undergraduate– 1,000 graduate• 25,000 registered users of computing facilities
  3. 3. • Combination of centralized Information Technology andUniversity LibraryNew divisioncreated in 2009• 20 in Library• 40 in IT units• About 100 student workersApproximately 60FTE• Financial systems (hosting and day-to-day operations)• Course management system hosting (Blackboard Vista)• Library management system hosting (Voyager)Some services areprovided at thePurdue system level• School of Engineering, Math, and Science• School of TechnologyMinimal school-level, decentralizedIT
  4. 4. • Changing nature of library• Evolving role of information technologySynergy• Managing information rather than technology• Focus on mission, goals, and projects that support the work ofthe universityMove from an IT-centric view of technologyShifting to a mindset of experimentation,innovation, and risk taking
  5. 5. • Culture of “no”• Top-down, authoritarian management modelIT not perceived as responding to campus needs• High performance computing• More than just the student information system• New technologies – panoply of mobile devicesBroaden focus• To University’s strategic objectives• Not just respond to local issues regardless of importanceNarrow focus
  6. 6. No disaster recovery planPoor project ingestion• No process for determining project value or priority• Whoever screamed the loudest• Extremely detailed project planning process• Wasn’t followed once complete• Major projects were not being managed responsiblyBudgets were incomprehensibleMyriad of overlapping and conflicting committees that were “incharge”
  7. 7. • Minor consideration of non-discretionaryprojects• No accounting for incremental maintenancegrowthResource capacity and demand• Reduced ability to provide strategic value tothe UniversityCapacity for strategic projects
  8. 8. Developing a plan for a disaster recovery planOrganizing project ingestion and planning• Establish a process for determining project value andpriority• Streamline project managementProperly allocate budgets• Allocate money were it was really neededRethink “steering committees”
  9. 9.  A repeatable, rational processto collect ideas, selectprojects, prioritize11) Hites, M. & Block, K. (2010). Developing IT Governance and Portfolio Management Processes toGovern Projects, Educause 2010 Annual conference.Action planPrioritiesProjectIdea
  10. 10. Address multiple issuessimultaneouslyMove at different speedsdepending on issueWill take longer than anyonewould prefer
  11. 11. Decisions on “business” related IT issues andconcerns shifted to business units• Does not include infrastructure• Increase faculty and non-IT staff input into decision makingLessen the role of IT as final decision makerGreater emphasis on collaboration
  12. 12. Review research•EDUCAUSE•Gartner, Forrester•JISCTalk to others•Actual peers, aspirational peersFind models and best practices•Look at current models – ITIL, CoBIT, etc.•Select those that will fit our organizational cultureAdapt models and best practices for our environmentCommunicate frequently•Problems and process
  13. 13. Equitable allocation ofresources in an financiallyand staff constrainedenvironmentDefined, repeatabledecision making processesClarification andempowerment ofdecision makersthroughout the universityEncouraging participationand leveraging expertise•Different levels of theorganization•Different areas of expertiseAllocation of resourcesaccording to UniversityprioritiesMeasurement of successagainst defined, knownoutcomes
  14. 14. Focus more on evaluating “business” issues• Less time on the technologyCreate process for making hard (unpopular) decisions• Develop universally palatable rationales for such decisionsPush down smaller decisions for efficiency• Devote more time and consideration to high-cost/high-impact projects
  15. 15. Charged a committee toinvestigate options•Committee met several timesin period of four months•Reviewed all existingcommittees and structuresCommittee made a basicrecommendation onstructureThis was then “tweaked”with input from othercampus communities•Senior leadership•Deans•Students
  16. 16. Understanding true demandTransparency vs. controlIncreasing value placed on ITEmpowerment of non-IT people• Remove the focus on the means by focusing on theends
  17. 17. Who shouldparticipate?• Who should advise?• Who should make decisions?How doesthis relate toexistinggroups,positions,andfunctions?• Faculty Senate, Deans Council• Administrators (Senior Leadership)• Administrative Offices• Financial Services, Registrar• Decentralized IT groups• Student groups
  18. 18. Academic(Schools)FacultyStudentsResearchAdministrative
  19. 19. Academic(Schools)FacultyStudentsResearchAdministrative
  20. 20. Recommendations flow upward and are approvedat the appropriate levelAll groups have two convenors• IT liaison• Functional ConvenorOverlapping appointments in groups is kept to aminimum• Functional cross committee appointments are made though
  21. 21. 1) Hites, M. & Block, K. (2010). Developing IT Governance and Portfolio Management Processes toGovern Projects, Educause 2010 Annual conference.What levels of maturity do our IT services need tohave?As a rule, a group or person is necessary to supportgovernance operations1. This usually takes the form of:• IT Governance Office• Portfolio Management Office• Project Management OfficeWe simply do not have the resources to dedicate aperson to this function
  22. 22. Working withcommitteechairs/convenersLiaising betweengroupsSchedulingmeetingsPreparing andassisting withmeeting materialsDisseminating andgatheringinformationBriefing seniorleadershipFraming decisionpoints fordecision-makers
  23. 23. Risk assessmentand mitigationBudgetsallocated tofunctionalmanagersFormalfinancialallocations
  24. 24.  Too often, the focus is on monitoring andcontrolling The real question is “Are we being effective?”• Overall project portfolio status• Individual project status and performance• Interventions/Targeting at-risk projects• Project financial performance status• Customer SatisfactionSomeindicatorsinclude
  25. 25. Formal projectrequest andevaluationprocessBroadparticipationin committees• Administrators• Faculty• Staff• StudentsProjectproposalslinked tofunding
  26. 26. Resource planning• Project leveling• Resource utilizationmeasurementProject completionprojection accuracyIncrease visibility offaculty and studentsin processDevelop adashboard/scorecardfor importantmetricsCommunication ofinitiatives
  27. 27. • There will never be complete agreement• Most important aspect is all stakeholders have a voice and appropriatedecision-making rightsYou can’t please everyone• Not necessarily related to institutional sizeAn elaborate committee structure may be required• And a significant amount of timeManaging the structure requires involvement at all levelsMust reiterate the message constantlyIf you ask questions, you need to listen to the answers
  28. 28.  Weill, P. and Ross, J. (2004). IT Governance: How TopPerformers Manage Decision Rights for Superior Results.Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business Press Van Grembergen, W. (2009). Enterprise Governance ofInformation Technology: Achieving Strategic Alignment andValue. New York: Springer Eade, R. (2010). Making IT Governance Work. ECAR ResearchBulletin. Boulder, CO: EDUCAUSE Yanosky, R. and McCredie, J. (2008). Process and Politics: ITGovernance in Education. ECAR Research Bulletin, Boulder,CO: EDUCAUSE IT Governance Institute