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Does a university need a CIO


implementations get bogged down when the different constituencies stop believing ... they also get bogged down when project managers sometimes fail to make critical ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Does a university need a CIO

Does a university need a CIO?
  • Professor Anthony C. Masi
  • Interim Provost and CIO
  • McGill University
  • CANHEIT 2005 Keynote Address
  • Montreal, 27 June 2005

Be courteous to others, please turn off all cell
phones and pagers
  • potential roles of a CIO at a University
  • changing expectations for the CIO
  • IST in a University environment
  • - principles
  • - architecture
  • - infrastructure
  • - investment and prioritization
  • IST governance and administration
  • ERP and project management issues

The roles of a university CIO
  • responsible for administrative systems, the
    network, the ERP, customer support, academic
    technology, the Library
  • articulates the IST vision and set expectations
  • organisational architect
  • executive manager in charge of the delivery of
  • change manager
  • transformations that produce coordinated
    transactions across functional boundaries
  • new business processes

More roles of a university CIO
  • ultimately responsible for the flow of
    information within the University
  • defines the IST policy agenda
  • responsible for the strategic alignment of IST
    goals and objectives with the overall university
  • executive manager of the project portfolio to
    support administrative, teaching, and research

CIO profile business professional
  • management skills in an area of the institution
    other than technology
  • usually a power user
  • not part of the embedded culture of IS/IT
  • depends on technical expertise of the IS/IT staff
  • technically aware
  • struggles to match technical infrastructures with
    the universitys business needs
  • customer-centric

Expectations that university presidents have for
the CIO
  • leadership and communication skills
  • - transform vision into action
  • - create an environment of shared understanding
  • - secure the foundation for technological change
  • ability to apply technology to meet needs
  • - know where technology solutions fit business
  • - knowledge of critical success factors
    competitive edge
  • - partner in strategic and operational planning
  • innovation
  • - continuous improvement and enhancement of
  • practices with creative use of IS/IT in
    all parts of business
  • Adapted from CIO profiles prepared by the
    Gartner Group

The changing roles of the CIO
  • positioning information technology as the
    strategic underpinning for business success
  • How the CIO role evolves depends on
  • the extent to which the university perceives
    itself to be dependent on IST
  • the credibility of the IST team when faced by
    senior administration at the university
  • the relationship of the CIO directly with the
    President and relative to other senior

IST in a university environment
  • the power and presence of information systems and
    technology has grown
  • but, the strategic importance of IST has not been
    increasing, rather there are some signs
    indicating that it is decreasing
  • if everyone has access to the same technology,
    then technology itself can not be a competitive
  • IST appears to have become infrastructure

An IST quandary
  • Either
  • IST is only a cost now
  • Information technology has increasingly become
    a simple factor of production a commodity
    input that is necessary for competitiveness, but
    insufficient for advantage
  • Nicholas G. Carr, IT Doesnt Matter, Harvard
    Business Review
  • Or
  • IST represents untapped potential in business
    today, the edge of the wedge
  • An inadequate IT infrastructure in higher
    education will result in a decline in the quality
    of students, faculty and research
  • Jack McCredie, Does IT Matter to Higher
    Education?, Educause Review

Workforce, organisation, and spending
  • source of differentiation
  • empower employees to use and adapt the tools
    available to them
  • questions
  • how best to invest in technology
  • how to use IST to improve the University teaching
    and research functions and the administrative
  • IST spending
  • may be cut and but a given level of
    functionality must be maintained
  • aligning IS/IT
  • university-wide strategic goals and objectives

Alignment with academic priorities
  • clearly articulated campus vision and priorities
  • linking planning with the budget
  • IST plan and planning activities
  • dynamically stable environment
  • effective IST governance process
  • effective IST strategic planning and documented
    objectives for initiatives
  • involvement and communications with key

McGills IST principles and objectives
  • enable academic priorities
  • ensure information integrity
  • create a common view and one version of the
  • promote consistent, flexible architectural
  • utilise industry standards to rapidly deploy new
  • reuse gt buy gt build measure, improve,
    communicate, and be responsive
  • manage IST as an investment benchmark

IST architecture at McGill
  • core business processes at McGill and their
  • information drives McGills core processes, so it
    must be integrated
  • technical capabilities must be standardised
    university-wide in order to support IST
    efficiencies and facilitate process
    standardisation and integration at McGill
  • many activities have to be standardised
    university-wide to support data integration at
  • technology choices guide and are guided by
    McGills approach to IST initiatives

IST infrastructure at McGill
  • infrastructure services are critical to achieving
    McGills strategic objectives
  • university-wide infrastructure services have to
    be implemented at McGill, requiring service-level
    agreements (SLAs)
  • pricing infrastructure services at McGill
  • McGills plans for keeping underlying
    technologies up to date
  • outsourcing opportunities for infrastructure

Investment and prioritisation
  • strategically important process changes and/or
    enhancements at McGill
  • consistency of the IST portfolio at McGill with
    the universitys strategic objectives
  • relative importance of university-wide versus
    unit-level investments at McGill
  • actual investment practices as a reflection their
    relative importance to McGills strategic
  • how much to spend?
  • what to spend it on?
  • how to reconcile the needs of different

Process transformation
  • To optimize IST value these processes must be
    combined to enable transformation
  • Adapted from Metagroup Research

IST programand projectmanagement
University strategicplanning
Governance and administration
  • avoid silos and create horizontal structures
  • with whom people work is at least as important
    as to whom they report in a dynamic environment
  • know when to redesign
  • - new roles and relationships are catalysts for
  • change and organisational transformation
    e.g., having the Libraries report to the Deputy
    Provost and Chief Information Officer

Governance and administration /2
  • involve senior managers
  • committees, approval processes, and performance
  • interlocking committee structures
  • exception requests from the President are not
    technology issues, but strategic choices
  • governance arrangement matrix

Governance and administration /3
  • make choices
  • highlight conflicting goals for debate
  • avoid confusion, complexity, and mixed messages
  • clarify the exception-handling process
  • exceptions are learning opportunities
  • serve as a release valve
  • provide the right incentives
  • assign ownership and accountability
  • IST management steering committees
  • EDSIC, SPARC, FIS and SIS specialists in

Governance and administration /4
  • McGill units reporting to the Deputy Provost and
  • Network and Communications Services (NCS)
  • Information Systems Resources (ISR)
  • IST Customer Services (ICS)
  • Instructional Multimedia Services (IMS)
  • Planning and Institutional Analysis (PIA)
  • Office of Academic Management
  • Teaching and Learning Services (TLS)
  • McGill Libraries

McGill ERP in context
  • ERP SunGard-SCT Banner
  • 10 year commitment to FIS, SIS, and HRIS
  • developing operational data stores into a
    full-blown enterprise data warehouse (Planning)
  • implementing workflow (HR, Faculties,
  • imaging and document management (Archives)
  • already implemented BSRs development and alumni
  • privacy and security issues

McGill ERP in context /2
  • McGills customisation of Banner web Minerva
  • organisational charts and scenario builder for
    HRIS (Nakisa)
  • SciQuest Higher Markets e-Procurement link to FIS
    (still need true provisioning software solution)
  • real-time linking of LMS (now WebCT CE, but
    migrating to Vista) to SIS and eventually to
    library systems and services
  • student and faculty recruitment and prospect
    management tool
  • Using Luminis data integration suite (Documentum
    under consideration) to link the ERP to the
    Oracle Portal
  • meta-directory solutions to identity management,
    authentication, and authorisation via nSure from

McGill ERP in context /3
  • SSO (single sign on)
  • optical backbone network (CFI-funded, with
  • SAN (Hitachi three tiers) and backup (Veritas)
  • Other licenses
  • Oracle campus license
  • Exchange and other Microsoft applications
  • Elms
  • McGill on-line course evaluation (MOLE) via
    Minerva and real time link to Banner SIS

McGills ERP implementation life cycle
ERP ProjectLaunch
Business Performance
McGill Fall2004 Adapted from a Working Council
for CIO Publication
The ERPs short-term promises
  • stabilise processes and technology
  • provide an environment where people can learn to
    use the new tools
  • provide users with the time to translate the
    training they have received into action in a live
  • deploy additional resources to the faculties and
    local administrative offices to assist in the

ERP is the beginning, not the end
  • ERP implementation provides a stable transaction
  • ability to leverage the ERP investment in new
  • goal of standard processes and data

Some lessons learned
  • "successful" and "painless" are not the same
  • full-scale implementation of ERP could represent
    a total replacement of IST functions and
  • using a determined and realistic approach,
    successful implementation is achievable

Beware of the data issues
  • information systems evolve over time in response
    to the demands of the environment
  • opportunities to expand an ERP solution or to
    provide targeted solutions for different
    constituencies must ensure that IST
    infrastructure does not drift from the effective
    ERP-imposed standards
  • protect data standards and data integration
  • departure from data standards introduces
    inefficiencies in communication and understanding
    as different units struggle to translate the
    information they obtain from elsewhere

The devil details and data
  • battles over things that you never gave much
    thought to before, like units of measurement
  • expect that more of those battles will be over
    data than over functionality (who is the trustee
    for citizenship for a student-employee, SIS or
  • basic assumptions about what data mean may be
    challenged through the implementation
  • differences in commonly used data may have
    historically been shielded by the existence of
    non-integrated applications
  • develop an approach to resolving these issues and
    defining ownership of critical data elements

Management failures data warehousing and data
  • technical
  • poor usability and insufficient scalability lead
    to complex customisations
  • standards setting and enforcement
  • data integrity failures and the magnitude of
    legacy standards lead to dispersed standards
  • user absorption
  • legacy report lock-in and an analytical skills
    gap lead to a querying bottleneck
  • governance
  • Inconsistent privacy controls and data-hording by
    Faculties and administrative units leads to
    uncoordinated usage

Obstacles to data warehousing and data visibility
Data management practice
1. data inconsistencyreports vary by data source
and reporting tool
"Single version of the truth" for data across the
data standards life-cycle management
2. shallow data standard data available at
top-level only
in-depth standard data for key business drivers
3. restricted access data access restricted to a
handful of power users  
desktop access for data users in all offices of
the university 
redefined business data ownership model
4. data latency lag in obtaining accurate data 
more frequent refresh of data set
5. systems duplication siloed decision support
one decision support system based on data
enterprise decision-support utility (business
intelligence solution)
Adapted from a Working Council for CIO
Know the needs and ERP is supposed to meet
  • understand business processes before you begin
    altering them through ERP implementation
  • get a set of pre-implementation process
    performance metrics in place before you begin
  • know the current-state
  • identify areas where process improvements can be
    undertaken immediately (morale boosters and early

Difference between understanding it and liking it
  • decision-making is sometimes a zero sum game with
    winners and losers
  • have a fair and transparent process in place for
    making these decisions
  • people need to understand how and why a decision
    has been made and, importantly, that it will be
    adhered to
  • implementations get bogged down when the
    different constituencies stop believing that
    everyone is in it together
  • they also get bogged down when project managers
    sometimes fail to make critical (and unpopular)

Managing by project?
  • Portal and data integration (new services)
  • Databases, directories, and identity management
    (transparency and easy of use)
  • infinite storage, backup, recovery, and BC/DR
    (business continuity and disaster recovery)
  • Office enabling software solutions (support)
  • Clientless ERP for end users (upgrades)
  • Encapsulation and interfaces (filling the gaps)
  • Learning management software (remembering the
  • Libraries catalogue updates, information
    management, search engines, academic integrity
    software (text matching and reference materials)

  • enterprise-level technologies only offer a
    platform for business execution
  • level of execution is dictated by people
  • success in implementing information technologies
    that will enable people to maximise the
    application of talent in pursuit of goals
  • IST availability and usage plays a role in the
    improvement and potential standardisation of
    individual and business unit performance
  • implementation success is to be found at the
    project level
  • contingencies will always force the
    modification of enterprise-level software
    packages learn to live with it

New question
  • Given that a university really does need a CIO,
    what should that CIO do?
  • Using the University of California, Berkeley
    approach as a model of the right things to
    consider, let me turn my attention to some final

Ask and answer appropriate questions
  • How can the groups reporting to the CIO
    participate in developing new research and
    learning paradigms based on the ongoing
    transformations of IST?
  • Where and when should our campus be an innovator,
    early adopter, or follower in the IST
  • What are the critical issues for teaching,
    research, administration, and public service that
    IST can help address?
  • What is the appropriate role for IST to play in
    transforming the teaching and learning processes?
  • On what strategic IST initiatives should we focus
    over the next five years?

2. Articulate strategic vision
  • Who are we? guiding principles
  • Where are we now? stakeholders perspectives and
    environmental scan
  • Where do we want to be? vision, objectives,
  • How will we get there? initiatives and
    incremental operational improvements
  • How will we know how we are doing? performance
    measures and benchmarking

Articulate strategic vision /2
  • alignment with and support for university
  • accountable allocation of resources
  • integration, inclusion, innovations, and ease of
  • security, stability, safety, and reliability
  • ubiquity of basic standards
  • excellence in conceptualisation and execution
  • measuring up to best practices among peer

3. Focus balancing act
4. Engage opportunities and challenges
  • Teaching and learning
  • support the activities that are at the heart of
    the universitys mission
  • Research
  • support all disciplines
  • connect the campus with the world
  • Security, reliability, access
  • secure and reliable
  • maintain the access required of an open
  • Funding, governance
  • state-of-the-art services
  • limited, or even shrinking, resources
  • Expertise
  • attract and retain dedicated professionals

5. Projections guiding actions
  • ubiquitous campus data network will serve as a
    major tool supporting learning, research,
    outreach, management, and all forms of scholarly
    and personal communication
  • students will increasingly own their own
    computers, but the University must provide a
    broad set of information resources freely
    available to all, including email, Internet
    access, web services, computing labs, and digital
    library materials
  • computing to support sponsored research
    activities must come to be supported by grants
    and contracts and not funded through campus

6. Continuing problems
  • budgets are shrinking rapidly each year it is
    becoming more difficult to maintain the
    information systems currently in place and to
    find investment funds for new initiatives
  • increasing attacks from hackers threaten both the
    stability of the campus information
    infrastructure and the privacy of sensitive
    personal and financial information stored on
    campus systems
  • campus culture of decentralization leads to a
    fragmented environment with many inefficiencies
    and overlaps in the provision of important IST

7. Strategic initiatives
  • ubiquitous wireless data and voice services
  • experiments using technology to transform the
    learning environment for undergraduates
  • new infrastructure partnerships between the
    research community and university-wide IST
  • enhanced security architecture to protect the IST
    environment and resources

Your turn
  • Questions
  • Comments
  • Suggestions
  • Criticisms
  • Complaints