August Town Hall Focuses on Transform IT & IT Governance

At the Town Hall on IT on Thursday, August 31, Jessie Minton, vice provost of Information Services and chief information officer, gave updates and answered questions on a wide range of topics from the draft version of the Transform IT Guiding Principles document to next week’s retreat on IT governance.

Transform IT

A draft version of the Guiding Principles and Implementation (8.24.17) was posted for public comment on August 21. Minton summarized the feedback she has received to-date:

  • The emphasis on IT governance is encouraging
  • The shift in focus from people to services is positive
  • Gap analysis and requirements analysis belong in the Planning phase
  • In addition to discussing service levels, the document needs to include language about the quality of customer service, which is the counterpoint to service levels
  • The collaborative nature of our IT culture, the value of our IT staff, and the university’s commitment to inclusion need to be reflected in the document
  • IT purchasing will need to be better coordinated, and Duck Depot is a big and important step

Based on a question received in advance of the meeting, Minton emphasized that Transform IT will focus on providing a base level of IT support for every unit on campus while maintaining higher service levels that other units have worked hard to develop over the years.

Minton plans to get a success statement out for review and feedback for inclusion in the Guiding Principles document, and the current version of the Guiding Principles document will be revised and republished in upcoming weeks. If you would like to provide feedback on the document, please send your comments to by 5pm on Friday, September 8.

IT Governance

For next week’s IT governance retreat, Minton aims to work with the broad range of representatives to develop a working IT governance framework for UO. With that goal in mind, Minton explained her vision: “I see governance taking the shape of a pyramid. At the top, we already have the IT Steering Committee, which makes recommendations to the Provost on high level IT concerns. At the base of the pyramid are application-specific governance groups. We have some of these, such as the Banner Coordinating Group, but we need more guidance for our key, campus-wide applications. And we need to build out the middle layer of governance as well.”

IT governance will help the university better manage and prioritize the university’s many IT service requests. Given the university’s resource constraints, IT governance is an important building block that will help make the most of the resources we have.

During questions and answers on governance, an attendee about the scope of governance: would it, for example, dictate what software employees can install on their work computers? Minton indicated that to work effectively as one university, there will be situations where we need to all use the same enterprise-wide software for both process and price reasons but that does not extend to every software people may need.

IT Priorities

Minton attended her first Academic Leadership (ALT) Retreat last week, where she shared her top three priorities for IT at UO:

  1. Transform IT
  2. Upgrading the speed and reach of Oregon’s regional education network
  3. Developing an IT strategic plan

Minton spoke extensively about Transform IT, as noted earlier. Work on the regional education network is under way, and the IT strategic plan work will need to follow the development of IT governance.

More topics discussed: CISO search and the UO Service Portal

During the meeting, Minton provided an update on the Chief Information Security Officer search. After gathering an excellent pool of candidates, the committee has identified 12 candidates and have scheduled telephone interviews with each.

Minton also provided her thoughts on the launch of the UO Service Portal, which went live for Information Services, Student Life, School of Journalism and Communication, and College of Design on Monday, August 28. The roll-out went well, and the team has been making adjustments to the software as needed. The portal will give all of our users, whether student or employee, one place to learn more about or get help with UO’s IT services.