Jessie Minton, Vice Provost for Information Services and Chief Information Officer, sent the following message to UO IT staff on April 15, 2020:
Good afternoon colleagues,
It’s been an unprecedented beginning to spring term. Due to the extraordinary work from all of you, we are teaching remotely and supporting our campus with technology in a way never seen before. I’ve watched all of you work together as a truly cohesive IT unit with common priorities, which was exactly what allowed us to thrive in the face of this challenge. I am profoundly grateful and incredibly proud.
I’ve been talking with you all over the past few years about how important it is for us to come together, better utilize our collective talents, and steward our resources. The COVID-19 outbreak has brought this need into focus in a way that is sharper than ever. Now that we have launched the term successfully, we need to resume focus on proceeding with Transform IT. In fact, some of the work done to send the campus remote has expedited this need. The VDI environment and the Enterprise Device Management (EDM) pieces in particular have accelerated well beyond the initially planned schedule.
With this in mind, I wanted to share how we’re moving forward.
User Support Services (USS)
We will now renew focus on executing the organizational structure for User Support Services, including understanding how to assemble the EDM support team. We will be working closely with administration and human resources to determine how we can continue to move forward in the current environment.
Enterprise University Applications (EUA)
The final project in the Transform IT program — Enterprise University Applications — is also underway, and we’re now resuming work on the assessment phase.
Today, as you may know, many UO units offer similar applications and software solutions, resulting in an inefficient use of resources, a fragmentation of software spending, and duplication of tools, processes, and services. Without an increase in the university’s technology funding, we must reallocate our spending so we can effectively enhance IT infrastructure to ensure academic excellence — one of UO’s institutional priorities. EUA will create a framework for rationalizing the university’s purchasing, development, hosting, management, support, and use of software applications and services.
The EUA project will approach UO’s applications with goals similar to those of the USS Recommendations project, which looked at tech support functions.
The EUA project team includes representatives of IT groups throughout the university. The team is charged with producing three main deliverables this spring:
- A categorized catalog of all purchased and custom-built software at the university;
- A suite of recommendations on a category-by-category basis for possible changes to the purchase, hosting, management, and support of that software;
- Recommendations for the delivery of custom application development as a service and associated organizational changes.
The software catalog will provide visibility into the software solutions already available for use at the university, which units support those solutions, and how those solutions are funded. The project team will then assess where we may be able to:
- Reduce the number of similar software solutions used;
- Change the way an application category is managed or supported, including considering whether to centralize;
- Reduce costs through volume discounts or enterprise licenses.
This summer, I will review the project’s recommendations with the Transform IT Steering Committee. After that, we will begin making plans for further focused analysis and implementation of the approved changes on a category-by-category basis, including stakeholder engagement. Implementation may involve the reorganization of IT staff who support applications in some categories.
The EUA project also aims to establish a definition for “enterprise application,” and provide recommendations for policy and procedures for reviewing and adopting future enterprise applications.
With so many unknowns around COVID-19, we’re going to be flexible in how we proceed with this. However, the current situation makes it more important for us to pursue these efficiencies, not less.
We will provide updates on the EUA project on the Transform IT website.
If you have any questions, please contact me or EUA project manager Tony Saxman at firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions about USS, please contact Gary Sullivan, director of USS, at email@example.com.