Toward IT@UChicago

About 12 months ago (on 9/28/2015), I sat down with the IT Leaders from across campus for the first time ever to talk about the environment we all work in. It was an interesting first meeting in that when we talked about the kinds of things they would like to see IT Services do better and things we should tackle together. I wrote down what everyone in the room said and have looked at that list over and over again during my first year to drive my thinking as we keep making progress as a campus. What struck me was the consistency with which the IT Leaders listed the things they thought we could all do together and do better — campus-wide ticketing, campus-wide email, classroom standards, and so on … a picture of my notes from that day are below.

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Interestingly enough, one year later most of that list is what we are thinking about as areas of focus in the IT Rationalization program we kicked off at the start of August. The items that aren’t part of IT Rationalization are mainly enabling processes (SLAs) that are being addressed in our current work at redeveloping ServiceNow. It makes me really excited to think we are pointing in the right direction as an IT community.

That leads me to introduce an important initiative that I have been talking about for almost as long as I have been here, IT@UChicago. A simple observation I made upon arrival is that we do not have a structural way to make large decisions together as an IT community. At the end of the day ITS is a service provider, we should be more engaged with the larger IT community to better understand the needs of those we provide services to and for. Crafting a vision for how we come together and do that is at the heart of IT@UChicago. The initiative will be built on four core programs …

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Each of the four build on and support the others. We have kicked off the IT Rationalization, starting with data collection with ITS already. We will be asking all of our campus IT counterparts to do the same thing starting this week. The IT Leadership Council will be formed over the next few months and will bring together the senior most IT leaders from across the campus to form an ongoing shared decision making group. The IT Academy will be formed out of the ITLC to help level the knowledge about core IT for our larger community. IT Events will be planned together to share knowledge, grow community, and highlight the work we are doing collectively and individually.

We have built a new website that I invite you to look at and react to. I felt creating a site that laid out this vision would help not only make people aware of what we are doing, but to also help hold us accountable for doing what we’ve been talking about over the last 12 months. The community was clear with me during my first year, they want to be a part of the future of IT at UChicago and I feel building this initiative this way will allow us to achieve that vision.