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Information Technology Division
202 Huston Hall
Cheney, WA 99004
phone: 509.359.2247
fax: 509.359.6847

IT Portfolio

Purpose

The purpose of the information technology portfolio is to serve as a high-level planning document for Eastern Washington University's investments in information technology (IT). The portfolio provides the Information Technology Executive Management Team a view of IT activities in the context of total university operations. As a tool for executive oversight of information services, it assists administrators in making IT investments that are driven by clear university needs.

During the 2008/2009 year, the university information technology organization completed a comprehensive review and strategic planning process. The intent of this process was to create an effective and efficient information technology organization aligned with the Eastern Washington University vision, mission, and strategic direction. The result was the 2008 - 2011 Institution Information Technology Strategic Plan at http://wiki.ewu.edu/oit/OIT_Strategic_Plan_-_Final. The Eastern Washington University Board of Trustees approved this plan in February, 2009.

June, 2011 brought the 2008 - 2011 Institution Information Technology Strategic Plan to a successful conclusion with 95% of the Goals, Strategies, and Actions completed as planned. Eastern Washington University is currently undergoing a new institutional strategic planning process, under the leadership of the Chief Information Officer. It is expected that this plan will be complete and approved by the Board of Trustees in November, 2011.  At this time, the Information Technology Division will develop its next division-level strategic plan, based upon the new institutional plan.

IT Plans, Proposals, & Acquisitions Process

The decision-making process for IT policies, budget initiatives and priorities is a multi-step process that results in a recommendation to the President of the University.  This is a collaborative process.  The process is as follows:

Input - Individuals or groups at Eastern Washington University suggest IT-related policy changes and other IT-related issues, directly to the CIO, who brings these to the appropriate governance body for review, approval, and recommendation. 

All IT-related initiatives are submitted, reviewed, and approved through the IT Initiative Process. The President makes the final decision on all issues. A high-cost initiative that by law or past practice would require approval by the Board of Trustees would be sent to the Board for approval.

Established advisory committees include the President's Executive Team, Data Management Committee, Digital Media Advisory Committee, Academic Systems Advisory Committee, and the Student Technology Advisory Committee.

Proposal Development, Prioritization, and Acquisition Process

The Chief Information Officer has primary responsibility for university compliance with the DIS/ISB policies and practices and is responsible for maintaining the university's IT Portfolio.

Hardware, software, and services purchased by the university are acquired through the Purchasing Office. In addition, departments can use Interdepartmental Purchase Orders at the university's bookstore to acquire some peripherals and software. The Purchasing Office has responsibility for ensuring that all purchasing complies with regulations of the Office of Financial Management and the Department of Information Services. All contracts require the approval of the Associate Vice President for Business Services or the Associate Vice President for Business & Finance/CFO.

The CIO works actively with the EWU Foundation to ensure that the development officers understand when and how acquisition regulations for technology fit into the processes of acquiring IT gifts-in-kind.

This process is under review as a part of the current reorganization and strategic plan implementation. As this is updated, the IT Portfolio will be updated accordingly.

IT Prioritization Process

A new, formal Campus-wide Technology Initiative Process was developed and implemented in 2010/11. This process allows for all IT-related initiatives to be submitted and prioritized by the President and the President's Executive Committee based upon the institution's priorities. This process aligns with the university's budget process. The diagram below outlines the flow of this process:  

 

 

IT Solutions: Current and Future IT Investments

The institution submitted to the state 2011-2013 Biennial Operating Budget Requests.  These requests include technology initiatives in the Network Infrastructure category.  At this time, none of these requests have been funded, initiated, nor implemented.

IT Challenges and Opportunities

1. Information Technology Leadership and Organizational Changes

In 2010 and 2011, the Chief Information Officer and the Information Technology Division took on a reorganization initiative, consolidating all departmental IT staff across campus (representing one-third of the institution's IT staff) into the IT division. The goal of this effort was to realize a comprehensive, effective, efficient IT organization.

June, 2011 brought the 2008 - 2011 Institution Information Technology Strategic Plan to a successful conclusion with 95% of the Goals, Strategies, and Actions completed as planned. Eastern Washington University is currently undergoing a new institutional strategic planning process, under the leadership of the Chief Information Officer. It is expected that this plan will be complete and approved by the Board of Trustees in November, 2011. At this time, the Information Technology Division will develop its next division-level strategic plan, based upon the new institutional plan.

2. Rocky Budget Environment

Challenges: During the 2008/11 and 2011/13 biennia, the university went through significant budget reductions because of the state of the economy. The Office of Information Technology received its proportional budget cuts as a result. This led to cuts in staff positions (both vacant and filled) and operating. Although the IT division made extensive efforts to minimize the effect of this issue by streamlining costs and implementing more efficient and effective strategies for investment, this issue has had significant affects on the division's ability to provide a technological support structure.  The development and implementation of a formal IT Strategic Plan has made our ability to respond to these issues easier in that all decisions are weighed against the division's ability to achieve this plan's objectives.

3. Recruitment, Retention, and Skill Development of IT Staff

Challenges: Recruiting and retaining qualified IT staff is a major challenge. The budget crisis mentioned above have affected this challenge in ways other than past years with the loss of staff positions through layoffs and vacant position eliminations, freezes on hiring, reductions in student worker funding, and a significant reduction in professional development.

4. Expectations of Students, Faculty, and Staff

Challenges: The centrality of information technology, office automation, and automated systems in the work of the university causes students, faculty and staff to have high expectations for the IT support they will receive. Current and prospective students expect to have access to university information and services (such as course registration or application for admission) at all times. Staff and faculty expect to be able to use administrative systems at all times so that they can work whenever and wherever needed. All expect that appropriate levels of IT staffing, hardware, and network capabilities will be in place to support the applications they select for use for instruction, administrative work, and research. When they need help with equipment or software, they expect to have assistance at the time of need. The current budget crisis exacerbates the Information Technology Division's ability to successfully support these needs.

Opportunities: The implementation of the IT Strategic Plan has allowed the Information Technology Division to better respond to these needs with a consistent focus, ability to determine standard practices and purchases, and provide comprehensive IT support across all of campus.

5. Technological Skills of Faculty and Staff

Challenges: The use of technology in the daily work of students, faculty, and staff drives the need for continual training and timely upgrades of computing and software. Communication within campus and EWU's ability to work effectively with peers across the state and beyond depends upon availability of relatively up-to-date office automation and skills in using that automation. The ability of faculty to provide effective instruction and to interact with students outside class time depends upon the availability of appropriate hardware, software, and support services as well as the faculty members' skills in using available technologies to enhance teaching and learning. There is a significant demand on staff time for training of end users, equipment and staff support, and housing and operating associated servers.

6. IT Security

Challenges: Our network seems to be continually under attack and therefore requires constant monitoring and tuning. In addition, we provide IT services to staff, faculty and students who have a wide range of understanding about IT security.

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