Initiative VII: Investing and Funding Information Technology Strategically
Information technology is a strategic asset necessary for the institution to advance and stay competitive and productive in the future. As such, the funding of information technology infrastructure and services should be done holistically for agility, efficiency and effectiveness. We must find the best approach to strategically invest for today and tomorrow to create the infrastructures to support teaching, learning, research and innovations in information technology.
CWRU must develop strategies for spending that provide the most effective results from those investments. This requires approaches that align funding, and spending, on IT to strategic priorities and a management structure to ensure the long-term cost effectiveness of IT solutions. While recognizing the unique nature of CWRU, there is value in assessing and aligning our IT investment strategies with those developed (and developing) at peer institutions. We need a firm handle on the cost of our IT activities and, at the same time, we must measure the quality of the outcomes of existing investments in those activities. We must be able to manage our investments with the goal of transparency and alignment with strategic initiatives.
Action Item 23.1: Partner with university leadership to explore, develop and implement funding mechanisms and governance structures for information technology that incentivize balanced, long-term and cost effective investments in IT. Create guidelines to define services that are fundamental to the mission of the university and those to be provided on a pay-per-use model.
Action Item 23.2: Establish a costing model that enhances financial insight into the factors affecting the cost and quality of IT services. This model must enhance reporting, transparency, strategic decision making and the division’s value to CWRU.
Action Item 23.3: Partner with university leadership to develop a standard for a campus-wide, best practices-based approach to lifecycle replacement of physical IT elements. This may include, but are not be limited to, enterprise infrastructure, mobile devices, laptops or any other device that is connected through CWRU’s environment.
Action Item 23.4: Partner with university leadership to restructure the IT funding model to optimize for best practices, security and ongoing costs. As cloud services are provisioned, this model must include establishing a best practices approach for transitioning capital investment to operating expense, as well as a provision for compensation and professional development costs for critical IT staff managing the services.
Action Item 23.5: Assess IT purchasing processes and agreements to leverage scale and usage in order to bring overall consistency and savings to the university. IT licensing contracts shall be reviewed and negotiated upon initiation or renewal to ensure stewardship of university resources. When appropriate, agreements should also include the ability for the CWRU community to purchase for personal use.