To ensure the right solutions are put in place, leaders and IT professionals from Adelbert and every UGEN department, School and College are being asked to assist in this process.

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Following a comprehensive, security audit performed by Deloitte Consulting, the leadership of Case Western Reserve University was made aware of an increasing number of cyber security incidents and threats. These threats are growing at an alarming rate in frequency and technical sophistication. 

In early January 2016, the University’s executive leadership determined the best way to strengthen cyber security and enhance service is to reduce complexity of the IT organizations, achieved through the centralization of information technology, which had previously been distributed throughout the University’s schools, college and management centers. This organizational change will also remove barriers that have inhibited our ability to address risks of continuity of operations, identified by the Deloitte review, by ensuring business continuity and disaster recovery planning are improved for all IT at the university. The centralization effort will enable delivery of a consistent “IT experience” across the enterprise, and will optimize the University’s investments in information technology by addressing inherent redundancies created by duplication of commodity services.

‌As a result of this initiative the university will be able to leverage knowledge about individual systems, structures and needs to increase its ability to identify and act upon cyber security vulnerabilities. The university also will be able to implement timely upgrades and patches in a more efficient and comprehensive manner, and quickly add newly released tools and software that can more effectively protect technology and ensure business continuity.

‌IT professionals from across the University community will have greater access to the most current information and professional development opportunities; they will have increased opportunities to interact with colleagues and potential mentors engaged in similar and/or related IT fields; and they will have increased possibilities for career advancement within the university.

Industry experts increasingly predict that higher education will become a more prominent target for hackers. Each step that we can take together as a University will reduce these chances. In addition to reducing the human and technological silos that increase our vulnerability, we fully expect that this new concentration of expertise and great emphasis on strategic enhancements will strengthen our ability to meet everyone’s technology needs more effectively.

The unification of information technology across a modern research university will require a complex series of changes. Any change creates uncertainty and, on occasion anxiety. The goal in any large, complex change is to alleviate the emotional anxiety it causes and focus that energy towards the realization of potential brought on by new opportunities.

John Van Maanen is a Professor of Management and Professor of Organizational Studies at MIT Sloan School of Management. His Three Lenses on Organizational Change will be leveraged to provide a framework for the strategic design, sensitivity to political interests and respect for the cultural traditions of Case Western Reserve University.


Strategic Design

Political Interests

Cultural Traditions



Organizations are machines; action comes through planning

Organizations are contests; action comes through power

Organizations are institutions; action comes through habit.



Formal structure, systems

Power and Influence, social networks, interests

Identity, traditions, shared mental maps



Grouping, linking, aligning

Relationships conflict, negotiation

Meaning and setting norms

View of


Opportunities and threats


Social and Cultural

Role of Leader

Organizational “architect,” strategist

Building coalitions, leveraging interests, negotiating

Articulating vision, build and manage culture

Stimuli for


Lack of internal integration, lack of ‘fit’

Shifts in coalition, in power

Challenges to assumptions

Barriers to


Inadequate analysis "Entrenched interests" Dominant culture

Moving from a culture of “us vs them” to “we”

It is imperative that all IT professionals participate in an inclusive and collaborative approach to designing the new normal for information technology. Each school, college and management center has a unique set of needs for IT support.  The IT leadership representing each of these areas must be included in the design of the new organization in order to insure unique and specialized need are met.

A New Destination

The current perception amongst the distributed IT professionals across the campus is the they are becoming part of Information University Technology, [U]Tech.  In order for the centralization initiative to be successful, it is essential that the current UTech organization and distributed IT organizations move together to a new future state. A new organization with a new mission, vision and values that blends the best characteristics of IT service and support from across CWRU must be established.

Honoring the Culture and Structure of CWRU

New approaches to organizational design for IT services must reflect the distributed nature of Case Western Reserve University.  Each school, college and management center has very specific and specialized needs for IT support.  The new organizational design must pay close attention to the distributed structure of CWRU and deploy IT staff and services that are positioned to meet these unique needs.

‌Learning the Landscape

  • Developing support, building relationships
  • Discovering the interests, issues and strengths
  • Seeking advice, gathering input, use of surveys or focus groups
  • Playing into the informal organization, observing the networks 

Building Awareness and Support 

  • Sharing information about the purpose and process
  • Providing working sessions or skill-building opportunities
  • Enrolling early adopters  

Engaging People in the Change Process 

  • Chartering small groups to take on tasks
  • Creating a structure and process so people can contribute
  • Initiate pilot test to collect data, to document progress, and to refine the approach 

Using Power and Influence to Further Build Support 

  • Shows of support, comments, direction
  • Building on networks to solicit support
  • Lining up key stakeholders
  • Senior staff meeting, presentations 

Incorporation of Changes 

  • Initiate new practices
  • Undertake new processes
  • Highlight supportive actions
  • Create incentives where appropriate 

Demonstrating and Documenting Results 

  • Cite evidence of progress; use this to win over others

A classic strategic planning framework will be utilized to determine the future of information technology at Case Western Reserve University. Elements of that framework include an articulation of the desired future state (where we want to be), and assessment of current state (where are we now?) and gap analysis to determine how best to move from current state to future state. 

Future State - Goals

  • Reduce and effectively manage the risk profile of Case Western Reserve University
  • Ensure business continuity and disaster recovery readiness by leveraging best-practices across the university
  • Improve the “IT experience” across all areas of the University
  • Optimize the University’s investment in information technology 

Vision (proposed) 

  • To become the preeminent IT organization supporting the mission of a world-class, modern research university.

Current State - SWOT Analysis - SWOT PDF

SWOT Analysis was utilized during a February 10, 2016 Open Forum, that included 190 IT professionals from across Case Western Reserve University and again during a February 22, 2016 IT Leadership Summit, that included nearly 40 of the IT and Financial leaders from across the University. A SWOT analysis examined Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of the university’s existing approach to IT. Engaging campus stakeholders was determined to be a critical strategy in identifying the current state of IT.


  • IT knowledgeable staff/involved in all levels of the organization
  • Inclusive IT leadership
  • Speed of solutions
  • Strong relationships among CTOs
  • Commitment to departments and schools/college


  • Lack of resources
  • Lack of broad compliance with basic security standards
  • Lack of endpoint strategy
  • Reduced service
  • Lack of standardization in areas that would benefit from standards


  • Standardization
  • Development of new identity for the organization
  • Ability to determine staff responsibilities and skills
  • More knowledgeable staff
  • Centralized storage strategy


  • Potential loss of IT specialized knowledge
  • Loss of personalized service
  • Loss of quick adoption
  • Inability to let go of negative history/not willing to embrace something new