Moving IT from Service Provider to Business Partner

Moving Information Technology
from Service Provider to
Business Partner
Jill Yates and Jennifer Vandever
Southern Illinois University
• SIUE is a public master’s degree granting
university with approximately 14,000 students
• Located approximately 25 minutes from
downtown St. Louis, Missouri
• Large College of Arts & Sciences with several
professional schools (Business, Nursing,
Engineering, Dental Medicine, Pharmacy,
Southern Illinois University
• Part of a three-campus system with the other
campuses located in Carbondale and
• SIUE has large outreach program in East St.
Louis, Illinois with one of the largest Head
Start programs in the nation, among other
• In 2008, ITS formed as a result of a merger
– Academic Computing
– Office of Information Technology
– Telecommunications
• New department moved into same Vice
Chancellor line – Academic Affairs
• In the beginning, there was a lot of history
that had to be overcome
– Each group had its own history, culture, common
– Had to honor that and build new
• As the three groups merged, a common
“language” had to be developed
• In the beginning, much confusion about what
certain things meant to certain groups!
Alphabet Soup
• Each of us has our own “language” within our
specialization – sometimes we have the same
acronyms with completely different meanings!
• When we start to work together, it’s important
we remember that others do not have the
same point of reference and may not know
how to speak our “language”
Other Examples?
Developing the Organization
• After merger:
– Established leadership team and promoted
– Developed a unit within ITS to support business
– Examined and changed business processes
• CIO and each Director took ownership of
services in area and learned how unit
interacted with other parts of University
• Worked with ITS employees to let go of the
past – both internal and external issues
– Met with each ITS employee to discuss values,
fears, goals
• Focused on the future
Scanning the Internal Environment
• Building the new business unit within ITS:
– Met with Business Officers to learn more about
how ITS serves them and how ITS relies on them:
• ITS as clients
• Business Officers as clients
• ITS as support for the systems that BO’s use
Building a Governance Structure
• After meeting with stakeholders and research
other governance models, developed new model
– IT Executive Committee
• Four Vice Chancellors and CIO
– IT Steering Committee
• Chairs of other governance committees
– Constituent Committees
• Faculty, Student, and Staff Senates
– Stakeholder Committees
• University Information systems, Academic Computing
Council, etc.
Moving Forward
• Utilizing governance and expanding where
• Recognizing where we may have become
complacent and “shaking things up"
• There are still struggles - from struggle we find
opportunity to improve
“We have dealt with the surface issues (easy stuff) and now
we are revealing and dealing with deeper issues (in it
Improving Service through
• Putting correct persons at "table" from
beginning of project, construction, new
system, ...
• Knowing who the correct persons are
Next Steps: Measuring Success,
Creating Leadership Culture
• Continuous improvement
– Revisit processes/systems
– Metrics
– Evaluating employees and systems