From the CIO

From the CIO

Kelly Block serves as Interim Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the University of Illinois System.

For more information about Kelly, visit About the CIO.



Recent Posts

(Reprinted in part with permission of CIOReview.com)

We expanded our GPPMO to include other components: business process improvement, records and information management, and customer relationship management. This lets us help our constituents analyze their processes before they decide they need to start a project. The records office helps constituents interpret federal, state and university policy, making it easier for individuals to store, manage, and dispose of the records generated during the course of business. Finally, the CRM office helps coordinate our social media, annual reports, and participation in events and meetings so that every member of the IT department has the ability to work with our customers.

How well have we done? To date, our ROI is three to one, meaning that for every dollar spent on a project, we create three dollars in efficiency over a five-year period. There have been 513 projects reviewed, 445 approved, 65 rejected or withdrawn, 395 completed, and 53 in progress. The demand for our projects has increased 53 percent over the last five years, and there are about 87,000 hours of approved work in the pipeline.

In the area of process improvement, we have made 84 recommendations with a potential savings of $8.1M and 7,800 hours annually and have directly engaged with 75 units on their own projects. We have trained over 800 people in lean and six sigma methodologies, partnered to create college based BPI programs, engage shared service participants across the university, and mediate between groups to make forward progress.

Even though we have a successful process, we are continually reviewing IT governance so it aligns with the campus strategic plans and business needs. We made several changes to our process over time, including realigning project selection to strategic plans, improving communication outside of the process by adding a CRM group, delegating decision making for “small” projects to make the process more lightweight, and creating a cross-functional prioritization committee at a lower level in the organization because we found that the higher level employees did not have enough time to learn about the nuances of the each project to effectively prioritize them.

There are many ways to set up an IT governance and project management framework. In our case, we maximize efficiency with a single GPPMO that guides the governance process, creates standards and requirements, manages our portfolio of work, reports on performance, focuses on integrated planning with IT and the customers, retains the capacity for large projects, and provides professional development opportunities for IT professionals throughout the university.

Are there any other campus IT projects that would benefit from collaboration with GPPMO? I’d love to hear your ideas.

Posted by Wendy Bertram  On Jun 09, 2016 at 9:15 AM
  

(Reprinted in part with permission of CIOReview.com)

In a central IT department, someone has to build the strategic plan, manage the prioritization process, start and finish projects, and ensure that the customers get what they need. In many large IT organizations, the governance, project management, business process improvement, and customer relationship management are performed by separate groups. At the University of Illinois System IT office, we prefer an end-to-end approach where the same department guides all of these functions.

In our system-level IT organization, there are about 220 employees that improve and maintain the enterprise IT services used for transactional business processing, data warehousing and analytics, process improvement, and records management. The University of Illinois is a system of three campuses in Springfield, Chicago and Urbana-Champaign that serves about 79,000 students with about 25,000 employees. The university is highly decentralized, and there are centralized IT services, shared IT services, and local IT services throughout. In total, there are over 100,000 customers (not counting the 700,000 living alumni) and over 100 different IT groups at the university. Providing effective IT governance and planning in this environment is challenging.

IT governance defines the processes, components, structures, and participants for making decisions regarding the use of IT. It collects ideas, reviews and selects, and prioritizes resources in the most strategic manner possible. IT governance promotes transparency, strategic alignment of the university and IT, resource allocation, performance management, collaboration, standards and policy, and it encourages constituents to participate actively in the process.

As Gartner and EDUCAUSE suggest, IT governance should be only as complex as needed. In a small organization, one committee can handle the strategic and operational prioritization. In a larger organization, an executive committee or steering committees might be needed. Depending on what needs to be governed, committees can be focused on constituent types, like faculty members or students, or focused on functions like research or enterprise architecture.

In Part II of this discussion, I’ll share why we decided to move towards centralized GPPMO.

Posted by Wendy Bertram  On May 11, 2016 at 4:32 PM