CIO Priorities

This page outlines the information technology (IT) strategies and initiatives for the Office of the Chief Information Officer at the University of Illinois System. The goals in this effort were developed to support the guiding principles of saving time, improving communication and transparency for IT services, fostering ease of use, improving data and analytical capabilities, collaborating throughout the System, and supporting IT governance and planning. Many of the goals rely on collaboration with units throughout the U of I System. Project plans have not been developed to meet most of the goals, and this effort provides a means collaboratively develop specific initiatives, associated metrics, and ongoing modifications to the goals and objectives.

Guiding Principles

An IT strategic plan should have guiding principles or themes. These themes are pervasive throughout the IT strategic plan, and the individual objectives and initiatives are viewed through one or many of these themes. Throughout the planning process to develop this plan, a number of recurring themes emerged based on conversations with individuals and stakeholder groups.

Guiding Principles include:

  • Save Time
  • Speed to Service
  • Improve Communication and Transparency for IT Services
  • Ease of Use
  • Improved Data and Analytical Capabilities
  • Collaboration
  • IT Governance

Save Time

One of the foremost goals of employing information technology resources is to save time for our users. When IT services allow people to perform tasks and processes more efficiently, it preserves their time to dedicate to other valuable tasks. At the U of I System,  this means that students have more time to study and participate in student life activities. Faculty have more time to teach and perform research. Staff can better support faculty and students when IT helps improve efficiency.

Preserving our time through IT services takes many forms. Systems are implemented to reduce administrative overhead, and everyone should be able to efficiently access the services available with minimal searching and with a single electronic identity. It should be easier to interact with information of all forms throughout the University, and creation of knowledge should be automated as possible.

Speed to Service

Besides save timing for our users, the time to deploy service needs to decrease. This multifaceted issue includes planning, purchasing, human resources, development, testing and risk assessment. Each of these components influences how long it takes to get service in the hands of those who need them. In addition to our own processes, the state and federal governments also have compliance regulations that drive the speed to deployment. We must work creatively within our given constraints with an eye toward accelerating deployment. We cannot become an agile university without changing the speed to service.

Improve Communication and Transparency for IT Services

Communication between users and information technology professionals is paramount because users define their academic and business objectives and needs and IT collaborates with appropriate IT services to facilitate meeting those objectives. IT users are informed and aware of the processes and people who provide the services they need. It must be easy to find both central and local IT help and services. IT governance processes exist to provide a representative voice for users in making major IT investments, defining IT priorities, and providing performance feedback related to current services.

Ease of Use

Customers are increasingly interested in the availability of a portfolio of basic and expanded information technology services. All of the IT services that are deployed at the U of I System are designed and maintained with an emphasis on the user’s perspective of being easy to use. When services are not easy to use, or too complex, there is a disconnect between our users and providers of information technology, which usually results dissatisfied customers.

As we build or purchase new services to meet user needs, IT ensures that these services have a number of key usability characteristics such as:

  • Familiar, consistent, and understandable terminology
  • Easy to read and navigate
  • Easy to learn and become easy to use
  • Compliant with all accessibility standards
  • Information is easy to find
  • Suitable performance and load times
  • Clear path for support

As a general rule, if services cannot meet these criteria, it may not be in our best interests to pursue them. In some instances, ensuring these criteria are met will make services more difficult or time consuming for IT units to maintain; however, the overriding concern is that it is better to constructively utilize the time of IT professionals if there is a net improvement in services for the end user and the U of I System.

Improved Data and Analytical Capabilities

Our information systems process and produce a tremendous amount of data and information on an ongoing basis. These data should provide insight into everyday transactional information, but more importantly, should enable monitoring and performance measurement of our most important strategic goals. Information technology professionals must understand and fulfill data and information needs to support student success and the success of the U of I System's regional campuses. 

This may take the form of tools that help the University of Illinois System:  

  • Identify broken or inefficient business processes
  • Measure learning outcomes and improve student success
  • Assist faculty in the research process
  • Understand the effectiveness of outreach programs
  • Measure customer satisfaction and service levels

Collaboration

Collaboration is a foundational element of the everyday lives of the student, faculty, and staff of the U of I System. All three of those groups collaborate amongst their peers and others across the System and worldwide. The methods and tools for collaboration continue to grow as digital capabilities expand constantly. Information technology provided by the university must enable collaboration, while increasing the ease and efficiency of the collaboration, and not cause more work in order for people to collaborate.

Another important area of collaboration is the partnership between IT professionals, IT governance committees and processes, and the constituents that these groups serve. Close collaboration between these groups is essential to facilitate shared decision-making, prioritization of initiatives, and the implementation of new and improved services.

IT Governance

It is vital that IT investment choices are guided by stakeholders, support academic and business strategies, and ensure mission-critical items receive the highest priority. IT governance promotes the intelligent use of resources, providing a shared, rational, and transparent framework for the selection and prioritization of IT investments. IT governance groups exist at all campuses, university administration, and at the enterprise level. These governance groups provide planning leadership for IT at the U of I System and its three universities. As representatives for the end users of IT, the governance groups must partner with constituents to describe user priorities and how IT can help them fulfill them. IT governance, in partnership with IT users and providers, should be an integral part of the planning process.

Documentation

The below is the current version of the CIO Strategic Plan:

FY13 - FY16 IT Strategic Plan