This week we will talk about a few tangibles, shall we? Over the course of the past fifteen weeks, we have started our #20WkTechTransformation journey, leaned into the COVID-19 pandemic, planned our work and, inevitably, folded into our batter additional ingredients mid- beat on high. We did this with intention. This is not scope creep; rather, these are layers firmly rooted on our roadmap, layers we previously didn’t have approval for, but, by now have recognized and lived the more we work together, the more we can accomplish. By we I mean the collective we; the university we.
Nutshell: We’ve ALL learned how to be better campus partners; working and learning and improving together. We have sprinkled the journey with additional offerings that directly impact all of our users; these 20-week transformational feats are the biggies.
IT Consolidation is Complete
In week four’s entry, the physical consolidation of IT proved to be an excellent first to-do. Of course, we are predominantly remote now, but, guess what? No matter. On paper, at this moment, all campus IT members report up through the central IT office. We have identified the team’s individual interest areas, completed hand-off sessions with campus units and, with excitement, began folding in our new talent. These folks are transitioning into much-needed areas like business applications, systems management and network.
Yes, we need development investment. We will need to provide training. We also need to identify one or two more team members that are interested in pursuing new-to-them program languages and pathways to supporting integrations. We will also need to define who is sitting where when we return to a physical presence on campus. But those are details, standard tasks, things we will do.
In the ever-changing world of technology, moving forward, our team needs to be a nimble one; able to respond to morphing needs and requests. Our makeup and seating chart will flow right alongside current and evolving expectations.
In week five, basics were outlined. Since that time, such progress has been made! I am so proud of the resilience and agility of this team!
We are now in the final testing phases of our virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployment; moved the needle from 50% to 80% complete. Progressed our firewall refresh from 80% to 90%. We will be receiving a report within the next one to two weeks outlining doable recommendations for decreasing our spend and increasing savings and service. Our ERP refresh plan moved from 5% to 50% complete. Our ERP work will extend beyond the twenty weeks, but we knew this. Reminding ourselves that ERP transitions at a fast clip take a minimum of 12-18 months, we are positioned well. We will beat that timeline for certain.
Our 20-Week Differentiators
Throughout this journey it has become clear that we, in many instances, can choose to make lemonade from lemons. We can also wallow and wring our hands; but we prefer to find the positive. Here are a few examples where I can identify privilege in a litany of legacy scenarios. These are not positives; however we’re choosing to reframe certain challenges into excellent 180° opportunities.
- Legacy system debt. Choosing to look at where we are, where we need to be and how to get there led us to view our current state as a veritable greenfield. We can do this because our legacy technology is not grossly entangled in long-term agreements and recent over-investment. That is a privilege and a differentiator.
- Low expectations. Our users are often unaware of what technology can do to improve their work. Our environment is conducive to our users being able to experience dramatic improvement. We are excited for each of those transitions.
- Staring down the ERP. I recognized in a conversation this week with Educause that I’m extremely proud of the direction we are taking with our enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. We have a campus willing to take on the root issues rather than overspend on someone else fixing our root issues for us.
- Budget-constrained. Budget is an issue. Pre-COVID through now. This has required our financial leaders to delve into the underbelly of the past. They have emerged with a clarity that not only helps us continue, but requires us to deepen our commitment to prioritized, intentional spending. For an IT unit, this forces us to really weigh impact, need and sustainability at every turn. We should use this model moving forward in all fiscal times. A wonderful opportunity to reset our very selves.
One month left. Excited for every single week! Join us on this final leg of our journey!
Almost 15 weeks ago the department of Information Technology at the University of Tulsa embarked on a 20-week challenge aimed at driving not only institutional technology change, but supporting a larger effort of driving an irresistible culture of embracing change and modernization in general. Given much of what’s needed tomorrow (ok, likely ten years ago) relies on a complete overhaul of our foundational technology systems and solutions, we challenged ourselves. End of fiscal year is a big check-in point for accomplishment and remaining time to completion.
Because we can. We’ve discovered in this new-found remote environment we have the capacity for more of different.
- We know where we stand. (week 1)
- We know where we need to be. (week 2)
- We take some hits. (week 3)
- We face a significant, unexpected obstacle(s). (week 4)
- We’re making progress and celebrating every step. (week 5)
- We’re on the path and we are empowering MORE. (week 6)
- Reinforce your weak spots for complete understanding. (week 7)
- Ignore boundaries and make a difference. (week 8)
- Know your limits. Then add more. (week 9)
- Halfway there! (week 10)
- Behind and coasting (weeks 11 and 12)
- Assessments keep us moving, ahead (weeks 13-14)
- One month to go! (week 15)
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