Continuing our journey toward alignment
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford, author
Working together. What does that mean in an organization as large and diverse as ours? To me, it speaks to aligning MSU’s information technology with a mixture of centrally-supported and locally-supported technologies. It means changing the way we have historically leveraged our IT talent; recognizing the trust we’ve built with each other and building on it.
MSU IT must be supported by a combination of central and local IT organizations and infrastructure. Services ideal for central fulfillment are those that take advantage of economies of scale through bulk purchasing or support. They include technology and services that are basic and needed by everyone, providing desired features and functions for the broad MSU community. Factors that suggest services benefiting from centralized responsibility:
- Scalable solutions/economies of scale
- Services for broad usage
- Shared resources and infrastructure
- Requires consistent practices for increased security, minimized risk, and effective data stewardship.
An example of a service best suited for central deployment is the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) rolled out in February. VDI provides virtual access to specialized software through any computer without the need to purchase or run the software on local computers. Giving the MSU community access software inside a virtual machine instead of individual workstations reduces administrative and support costs and provides increased security.
Specialization at the Edge
Information technology deployed at a local level are best where flexibility of choice in technology or a service are needed as an added value for a specific department, unit, or college. The specialized technologies and services that propel a particular competitive advantage are ideal for local resources and include enhanced or state-of-the art technology. Factors suggesting local responsibility include:
- Flexibility of choice
- Specialized technology or service
- Local need
- Facilitation of innovation
An example of a technology deployed by a local department is the new app for iPads rolled out by MSU Infrastructure, Planning and Facilities (IPF), to improve efficiency in landscape services. Experimentation with new technologies and services is best undertaken when the value proposition locally is high, but modest for all of MSU and when the level of risk may be reasonably borne locally.
Strong centralized services enable local resources to innovate and explore new technologies.
A shared responsibility
Over the past 18 months, we have strengthened the bonds within MSU IT and the greater MSU community in ways that allow us to move forward together. By focusing on alignment, we will continue to build on these successes.
By creating a solid network of trust across Michigan State University, we can focus the energies of the talented, dedicated MSU IT employees on innovation. Innovation comes from aligning and focusing our activities on goals that will streamline the maintenance and life-cycle of foundational technology. This alignment will free up our MSU IT talent to focus on developing new technologies, new tools, and new strategies for success.
Now, let’s continue to build trust within, and across, our teams and with our MSU partners as we align our talents to strengthen all of our IT environments. Our success won’t be measured by the achievements of one or two individuals or units, but by our collective ability to sustain the university’s strategies and objectives.
Our success, as one MSU IT, will be measured by the way we work together to give MSU the tools and services they need for an extraordinary Spartan Experience.
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