Are we there yet?
If you have ever been on a long car ride with other people, I am sure you have heard the question asked: “Are we there yet?” It seems this question is not exclusive to road trips. I also hear it frequently asked in the office, about strategies and recently the IT transformation we began in 2015. In my last blog, I shared how far we have come in strengthening the core technologies of MSU’s centrally provided services. As people hear we have accomplished much of what we set out to do 18 months ago, it is easy to assume that we are nearing a destination…that we are almost “there.”
The reality is we will never really get to one IT destination since, quite frankly, the target is always moving. The demand for technology-enabled services continues to grow to suit new business goals, address the ever-changing dynamics of higher education, and evolving consumer preferences. This is great news for us, our work is never done and we will always have new opportunities on the horizon.
Have we made significant progress on one of the three strategies we set out to do as part of the Bolder IT strategy? Absolutely. We are stronger. Is there more to be done? Yes. There is always more. The question is, and will likely always be, “What’s next?” The next step for IT at MSU now, is alignment.
How do we align?
By concentrating all of MSU’s IT talent where it is needed most. IT professionals in local units and departments have a unique and valuable perspective to provide the raw innovation that our university needs. One recent example of the benefits realized when local IT is able to focus in a specialized area, is the technology deployed by IPF Landscape Services staff this past summer. Leveraging and combining Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and mobile technologies, their mobile workforce now has access to real-time information and task lists, the ability to upload and explore data, and build metrics and key performance indicators while in the field using iPads. (Visit the IPF website to learn more.) Maximum efficiency and effectiveness will be realized when we align all of our IT efforts in such a way that central IT is implementing and operating robust enterprise technologies, making way for local specialization, experimentation, and focus.
So are we there yet? No. Nor do I think we will ever be a tangible “there.” Why? Because a single destination in IT no longer exists. Aligning our IT portfolio requires regular and ongoing attention given the dramatic pace that IT solutions and needs change. So let’s buckle-up and enjoy the journey together.
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