IT Organizational Models and Chief Information Officers at Research Universities

Topics: Information Technology, Organizational Structures

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Information technology departments at universities are called to adapt to changing expectations, new technologies, and new obligations for the CIO and senior leadership.

This report examines how institutions organize and structure information technology departments to address these new challenges.

  • Key observations from our research

    1. Despite increases in technology demands at high-research universities, institutions maintain top-down IT organizational structures that organize staff into units based on skill sets, rather than projects or responsibilities.
    2. Most CIOs report to the university president directly; other CIOs report to provosts or chief financial officers.
    3. Unit and group organization varies widely across institutions, but there are 10 units common at contact institutions.
    4. Contacts predict that IT organizations will retire most legacy systems and adopt new processes for partnering with external vendors and service providers across the next few years, which will require flexible staffing and adaptable organizational models.