Reinventing IT Services

A Five-Year Road Map for the Function

Topics: IT Governance, Information Technology, Cost Savings, Administration and Finance, Instructional Technology

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By reading this study, members will learn:


  • Combating duplication and technology sprawl by increasing unit participation in inventory efforts. 
  • Processes progressive institutions have developed to pre-screen IT projects, thereby allowing staff to promote the reuse of existing applications.
  • Using fractional staff pools and flexible supervisory spans to reduce overall spend.
  • Creative ways to incorporate project sponsors into the prioritization process.
  • Web portals and other means to solicit suggestions from users.

Executive Summary

It is not surprising that restructuring IT has topped few CBOs’ agendas in the past. It is usually highly decentralized, reliable all-in spending data is hard to come by, and there is an inherent difficulty in understanding and aligning service expectations across different campus stakeholders. The function is also often managed by academic affairs. Nevertheless, the relationship between the CBO and IT has begun to change on many campuses, as the magnitude of pro forma operational savings, and future cost avoidance from network consolidation, cloud computing, and selective outsourcing command trustee-level attention.

This report serves as a functional audit of university IT so that members might adapt it for their own institutions to help academic leaders and CIOs quickly reach consensus about savings opportunities, project prioritization, and the timing and funding of emerging technology investments. Major topics relating to IT cost management include surveys of the most promising “quick-hit” savings, cost-avoidance strategies for smaller institutions, and IT project portfolio management. Topics relating to restructuring the function include innovative organizational and funding models, recalibrating IT staff control spans and skills mix, and forecasting emerging technologies.

The Argument for Change