University of Wisconsin–Madison

UW IT projects update

Campus IT leaders have just completed two of three tasks designed to better support the mission of the University with technology.

The first is an IT services inventory, the aim of which is to provide the basis for an ongoing services catalog, highlight where there may be similar services existing on campus today and examine how campus might gain potential efficiencies. The services catalog also helps map IT services to business services so that we can ensure our efforts support the campus mission.

The second accomplishment is completion of the second “IT spend report.” As you may recall, there was an initial report compiled for the fiscal year ended 6/30/15. That report indicated that total spending on IT-related matters was in the range of $165-$175M. There are approximately 30 different units across campus that have distinct “IT spending” and all of those participated in these reports.

The second spend report has now been compiled for the year ended 6/30/16. Not surprisingly, the total spend in that year fell in about the same range as the prior year. The team did make some improvements in the second version (such as separating capital spending from ongoing operating expense and clarifying some of the definitions used to gather the data).

These reports will continue to be used to help understand where IT services are provided, and will be part of how we understand what services are provided “where.”

The third task currently underway is to establish an IT project intake and prioritization process. Using the new IT Governance structure, the process being constructed is designed to help project owners and sponsors develop a business case and connect their proposed IT projects to campus strategic priorities.

It is expected that the analysis of the services inventory (and ultimate creation of a services catalog) will take a number of months. Our interim CIO, Mike Lehman, will be establishing a small work group to perform some of the analysis that will help transform the services inventory into a services catalog. Stay tuned for more on that as we make progress.

Similarly, it will be a number of months before a formal policy can be issued with regard to project intake and prioritization. In the meantime, work is ongoing and we do not expect people to stop and wait for these tasks to be completed.

As stated previously, one of the goals of this entire body of work is to promote collaboration among campus units and ensure that incremental investments “make good sense.” Given the direction our processes are headed, units that are considering significant IT investments (significant to their unit, in their judgment) should at a minimum discuss those with the applicable “Technology Advisory Group.” Such discussions would at least ensure that we would not attempt to design or build something that we already have on campus. Open communication and dialogue among colleagues offers the opportunities for others to share insights, best practices and the like. That communication alone will help us all!

We appreciate your engagement on these important issues, and will keep you informed as the work develops.

IT governance executive leadership