November 29, 2010, 4:55 PM — Who: Gerry McCartney, CIO and VP of IT, Purdue University
What: A strategy to break IT out of function-based silos and to encourage the use of common services
Why: Less than half of Purdue University's almost 1,000-person IT organization was controlled centrally--250 were split off into an administrative IT group, and another 300 were spread across campus in 34 academic IT organizations. This resulted in fractured offerings, and McCartney and his leadership team proposed that a single organization with an integrated governance model would eliminate duplication. They anticipate this new strategy will save the university at least $5 million in FY11, $10 million the next year, and $15 million per year after that.
How: The foundation for the changes is the process developed and overseen by a new strategic governance committee. This committee is made up of representatives from the academic departments, the administrative offices, faculty and students, along with IT. It sits above the operational oversight committee with a single view into the campus IT enterprise. This ensures that the needs of specific groups are integrated into the plan for the university as a whole. The operational oversight committee also considers whether needs could be served by "common good" services. The committee catalogs all of these central, shared services, encourages participation in them and measures their impact. It is also developing best practices for creating new common-good services, such as the university's Hotseat collaboration platform, which gives students the ability to use smartphones with Twitter, Facebook and SMS for real-time feedback and interaction in their lecture classes.
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