Propsed Information Technology
Strategic Plan
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Chapter III: General IT Management

III. General IT Management

A. Overview

A.1. Definition

This section addresses the management and governance changes that must be undertaken at an institutional level to improve IT at UCLA. This section addresses the areas of organization, governance and funding to:

  • Ensure leadership and direction;
  • Enable sound IT decision-making;
  • Ensure the appropriate level of planning;
  • Provide direction for IT staff in central and local units; and
  • Support IT with appropriate funding approaches.

A.2. Current Management Structure

The IT management environment at UCLA has the following characteristics:

  • Certain central IT services report on an interim basis to the Associate Administrative Vice Chancellor (i.e., Office of Academic Computing - OAC, Administrative Information Systems - AIS, Campus Telecommunications and Network Services - CTNS), while other units report to the Library (i.e., Office of Instructional Development - OID) or the Student Affairs Office (e.g., Office of Residential Life - ORL).
  • Planning, acquiring, using and managing school and college based IT assets and IT staff is within the province of departments, divisions, schools and The College. This is consistent with UCLA's decentralized management structure.
  • Recently, the Executive Vice Chancellor established an Academic Information Technology Board (AITB) to oversee academic computing. The AITB is expected to be the successor to the Instruction and Research Computing Committee (IRCC) that was established in 1993.
  • The budget for IT is divided into central budgets that are allocated from the Chancellor's budget to central IT groups and local discretionary IT budgets.

B. Key Issues and Recommendations - Organization of IT Resources

B.1. Issues - Organization of IT Resources

The current structure of IT support, that has central units serving institutional and infrastructure needs and local units directly meeting day-to-day user needs, is the most effective and culturally compatible way to structure IT in an organization as large and decentralized as UCLA. However, there are many significant opportunities to improve the value, productivity and effectiveness of institutional IT support.

  • B.1.A. UCLA lacks a senior representative with responsibility for IT who can help ensure that the institution has a coherent and effective IT strategy. The Chancellor and Executive Vice Chancellor do not have amongst them a peer who is responsible for key IT issues and who is responsible for advising the institutional leadership on how to manage and develop IT capabilities that provide academic, competitive and financial benefits to the University.

    B.1.B. The central IT units (i.e., AIS, CTNS, OAC) lack missions that are broadly accepted by the UCLA community, defined customer sets and well-defined accountability measures. The effect of these ambiguities is internal conflict, a wide variety of opinions about the value and effectiveness of central IT units and an environment in which central service providers find it difficult to be successful.

    B.1.B. The current division of responsibilities between central and local computing units is unclear and sub-optimizes the cost effectiveness and productivity of IT resources. Many faculty, students and staff are confused about who to turn to for support, and there is some duplication of effort among different units. The lack of integration and coordination between central and local IT groups creates isolated "islands" of instructional and research computing efforts across the institution, negating potential synergy and coordination of similar IT efforts.

    B.1.C. The provision of IT support for academic computing (e.g., instructional support, research support, student access) is split and fragmented across many separate units reporting to different vice chancellors. This fragmentation makes it difficult to gain the benefits of fungible resources that can be reassigned depending on need (e.g., borrowing staff to support student training and setup during the early part of the quarter) and makes it difficult to achieve synergy among different aspects of academic computing (e.g., using research technologies within instructional pedagogies). In lieu of a consolidated academic computing organization, each unit must staff up to handle peak loads and requirements without the benefits of "cross-fertilization."

    B.1.D. There is no organized planning function that integrates and coordinates IT issues and projects. There is no set of strategies, operational plans and project definitions that form a coherent and cost-effective whole. The interrelationships among IT functions is becoming highly complex in university environments (e.g., the same infrastructure now supports both academic and administrative computing), and without a coordinating and integrating function that takes an institution-wide view, UCLA will continue to approach IT in a fragmented and ad hoc manner, sub-optimizing the value of IT to the academic institution. For example, administrative systems initiatives have evolved into a patchwork of widely divergent technical environments, making it difficult to reassign staff and gain economies of scale in system maintenance and operations activities.

    B.1.E. Like most organizations today, UCLA has difficulty retaining certain types of IT personnel, particularly for administrative computing, due to competitiveness in salary and career opportunities in today's economy. In addition, IT personnel often feel they are spread too thin and have too many responsibilities. Finally, there is duplication of skill in some areas (e.g., mainframe applications development) and lack of deep skill in others (e.g., client/server, web development).

  • B.2. Recommendations - Organization of IT Resources

    B.2.A. Establish IT representation at the executive level of UCLA.

    • Establish the function of Academic IT Officer with the following responsibilities:
    • Reports to the Executive Vice Chancellor;
    • Chairs the IT Planning Group to ensure integrated IT planning, policies, architectures and protocols;
    • Manages the Instruction and Research Information Technology Services (IRITS) group;
    • Represents research and instructional IT needs for faculty and students at UCLA (e.g., assisting researchers with large-scale consortium projects); and
    • Coordinates with academic units, including the Library, to ensure that plans for IT systems (e.g., digitization, student labs, IT instruction) are synchronized with overall academic IT direction.
    • Establish the function of Administrative IT Officer.
    • Reports to the Administrative Vice Chancellor;
    • Serves as Vice-Chair of the IT Planning Group;
    • Oversees Administrative IT Services (AITS) and Communication Technology Services (CTS); and
    • Represents IT needs that support UCLA's constituents for administrative computing and IT infrastructure.
    • Both the Academic IT Officer and the Administrative IT Officer should provide leadership to UCLA's executives in the following ways:
    • Work closely to ensure common and consistent approaches to IT planning, design and support;
    • Articulate and communicate UCLA's IT vision and strategy;
    • Work with Deans and Departmental Computing Managers to coordinate central and local IT needs;
    • Advise the AITB on key strategies and issues related to UCLA's deployment of IT;
    • Help develop the rationale for major IT investments;
    • Maintain knowledge of state-of-the-art IT;
    • Maintain knowledge of IT projects and direction external to UCLA;
    • Facilitate cross-disciplinary knowledge exchange; and
    • Provide strong advocacy for IT.

    In developing this recommendation, we were faced with the question of whether UCLA should have a single IT officer responsible for academic, administrative and infrastructure technologies. This is a difficult issue to resolve, one for which reasonable arguments can be made for both a single and a divided structure.

  • A single Chief Information Officer (CIO) would provide several potential advantages to UCLA

    • Many focus group participants and interviewees expressed that IT at UCLA should be elevated to the executive level in order to capitalize on the potential opportunities new information technology brings in both driving and enabling change, and that a single CIO would provide the necessary representation.
    • A CIO would provide a single point of accountability for central IT resources, creating a clear organization, funding and governance structure for UCLA's constituents.
    • There would be potentially easier integration and coordination of initiatives that span IT functions, where issues for academic, administrative and infrastructure computing programs would be resolved with respect to one another.
    • The CIO position would be very attractive to potential nominees because of its wide span of control, possibly attracting a wider and deeper group of candidates and improving UCLA's ability to recruit for the position.

    There are also several potential disadvantages to a CIO leadership model at UCLA

    • There exists significant risk that the UCLA community will not provide a receptive environment for a position that will be construed by some to be a czar-like role, that may engage in "empire building" and that may elevate the importance of central authority at the expense of local autonomy.
    • Some large research universities have found it very difficult to identify and recruit an individual with sufficient expertise and interest in both academic and administrative computing, both of which need substantial and immediate attention at UCLA. On the academic side, the Office of Academic Computing has been without permanent leadership for a number of years. To retain staff and deliver the types of services desired by the academic community will require significant management attention and restructuring of the Office. On the administrative side, UCLA is required by the Board of Regents and the Office of the President to put in place a stronger internal controls structure and corresponding set of new financial management and control systems. To be successful in these areas, UCLA needs focused senior management attention that ensures institutional commitment to both objectives. A single CIO may dilute the institution's ability to make substantial progress in both academic and administrative domains.
    • Many universities and corporations are experiencing a high degree of turnover with their CIO position. UCLA may increase the probability of successful IT management by employing a structure that separates responsibility for academic technology from administrative systems. That structure will allow recruiting senior-level talent in each area and increase the probabilities for success in each domain of IT.

    In summary, the structure of organizing academic IT separately from administrative and communications IT may appear to contain unnecessary fragmentation in central IT resources. While some believe that UCLA needs a CIO position to oversee all central IT resources, we conclude that the potential to implement a successful single IT leadership model is low in the current UCLA environment, and that a divided but coordinated structure would be more effective in the short and intermediate term. There are several examples of universities utilizing a dual structure of academic and administrative IT leadership, including Boston University, Columbia University and the University of Southern California.

    The proposed IT organization and governance chart below represents a shared governance and coordination IT model that best represents the current culture at UCLA.

    Proposed IT Organization and Governance Structure

    Roles and Responsibilities Matrix

    Title

    Executive Vice Chancellor

    Administrative Vice Chancellor

    Academic Information Technology Board (AITB)

    Academic IT Officer

    Administrative IT Officer

    Information Technology Planning Group (ITPG)

    Advisory Committees

    Governance -Maintain executive responsibility for academic computing

    -Maintain executive responsibility for AITS and CTS

    -Determine priorities for administrative IT strategy

    -Review performance of central admin. IT units

     

    -Primary governance body for academic IT

    -Determine priorities for academic IT strategy

    -Review performance of central academic IT units

         

    -Provide executive level oversight of major institutional system initiatives

    Organization

    -Establish and fill executive IT positions

    -Organize and charge the AITB

    -Represent business process owner and central administration staff

    -Establish and fill executive IT Positions

    -Organize and charge IT Advisory Committees

     

    -Represent faculty and academic administrators

    -Direct the activities of IRITS

    -Serve as Chair of the ITPG

    -Represent research and instructional IT needs for faculty and students

    -Organize and staff IT Planning Group

    -Restructure OAC into IRITS

    -Define and plan implement-ation of IRITS service objectives

    -Define and plan implement-ation of two tier support structure

    -Direct the activities of AITS and CTS

    -Serve as Vice-Chair of the ITPG

    -Represent constituent needs for administrative computing and IT infrastructure

    -Organize and staff IT Planning Group

    -Define and plan implement-ation of CTS product and service objectives

    -Define and plan implement-ation of AITS service objectives

    -Provide coordinating functions between Academic and Administrative IT

     

    Funding

     

     

    -Oversee development and deployment of administrative IT resources

    -Make admin. IT budget recommendations

    -Oversee development and deployment of academic IT resources

    -Make academic IT budget recommendations

     

     

    -Help develop rationale for major IT investments

    -Develop and maintain a standard technology operating and financial model to guide units and schools

    -Serve as sounding board for institutional IT resource allocation

    Institutional Planning/ Coordination

     

    -Advise the EVC on administrative IT initiatives

    -Provide input to AITB on impact of academic decisions on central administrative IT

    -Develop plan for improved financial systems and processes

    -Develop a plan for improved management reporting

    -Advise EVC on academic IT initiatives

    -Act as a review body for administrative IT budget and project plans (via ITPG)

    -Inform UCLA executives on academic computing issues

    -Provide faculty input and perspective to Administrative Vice Chancellor for administrative IT decisions

    -Work closely with the Administrative IT Officer to ensure common and consistent approaches to IT planning, design and support

    -Coordinate central and local IT needs with Deans and Departmental Computing Managers

    -Coordinate with the Library to ensure that plans for Library systems are synchronized with overall academic IT direction

    -Work closely with the Academic IT Officer to ensure common and consistent approaches to IT planning, design and support

    -Coordinate central and local IT needs with Deans, Central Administ-rators, Departmental Computing Managers and their respective staffs

    -Provide budgeting, planning and integration for academic, administrative and infrastructure computing

    -Assist IT units with implementing IT management practices

    -Facilitate cross-disciplinary knowledge exchange

    -Provide cross-functional issues management

    -Consult on long-range vision for computing in the specific central unit (i.e., AITS, CTS, ITPG and IRITS)

    -Review and comment on annual central unit objectives

    -Ensure existence of a 3-5 year computing plan for central units

    -Recommend priorities among competing projects

    -Serve as communication conduit between the central unit and schools, The College and departments

    Technology

     

    -Endorse and communicate common IT standards and guidelines using the ITPG

    -Articulate and communicate UCLA's IT vision and strategy

    -Develop plan for full student access to computing resources

    -Develop a plan for common remote access capability using BOL

    -Refine and move forward on the UCLA Connected Project

    -Maintain a standard technology operating model in conjunction with other central IT units

    -Develop IT architecture and standards

    -Approve institutional standard technology architectures

    -Approve guidelines and policies for interoperability of local desktops and networks

    -Advise AITB on key strategies related to deployment of IT

     

    B.2.B. Undertake a program of organizational refocusing to improve central IT management at UCLA. This program should preserve the existing strengths of IT units at UCLA and improve upon them by more clearly aligning services and capabilities with user needs ensuring that each individual and group work together effectively.

    • Consolidate central instruction and research computing into one group, Instruction and Research Information Technology Services (IRITS). This unit should consist of the existing OAC organization and OID computing functions focused around information technology (e.g., managing classroom IT, assistance with virtual office hours, developing media presentations) to effectively integrate responses to the IT needs of faculty, students and staff. IRITS should be the major central IT unit responsible for instructional and research computing. The recommended responsibilities of IRITS are provided in detail within the respective sections of Instructional Computing and Research Computing. Non-IT related services provided by OID (e.g., community-based learning, teaching consultation, teaching assistant training) should not be within the scope of IRITS, and IRITS should work in support of OID's academic objectives.
    • Restructure AIS into a new unit called Administrative IT Services (AITS) that provides technological resources and support services to business process owners (e.g., central administrative unit directors) to ensure effective institution-wide administrative systems for all users.
      • This unit should design and deliver administrative system functionality only as requested and guided by the business process owners.
      • Business process owners should be responsible for working with AITS to understand user requirements for administrative systems and data and for technological support of major systems.
      • AITS should be responsible for the technical design of the institution-wide administrative systems to ensure technical feasibility and sound technical operations.
      • It is critical that the central administrative units and AITS work together to avoid duplication of staff and resources and to ensure integration, interoperability and consistency of institution-wide systems.
    • Enhance the role of CTNS to become Communication Technology Services (CTS), responsible for providing deep infrastructure services to the UCLA community, including institution-wide network installation and operation, network services such as email, internet access, Bruin OnLine, security and authentication and telephone systems support.

    B.2.C. Create an Information Technology Planning Group (ITPG) to support the coordination and planning of administrative and academic IT at UCLA.

    • ITPG should provide the budgeting, planning and integration processes required to manage the complexity of central IT services.
    • ITPG should act as staff to the Chair of the AITB (see Recommendation C.2.A. within this section).
    • The responsibilities of the ITPG should include:
    • Budgetary analysis of administrative, instructional, research and infrastructure computing in conjunction with the Office of Academic Planning and Budget;
    • Academic, administrative and infrastructure technology planning and integration;
    • Design and maintenance of institutional standard technology architectures;
    • Cross-functional issues management;
    • Cross-training, career pathing and professional development opportunities and guidelines for local and central IT units;
    • Development of guidelines and policies for interoperability of local desktops and networks;
    • Administrative, academic and infrastructure project-tracking;
    • Coordination of activities between academic, administrative and infrastructure IT services;
    • Coordination with IRITS and CTS to implement and maintain the establishment of email addresses for UCLA's entering students;
    • Reviewing and refining roles, responsibilities and guidelines for Tier One and Tier Two support (as defined in Recommendation B.2.D of this section); and
    • Establishing vendor strategies that coordinate the multitude of IT-related contractors working with central and local units across UCLA.
    • ITPG staff should include individuals with experience in financial planning, technology strategy, technology architecture and higher education;
    • The ITPG should be comprised of the following:
    • Academic IT Officer, Chair;
    • Administrative IT Officer, Vice-Chair;
    • Full-time Director and 1-2 Staff Analysts; and
    • Additional staff support as assigned by the Chair and Vice-Chair.
    • In conjunction with the central IT units, the ITPG should develop and maintain a standard technology operating and financial model that serves as a guide for administrative units and the schools and college making substantial IT investments. The AITB should review and affirm the model and propose its adoption by the Chancellor. This operating model should address the following issues:
    • Interoperability standards;
    • Minimum desktop and network configuration standards;
    • Generally accepted financial models and budgets for IT projects;
    • Return On Investment (ROI) templates; and
    • IT upgrade and renewal strategies.
    • The ITPG should coordinate participation in the planning process from across the institution, organizing the following groups as necessary:
    • Managers of Central IT units;
    • Library representatives;
    • CIOs for the Medical Center and The College of Letters and Sciences; and
    • Representatives from the professional schools.
    • The ITPG should assist the central units, schools, college and departments in implementing proven management practices with regard to IT asset and human resource management. These high-leverage activities may include assistance with:
    • Desktop recycling and renewal planning;
    • IT resource needs analysis and assistance with recruiting of IT professionals; and
    • Creating standard evaluative mechanisms for IT personnel.

    B.2.D. Formally define the relationships between local and central IT units to improve clarity and create the highest value and leverage possible from central IT units. This can be accomplished by establishing and adhering to a basic framework and set of principles for a two-tier IT service delivery structure as depicted in the following diagram.

    Two Tier Support Structure

    The two-tier support structure and framework should include the following key components:

    • Faculty, students and staff should have one person/unit, residing locally, who they can turn to for IT support and requests. Faculty, students and staff should not have to turn to the current complex structure of multiple support units across different applications.
    • Support personnel in the schools, college and departments must have an explicit job responsibility to assist faculty, students and staff with IT issues, with corresponding training and support available from central IT.
    • Tier one support includes customer support of networked and standalone desktop computers, support for local academic or administrative systems, support for LANs and assistance with, discipline-specific technologies.
    • The appropriate central resources are identified and secured only when local IT staff require assistance; the central group acts as a backup and support to the local IT support units.
    • Central IT units provide a second tier of support that is a comprehensive and ongoing training and support program for local computing staff. For example, this may include developing training materials and instructional tools that local IT staff deploy to their departments as required.
    • Tier two support is provided to help local staffs with IT issues not typically encountered or that require additional deep technical expertise.
    • Central IT resources provide a repository of information about local projects, available systems, new technologies or experiments, etc. Central IT shares information through a variety of media (e.g., worldwide web, listservs, newsletters) across local IT units to transfer knowledge across disciplines.
    • Central IT units should leverage their expertise and develop a structured program to assist academic and administrative managers in recruiting and evaluating local computing staffs.
    • The AITB, based upon staff work of the ITPG, should provide the schools, college and departments with clear planning and budgeting guidelines on resource requirements necessary to meet and maintain effective local computing support.

    Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania and other large research universities are establishing similar models that include information resource specialists working within academic departments to provide IT support as well as collaborating centrally to stay current on technologies, provide guidance on institution-wide standards and provide links to UCLA's information resources.

    C. Key Issues and Recommendations - Governance

    C.1. Issues - Governance

    C.1.A. UCLA lacks an institution-wide governance structure that ensures IT resources and projects are aligned with important institutional objectives and subject to appropriate evaluative mechanisms. The result has been a collection of central IT resources that have been structured and guided in an ad hoc manner, meeting the needs of only a subset of the UCLA community and creating a wide disparity of local support between academic units.

    • UCLA lacks a governance structure for administrative computing. The result of this lack of oversight has been a fragmented computing environment, with many different architectures and strategies that may meet individual unit objectives, but do not create a coordinated and integrated whole. This lack of coordination is manifested as a confusing and complex set of systems for staff to navigate and an unclear sense of institutional priorities with regard to administrative systems.
    • UCLA also lacks a governance structure for IT infrastructure. Without a governance process over IT infrastructure, it is difficult to ensure interoperability of local systems with the institution-wide network and systems. Governance alone will not solve this problem, but it can help ensure that central units work jointly with school and college based representatives to develop an institutional architecture that is technologically sound and is responsive to the needs of faculty, students and staff.
    • Other central resources and facilities lack formal governance processes to ensure that they have a reasonable and justifiable faculty constituency. The perception among many is that OAC's high-end computing resources serve the needs of a few, and that the Center for Digital Innovation (CDI) has no clear mission or constituency. Lack of an effective governance process has allowed these entities to consume institutional resources without clear integration with academic or institutional objectives.

    C.2. Recommendations - Governance

    C.2.A. Implement an effective IT governance structure that provides coordination and integration of IT decision-making for central and local IT needs.

    • Establish the Academic Information Technology Board (AITB) as proposed by the Executive Vice Chancellor.
    • Represents both faculty and academic administrators as the primary governance and oversight body for academic information technology and services at UCLA.
    • Informs and advises ongoing decision-making responsibilities of UCLA's executive management and academic leadership in the area of academic computing.
    • Makes recommendations concerning academic technology-related budget requests and opportunities stemming from a variety of corporate and industrial relationships.
    • Acts as an advisory body to the Executive Vice Chancellor to review IT recommendations brought to it by various constituencies and provide direction on major academic IT issues and projects.
    • Provides formal oversight over the development and deployment of academic technology resources.
    • Periodically reviews the performance of central academic IT units against a set of open and generally accepted standards and measures.
    • Determines the direction and priorities of academic IT strategy in terms of major initiatives and investments of institutional resources.
    • Endorses and communicates institutional standards and guidelines with respect to local systems and networks to ensure a minimum level of access and interoperability among members of the UCLA community.
    • Establish Advisory Committees for AITS, CTS and IRITS similar in function to SABs (Service Advisory Boards)
    • Establish the Administrative Information Technology Services (AITS) Advisory Committee to provide input to AITS on administrative computing issues. The responsibilities of this group are outlined in detail in the Recommendations section within Administrative Computing.
    • Establish the Communication Technology Services (CTS) Advisory Committee to provide input to CTS on data, voice and video communications technology issues. The Recommendations section within the Infrastructure and Access section provides detail on the roles and responsibilities of this committee.
    • Establish the Campus IT Advisors to provide input to the IT Planning Group
    • Composed of departmental computing managers.
    • Acts as a key liaison and constituency group for the ITPG.
    • Ensures integration between central and local computing needs.
    • Establish the IRITS Advisory Committee to provide input to IRITS on instructional and research computing issues.
    • Is formed as a sub-committee of the AITB, consisting of AITB-appointed faculty.
    • Advises on long-range planning for academic computing.
    • Ensures integration between instructional and research computing needs across UCLA.
    • Acts as a sounding board for decisions impacting academic IT.

    D. Key Issues and Recommendations - Funding

    D.1. Issues - Funding

    D.1.A. Some local units do not have sufficient resources to ensure adequate IT for its faculty, students and staff.

    • The overall state of IT in many units is of significant concern. Faculty are still using old 286 machines, no LAN exists, and the available support staff is inadequate in certain academic schools and departments.
    • Local decision-makers (e.g., Deans, Administrators) have had to make difficult tradeoff decisions between IT needs and other departmental needs without benefit of guidance or a framework to help them assess the short and long term implications of their IT funding decisions.
    • Declining budgets and increasing IT costs have created a discrepancy in the ability of local schools, college and departments to adequately fund important IT needs. While the institution has made attempts to fund local academic IT needs (e.g., UCLA Connected), there still exists a gap between the current and desired states of IT at the local level.
    • Strict local funding cannot guarantee consistent, institution-wide capabilities for IT projects or ongoing needs required by local units.
    • Priorities for non-IT equipment or resources (e.g., chemicals, furniture, pianos) can appear to outweigh the need to replace obsolete hardware and software. However, there is a long term, insidious cost to not maintaining the currency of departmental IT in that it can be much more expensive to "catch up" than to continually maintain the currency and value of IT assets.

    D.1.B. UCLA does not systematically prioritize funding for IT projects.

    • There is no formal process or structure for planning capital intensive information technology projects and determining relative IT needs across the institution.
    • While grant funding supplies much of the need for IT within research, it is insufficient in meeting the universal IT needs not only for research, but also for instruction, administration and ensuring an adequate network infrastructure.

    D.1.C. Many local units feel the chargeback fee structure for central IT units needs clarification.

    • Funding for portions of some central IT units is charged back to local units without direct correlation or explanation as to the purpose of the charge. For example, data network charges are part of the telephone bill as an undefined tax.
    • Additionally, local units believe that AIS chargebacks do not adequately reflect the nature of the charges and the systems or services they address (i.e., there is no direct correlation between a charge and its related system.

    D.1.D. There are opportunities to exploit untapped potential in revenue generation utilizing UCLA's internal IT resources and capabilities. Digitization of the film archives, electronic publication of unique special collections material (e.g., Los Angeles Times photo morgue) and content provided through Bruin OnLine are a few examples of the resources that could offer revenue potential for UCLA.

    • UCLA should investigate the costs and benefits of the required capital outlays for each potential revenue-generating digitization project to determine its economic value in the immediate and long-term.

    D.2. Recommendations - Funding

    D.2.A. Establish a new overall funding process that ensures a rigorous and systematic planning approach for funding major IT projects.

    • Large scale campus IT initiatives should be subjected to a rigorous planning and prioritization process.
    • Project sponsors should prepare an initial feasibility analysis, that includes clear statements regarding:
    • Project objectives and business case
    • Estimated costs and benefits
    • Potential number of users impacted
    • Identification of project owner/sponsor
    • Initial strategy for project phasing
    • Assessment of technical feasibility
    • Projects that are competing for significant capital resources (i.e., network upgrades, new administrative systems, desktop upgrades, IT enabled classrooms, etc.) should be compared and ranked according to clear and well communicated criteria by the appropriate advisory and management committees.
    • For projects that are deemed most critical, the Office of Academic Planning and Budget and the Capital Programs Office should identify potential sources of capital and create a multi-year plan for matching sources and uses of funds for IT projects.
    • This type of planning process shares some characteristics with capital planning processes used by many universities to develop multi-year construction and renovation plans for University facilities.
    • Examples of criteria that the Chancellor and the governance and advisory committees should consider using when prioritizing institutional IT investments include:
    • How closely aligned the project is to UCLA's institutional strategic objectives. For example, proposed projects could be evaluated in light of whether they help accomplish one of the Chancellor's key objectives of fostering interdisciplinary collaborations.
    • How necessary the project is to respond to the needs and expectations of the UC Board of Regents, the California state government, and the public.
    • How broad the project impact is across the UCLA community.
    • Whether there is a project Return on Investment (ROI) that helps justify the project in financial terms.
    • Whether the project is feasible, technologically sound and has high or low risk.
    • The ultimate impact of the project on the quality of teaching and research.
    • UCLA should provide institutional funding to help schools maintain a level of minimum technical standards and to address the unmet IT project needs at the school and college level. Without institutional support, there are few practical alternatives for upgrading the IT resources and providing necessary IT support in many academic units. These criteria described above should be applied at the institutional level for campus-wide IT projects. In addition, UCLA needs clear criteria for providing academic units with additional resources for IT. These "local assistance" criteria could include:
    • The degree of IT renewal required in the local unit.
    • The ability of the local unit to implement and manage additional IT resources.
    • The consistency between the local unit request for IT resources and the local unit academic plan and strategy.
    • The virtue of enhanced IT in maintaining academic quality and equity of access.
    • The potential for additional IT resources to be leveraged for future growth and/or matching potential from other sources.
    • Funding recommendations from the Instructional and Research Computing Committee report dated January 1996 should be revisited for relevance and potential implementation within the scope of the recommendations within this report. These include addressing the following components:
    • Establishing funding mechanisms that support innovation and entrepreneurship.
    • Providing a separately allocated pool of resources to support entrepreneurial instructional and research computing activities.
    • Making available on a regular basis matching funds to support local computer initiatives.

    D.2.B. Evaluate IT-enabled opportunities for revenue-generating opportunities.

    • Capitalize on new information technologies that allow UCLA to become a "content broker."
    • Extend outreach to aggressively seek partners in using IT to market UCLA's content.
    • Determine feasibility and potential benefits of using UCLA's IT-enabled resources (e.g., research publication database, digitized film archives) to coordinate with industry and provide new revenue streams to the University.
    • Consider factors that may be barriers to UCLA's efforts in this area, such as complicated intellectual property issues, start up costs and market competitiveness.

    D.2.C. Revise the structure for obtaining funding for central IT services

    • Provide a minimal level of funding for baseline services that extend across UCLA to all constituents (e.g., network connectivity, baseline central IT support, infrastructure).
    • Fund additional layers of discretionary services (e.g., increased network bandwidth, deep consulting expertise) through user fees based on usage.
    • Network services must be clearly demarcated and outlined based on usage. Telephone bills should provide a detailed listing of which services are being provided and how much each service costs.
    • Fees for administrative systems that are charged back to user departments should be more clearly outlined and identified as belonging to specific spending "buckets."

    D.2.D. Implement guidelines and policies for local funding of IT that help the schools, college and departments understand the implications of their local IT funding decisions.

    • Consider recommending a minimum level of spending on IT resources for baseline technical needs, equipment renewal and technical support for IT projects.
    • Establish a model that defines options and tradeoffs related to funding sources (e.g., extramural, vendor partnerships, institutional grants).
    • Define cost metrics for baseline technology guidelines (e.g., desktop computers, classroom audio/visual equipment, student lab equipment) that help local units integrate IT needs into short and long term financial projections.
    • Coordinate through ITPG and the schools, college and departments a detailed analysis on funding of current and future IT needs as well as funding of migration paths for new technology. An example migration path might be choosing to replace current 286 computers with Pentium processor machines while waiting for multimedia chip technology to mature over a three year time period. Units need to understand the financial implications of these types of strategies.

    E. Benefits

    The following benefits should be achieved through the recommendations in this section on organization, governance and funding.

    • Provides appropriate IT leadership that allows both academic and administrative computing interests to receive full and adequate attention to meet the multiplicity of needs at UCLA.
    • Establishes a clear vehicle for injecting meaningful faculty and academic administrator input into the use of institutional resources and setting of IT priorities.
    • Reduces the potential for UCLA to consist of "islands of technology" that miss opportunities for interdepartmental and institutional synergy.
    • Allows central units to focus on high value institution-wide services that enable local computing support staff to serve their constituents, make the IT support function easier and clearer for end-users to navigate and create an effective and productive network of IT support across the institution.
    • Provides guidance and support to central, school, college and departmental units that help ensure effective planning and budgeting for IT projects.
    • Allows greater flexibility of reassigning IT resources to tasks outside narrowly defined functions to enable synergy between instructional, research and student computing that is difficult to realize today.
    • Provides resources for objective assessment of IT proposals and strategies.
    • Ensures appropriate funding mechanisms to elevate the level of technical competence and resources at UCLA.

    Propsed Information Technology
    Strategic Plan
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