About the IST Strategic Plan

Developed in 2016, through broad campus consultation, the aim of the IST Strategic Plan, 2017-2020, was to prioritize key strategic needs ahead of the University's new strategic plan and/or updated IT strategic plan, and identify the actions that could be taken to address those needs. This work was intended to target specific areas for improvement complementary to other ongoing operational activities and other major initiatives in such areas as information systems, security, and infrastructure, where planning and implementations would carry on in parallel.

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Enable an exceptional IT environment through engagement, incubation, creativity and impact

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Enable the University's mission through exceptional teaching, learning, research and administrative environments



Together we deliver: fostering strong relationships and delivering focused, high-quality, valued, savvy services and solutions

IST Strategic Plan Closure Report

High-level findings

During the Plan's consultation phase, questions posed to IST staff and community covered topics related to strengths and weaknesses, external influences, our customers, various services or functions, and how to measure success.

Feedback revealed a great deal of consistency between IST staff and the community when it came to our strengths and weaknesses. IST’s brand is reflected in its enterprise-wide perspective, strong foundational services, availability to clients and concern and support for campus in specific areas such as security.


Specific strengths

  • improved alerts and notifications
  • networks
  • depth of expertise in areas such as project management and security 
  • classroom problem support
  • successful large system implementations


Specific concerns

  • speed and agility
  • not leveraging tools already acquired
  • visibility with licensing decisions
  • cost of some services



  • development of a cloud strategy
  • additional focus on security and privacy of data
  • more formal vendor and contract management
  • leveraging metrics
  • continuous improvement processes

Influencing factors and main themes

Factors that had the potential to influence the direction of this work included the rapid evolution of cloud offerings and resulting changes, the new University budget model, and increasing obligations related to compliance or other legislation. Overall, input coalesced around needs in five main themes:

  • Data – quality, definitions, warehousing, visualization
    • (e.g., bibliometrics, humanities ‘mining’, buildings and org units, D2L metrics)
  • User Experience – user interface, accessibility, expectations
    • (e.g., classroom technology, student ‘one stop’, ecommerce and self-service)
  • Tools and Techniques – risk management, infrastructure, cloud services
    • (e.g., project and task software, O365, research storage)
  • Business Process and Integrations – planning, systems, reporting
    • (e.g., onboarding, identity management, program appraisals)
  • Communications and Relationships – outreach, decisions, visibility, partnerships
    • (e.g., project inventory, software licensing, PSIA process)

Review the IST Strategic Plan Closure Report in full, or review the content below for a high-level summary of our areas for action, history of the Plan, or to submit questions or feedback.

Areas for action

Work was organized into several key areas for action that organized the projects or other work needed to achieve our goals and overall strategy. Each area for action includes a definition and the respective actionable projects or initiatives.

Changing times


Strategic plans provide important guidance and focus on specific areas for attention. A key aspect, however, is their ability to adapt and accommodate changing and unexpected needs during their duration.

With the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic in the final year of the plan, work in our various action areas and indeed IST operations overall shifted to support the campus through this difficult period.

While not specifically included as projects within the plan itself, IST was able to respond and move forward on a number of initiatives to support students, faculty, staff and campus partners as we jointly navigated the pandemic. All of these reflected some of the key aspirations found in the plan such as working better together and in maintaining the best possible user experience to support learning activities in a very challenging time.

Moving forward

moving forward

In 2019, the campus embarked on a review of our overall IT capability. The final report from its Steering Committee is now with the Provost and CIO for review and consideration of next steps.

The information collected from that exercise, in addition to the lessons learned and advances made as a result of this plan, specific initiatives arising from the University’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, lessons from the pandemic and other campus needs will provide important guidance and feedback for our next planning cycle.

Thank you to those who contributed to the development of the plan, who led or contributed to the various projects, and ultimately worked to help IST provide better service to the campus.


How we got here

The overall strategy of the IST Strategic Plan, the foundation on which the work of the Plan is based, is the outcome of consultation and plan development phases that occurred with stakeholders from across campus, and is represented by five working themes.

Inflight and operational work

Inflight work

The Plan recognized important work already in progress outside of the Plan, such as the Campus Network Refresh.

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Operational work

The Plan recognized critical work outside of the Plan that ensures the efficient day-to-day delivery and operations of the campus IT infrastructure.

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Get in touch


Send an email to IST Communications