Purpose of the IST reorganization

In November 2012, Information Systems & Technology (IST) launched an intensive process to review the overall organization of the department. Working with Human Resources (HR) and a consulting firm, this process included a review of the department structure and resources, services and systems, and service needs from the university IT and campus communities. An environmental scan of comparable institutions coupled with IT trends in higher education emphasized the need for a proactive approach. It was clear we needed to refocus, establish strategic goals and initiatives for the department, and align our directions with the overall strategic plan for the university. We needed to “Organize for Success”.

The objectives of the Organize for Success (OFS) initiative were achieved through a broad consultative and collaborative process with key clients, including:

  • IT Strategic Plan consultations |October 2012-January 2013
  • IST department input sessions, IT Strategic Plan and OFS |November 2012
  • IST general input session, IT Strategic Plan and OFS |November 29 2012
  • OFS consultations with stakeholders outside IST |January-February 2013
  • IST Fireside Chats |Jan 24, 28 2013
  • IST Fireside Chats |March 6, 7 2013
  • Presentation to the Staff Relations Committee | March 8 2013
  • IT Strategic Plan Open House |March 26 2013
  • OFS Spring Update |May 13, 14 2013
  • Presentation to the Staff Relations Committee | June 7 2013
  • IST individual meeting with Directors |June 10-18 2013
  • OFS Update to IST staff |June 19, 20 2013
  • Updates to the CTSC and UCIST Committees

Building on the recommendations from the OFS consultants, the valuable feedback we received during the consultations, and the work of the IT Strategic Plan Task Force, we established overall IT Strategic directions that will

  • Revitalize our student IT environment,
  • Grow our technology-enabled learning environment,
  • Build upon information and technology foundations to support research and administration, and
  • Work together to improve usability, delivery and support of IT services.

The organizational design

To facilitate the achievement of these directions, it was imperative that we build upon and reposition many of the existing IST resources and address the identified gaps within the structure. This work was completed with the university’s HR department and Staff Association.

The new organizational design (diagram attached) will promote a federated approach to IT. A federated model, which combines the advantages of both the centralized and decentralized designs, will help to balance central (campus wide) and local (faculty or support unit) IT needs. It is also a model that will require specific roles to be worked out and clear, defined services in order to be successful.

This restructuring of resources into the new organization structure is also intended to enrich the overall IT experience for IST staff and clients alike as we work collaboratively to ensure the optimum level of service is delivered by the right people, in the right organizational unit, at the right time, in a highly interactive, agile, adaptive manner.

Filling in the gaps: new units

As part of the new organizational design we’ve seen the integration of two (2) existing IST units, Computing Support Services (CSS) and Network Services (NS), and the creation of three (3) new units, Enterprise Systems (consolidating the former three Information Systems teams into one integrated unit), Enterprise Architecture and Portfolio Management.

The integration of the CSS and NS units into the Technology Integrated Service unit offers a more efficient and effective use of IST resources and promotes a strategic and sustainable technology environment for IST staff and clients.

The newly created units complement each other and will require a close working relationship as they achieve unit, department and university wide goals and objectives.

Enterprise Architecture will focus on

  • Integration Development (i.e. web, mobile),
  • Strategic Innovations,
  • Information Management,
  • Usability, and
  • Enterprise Architecture (overall IT blueprint for the campus) as a program for the institution.

Enterprise Systems will focus on

  • Student Admin systems,
  • Human Resources and Financial systems,
  • Student Service, Research and Department systems,
  • Enterprise Support Services (i.e. Accessibility, App Admin, Testing/QA), and
  • Deployment and Support.

Portfolio Management will focus on

  • Project portfolio management,
  • Strategic planning,
  • Risk management,
  • Change management, and
  • Policy and Standards.

Summary of staff changes

  1. Current IST Staff (163)
  • 61 No Change
  • 74 Change in Supervisor Only (role identical)
  • 28 Mapped in on Incumbency (at least 60% same role)
  1. Repurposed Roles
  • 12 positions (open to IST only)
  1. Open Competitions
  • 2 Director Roles
  • 7 ‘immediate need’ approved (4 net new)
  • Proposal to hire additional resources as approved (net of attrition)

Implementation of the new organization

Organizational changes will be gradual and adaptive. As noted in the all staff sessions, we are taking a logical approach to the restructuring, working from the top down to fill key positions and identify reporting structures. As positions are filled, there may continue to be small changes as new colleagues join the IST team and transition into their new roles. There is no ‘on/off’ switch; it will be an organic process as we organize to become a stronger, unified and more successful department.

As noted in the IT Directions document, support and maintenance of current IT projects and services will continue as planned, but will be aligned, along with new activities, to the IT strategic objectives.

Our goals as we move through the OFS process:

  • Implement an effective and optimized organizational structure aligned to the goals and objectives of IST customers – faculty, staff and students.
  • Assess the need for additional capabilities within our organization in the areas of enterprise risk management, architecture, and program/project management, which afford the potential for enhanced career opportunities for IST staff.
  • Further develop our career paths and job descriptions so that they are aligned with the services that we will deliver.
  • Document and provide options for improved cross departmental and cross university workflow and communications.

Change is always challenging and we are committed as an organization, to work with staff, our partners and our clients all the way through the process. Thank you to those who participated in and provided feedback, guidance and support during this process.  

As the transition to the new IST organization progresses, we will keep you all up to date with future communication releases.

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