It seems hard to believe, but it has been almost 3 years since the development and approval of the Information Technology (IT) Strategic Plan.  A lot has happened over that time, including the launch of the University's Strategic Plan, some incredible initiatives and service improvements throughout the IT community, the IST reorganization, updated IT governance and the move to EC2.  Wow!

Throughout all of this work and change, IST and its partners in the faculties and other academic support areas have done a great job to "move the yardsticks" forward.  Your dedication, focus on client service, innovation and drive have been the main reasons for this success.

Of course there is always more to do.  So the question is, "what's the plan?"

One of the key upcoming initiatives will be the mid-term update to the IT Strategic Plan this fall, working the following year (2016) towards a view to the next 5 years. To accomplish this work the following steps will need to be taken:

  • Look to the University Strategic plan for direction. The 8 themes are heavily reliant on IT for their enablement and to achieve their goals.
  • Continue a strong client service focus, in terms of looking at their needs, their service level requirements and responding to their requests. Documenting this as an evolving business services model with supporting process models (following the LEAN standard, which Human Resources is working on now) will provide an excellent means to understand the drivers today and into the future for the services IT provides.  It also can be a great lead into updating our Service Level Agreements (SLA’s), which are in place across campus, and to help update IT service definitions in the IST Service Catalogue.
  • Understand the data clients – internal and external – need.  We have a solid start on this with the documentation and policies in place, but updating this and working with the Secretariat to refresh the policies, guidelines and the Statement of Information Management will all help standardize the business, logical and physical views of the data.  This will also be a great input into the refresh for the IT Strategic Plan.
  • From the above two inputs, align outcomes and measures for IT services with the strategic objectives in the IT Strategic Plan, and use as a framework for these benchmarks.  These outcomes and measures need to be in plain language so that all can agree on them as indicators of successful IT services and initiatives.  Part of this step would be to examine the strategic objectives in the IT Strategic Plan for their currency and alignment with the directions of the University.
  • Take all of the above and update the priorities for IST and the IT community as a whole in terms of enterprise IT initiatives, with direction and approval from the Provost, and review from the University Committee on Information Systems and Technology (UCIST) and the Computer Technology and Services Committee (CTSC).  The home for these is an effective and easily understood IT Portfolio, which is being developed now and will need ongoing refinement going forward.
  • Provide the platform – a secure, flexible, scalable, responsive, supported and standard IT platform that leverages internal, community and external IT technology in a seamless manner
  • Document all of this in the Enterprise Architecture and a refreshed IT Strategic Plan, with a major update planned for 2015/16 to look another 5 years out

These are just suggestions.  Your interim Chief Information Officer (CIO), Bruce Campbell, and the whole IST Executive and Management teams will be looking to engage all of you to help shape the steps forward and to define “what’s the plan” into the future.

I wish you the best and wanted to express my deep thanks to all of you in IST and the University of Waterloo IT community for your excellent service and work over the last 3 years while I have had the pleasure and honour to be your CIO.  Thanks for your support, input and energy - and I’ll be excited to see what happens next! 

Dave Wallace

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