IT News

This year in IT: Aligning our strategic momentum

With the Division of IT’s strategic plan in place, our leadership team developed our plans for the year. We wanted to update you so that you will know what our Division will be working on this year.

We have chosen a theme:  “Aligning IT’s Strategic Momentum.” The reason for choosing this theme is that if we are going to achieve WCU’s 2020 initiatives and meet the goals of our IT Strategic Plan, we must make deliberate decisions and allocate resources that line up with making these happen. Thus we want to take overt steps to align our efforts and momentum strategically.

To operationalize our work and hold ourselves accountable, we have developed what we call our “one pager” for the year.  This document groups our work into three areas: Satisfaction with IT, Improving IT, and Projects. We review this quarterly and score ourselves (A, B, C, D). Last year’s final score fell into the B range.  Our CIO, Craig Fowler, uses this document when he meets with Chancellor Belcher to review progress on our Division objectives.

Some highlights from the Satisfaction with IT area include the following: developing a faculty research technology needs plan and budget, investigating extended support options for our users, automating some processes such as guest wireless access, improving the wireless user experience, facilitating the organizational transition of telecom to IT, and setting high metrics standards for customer satisfaction.

In the area of Improving IT, we state in our strategic plan that IT must not grow at the same rate as the university.  We have already begun the process of reviewing our resource allocation within IT and adjusting to strengthen our alignment with the 2020 plan and our IT objectives. For instance, we have repurposed some of our existing positions to expand our business analysis capacity and capability. As the university begins the serious look at process improvement, these positions will be key.  We will also be looking as sustainable models for Banner hosting, systems capacity planning,  a strategic technologies planning process, and assessing and refreshing the network master plan.  Disaster recovery continues to be a priority and we will be implementing a 100% backup capability within the data center.  We will also be benchmarking with at least two other universities to compare our support ratios, services, metrics, and processes to determine if there are efficiency opportunities and other learnings that we can leverage or implement within WCU IT.

In the area of Projects, we are working to find ways to automate processes and meet the university’s need for data analysis.   Here are some examples of the many projects on our list for this year that might be of interest. In the Digital Media area, we are working on a collaborative file sharing solution (similar to dropbox), video for lecture capture, video for clinical capture, and a video recording policy.  In the academic area, some of our major efforts are Grades First, the cross-UNC Foreign Language Assembly, Blackboard enhanced functionality, phase 2 of classroom virtualization, and academic electronic documents and workflow.   An important project to enhance the student experience is a scholarship tracking system for students.  In the area of networking, we will continue to expand the wireless capacity in academic buildings and the residence halls.  We plan this year to have a faculty-staff email recommendation ready and will continue to work with the faculty-staff task force.  For the intranet, we will implement the IT Division SharePoint site as a pilot and  will also be designing a new intranet homepage.  As always, we have some general administration required projects: a student data mart and e-invoicing.

Once segments of our IT Division SharePoint site become available to the campus, you will be able to review our one-pager and keep up with our progress.  If you have any questions about our plans or projects, please contact Dr. Anna McFadden, Director of Academic Engagement and IT Governance at ext. 2411 or amcfadden@email.wcu.edu.