University combines IT functions for better service
The university is transforming its information technology services to better meet the needs of today's digital-era students and to offer the high-performance computing required to recruit and retain the best faculty and staff.
The new organization will combine Information Technology Central Services (ITCS), Information Technology Security Services (ITSS) and Michigan Administrative Information Services (MAIS) to optimize resources and offer the campus community the most technologically sophisticated services, applications and infrastructure possible.
"To remain competitive, we need to respond to the rapidly changing advances in technology, learning and science," says Provost Teresa Sullivan. "A unified and more strategic IT approach will give our students, faculty and staff the structure and scale they need to learn in today's world, innovate, and discover breakthroughs in science."
The organizations will continue to provide their key IT products and services supporting the university's operation. All three organizations serve the University Health System, the Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn campuses, and all the research and educational units, including 35 centers and 18 institutes.
• ITCS supports the academic and educational units with services such as telecommunications, networks, directories, e-mail, Web sites, virus detection and computing equipment.
• ITSS provides the overall university security strategy and support to the campuses in the areas of incident management, security assessments and consultation, network scans, education and training.
• MAIS is responsible for campus administrative computer systems, infrastructure and security.
"IT is absolutely critical to our operations and mission," says Chief Financial Officer Timothy Slottow. "We seek broader cost synergies and savings that will enable us to redirect our IT resources to create the high-performance environment required by our students, faculty and staff."
Effective April 20, Laura McCain Patterson, associate vice president for MAIS and ITSS in the Office of the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, will assume leadership of the new organization and will be responsible for directing the transformation. John King, professor and vice provost for academic information, will continue in his role, but ITCS will no longer report to him.
"We want to thank John King for his significant contributions toward advancing the university's IT vision and look forward to his continued collaboration," Sullivan says.
While the reorganization effort will take time, Patterson anticipates some of the new structure will be in place by July 1.
The planning process will include input from and collaboration with the key campus stakeholders, such as faculty, researchers, and Health System and academic IT professionals. Leadership teams from the three departments will work together, under Patterson's direction, to help design the new organization.
"IT is continually changing, and continuous learning and adaptation are necessary to remain effective. In fact, the majority of IT organizations reinvent themselves every three to five years. Because we have not assessed our approach in almost nine years, we are long overdue," Patterson says. "I view this as a great opportunity for IT professionals on campus; U-M is looking to us to drive our institution forward.
"Many of the leaders on the design team for the new organization, and our employees, have been through changes like this before. Our past experience and collective wisdom better positions us for success."
Patterson notes that MAIS, ITSS and ITCS have a long history of excellent collaboration, which she believes will significantly be enhanced by bringing the departments together.
Patterson encouraged those affected by the change to participate in planning for the future. Employees will be given multiple ways to provide input, she says. For details on the changes, go to www.umich.edu/~newit.