IT Rationalization

The Project

Like many top-tier universities, information technology at UChicago is largely a distributed endeavor, with many units and divisions supporting the technology needs of the campus community. While this can provide some benefits, it can also mean duplication of services across campus, the inefficient or sub-optimal use of resources, and decreased visibility into a range of valuable service offerings.

The associate vice president for IT and CIO, in collaboration with the Provost, is taking a proactive approach to understanding how IT is leveraged by the University community and what measures the IT enterprise can take to maximize the impact of the institution’s overall IT investment in support of research, teaching, and business operations.

IT Rationalization—and the initiatives that proceed it—is a forward-looking endeavor. Phase one included a comprehensive data collection and analysis activity, culminating in a set of project recommendations designed to improve not only the efficiency of IT delivery but more importantly, the quality of services available to campus. In phase two, the IT community, by way of the IT Leadership Council, will work together to implement those recommendations.

The Goals

World Class Service Delivery

UChicago is among the best universities in the world. We believe our IT services should be as well. The overarching goal for IT Rationalization is ensuring the caliber of our technology infrastructure matches that of our institution.

Increased Institutional Efficiency

Increased efficiency is a hallmark of good IT. As technologies proliferate, efficiencies can erode and, eventually, break down. The ITR project will focus on reducing redundancy, re-engineering core business processes, and create a more operationally efficient IT.

Leading Edge Research Infrastructure

The University of Chicago is a leading research institution. Our research infrastructure needs to match. ITR will focus on aligning our IT environment with the needs of our research community.

Enhanced Teaching and Learning Spaces

Teaching is what we do. Learning is why we’re here. Building the necessary tools and frameworks to support both faculty and students is core to our mission and it is a primary focus of ITR.

The Scope

Academic Divisions

Biological Sciences Division
Chicago Booth School
Divinity School
Graham School
Harris School
Humanities Division
Institute for Molecular Engineering
Laboratory Schools
Law School
Oriental Institute
Physical Sciences Division
School of Social Service Administration
Social Sciences Division
The College
Urban Education Institute

Administrative Units

Alumni Relations and Development
Campus and Student Life
Enrollment and Student Advancement
Finance and Administration
Investment Office
Office of Civic Engagement
Office of Communications
Office of General Counsel
Office of Global Engagement
Office of Research and National Laboratories
Office of the President
Press Office
Provost Office

The Process

1. Data Collection

The data collection phase will be a collaborative effort, lasting approximately 10 weeks, focused on pulling together financial, human resource, and technology infrastructure data from across the campus. Working directly with campus IT leaders, our goal is to gather as much information as possible to ensure we understand current utilization of resources, existing gaps in services, as well as other challenges.

2. Current State Assessment

The current state assessment will use the data collected to help us understand how IT is being used at the University. In this phase we will ask things like:

  • What tools, infrastructure, and services are we using?
  • How are we sourcing the services we provide?
  • Where are there areas of duplication?
  • Where are there areas of waste?
  • What challenges or frustrations exist in the current service model?
  • What are the opportunities for new and/or improved services?

3. Future State Recommendations

In the future state recommendation phase we will use the data gathered and the insights gained to build a strategy for the future. This is where we will:

  • Define opportunities for increased efficiency
  • Prioritize the highest value areas for improvement
  • Articulate projects that will improve and enhance IT at UChicago

4. Business Case Development and Roadmap

Once a future state vision is defined, the project team, in collaboration with our stakeholders will develop business cases outlining benefits, challenges, and costs of recommended improvements. Those recommendations approved by the Shared Services advisory committee will be further outlined in an IT Rationalization roadmap, coordinating our implementation timelines with available resources and other competing priorities.

Areas of Focus

Data Centers

Data centers are critical components of IT infrastructure on any campus. But just as we must have data centers, we must also ensure they are well managed, well supported, and structured in a way that mitigates risk and and best utilizes administrative resources.

End User Support

We feel it is time to delight the members of our community with a new type of support. We aim to reinvent customer support. We are committed to bring excellence to supporting our faculty, staff, and students.

Email & Collaboration

We pursue an opportunity for UChicago to bring a unified email, calendar, and collaboration toolset. The move to Microsoft Office 365 will provide us with a modern enterprise solution capable of supporting all of our needs.

Classroom & Academic Technologies

We aspire to create a standard set of offerings that deliver an enhanced, consistent experience for faculty and students from classroom to classroom. Furthermore we will work to make audio and visual standards easier to implement in meeting rooms across campus.

Virtual Compute & Cloud

UChicago is aggressively pursing a “cloud first” approach across campus. To get there we need to invest more energy into exploring options that meet a diverse set of needs. While we have achieved much work to virtualize a large amount of our infrastructure we believe there is still much to be accomplished.

Enhanced Service Desk

Ever wonder why your neighborhood Apple Store is so successful? It is due, in large part, to the service desk model they have employed. It is time to bring that level of support to the UChicago community. Our goal is to reinvent our support models across multiple dimensions — online, walk up, self service, and over the phone.

Storage & Backup

We believe everyone has the right to feel confident that their data is being taken care of. This initiative will identify new opportunities to provide the campus with a true enterprise strategy for managing data and for data recovery.

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