Table of Contents

1. Information Technology Governance at HMC

Monday, January 4th, 2010 by Joseph Vaughan

Comment Icon0 HMC’s strategic vision of “unsurpassed excellence…at all levels” calls for constant improvement. Such improvement requires constant innovation and decision making. Information Technology decision making is inextricably entwined with every other aspect of HMC. The college needs a strong IT governance model or “structure and process of authoritative decision making across issues that are significant for external as well as internal stakeholders”1.

Comment Icon0 The current governance model for IT at Harvey Mudd College is focused almost exclusively on the Computing and Information Services Department. The CIO, who is a Vice-President and member of the Cabinet, is tasked with management of the CIS department, and is advised by the Computing Committee, which consists of three faculty members and a student. The Cabinet provides guidance on major IT issues. Some aspects of IT governance are handled at the consortial level, by committees like the ITC and the Sakai Administration Team.

Comment Icon0 Many (most?) decisions about IT are about an infrastructure that affects everyone in the HMC community almost all the time and is the foundation of the organization’s IT capabilities. It is therefore vital that the college develop a governance model that can capture the concerns of the different constituencies in the community (students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees …), can guide CIS, and be flexible and responsive to changing needs and a changing IT environment.

Comment Icon0 Decisions about information technology that have significant campus impact are currently made at different places in the organization, with varying levels of consultation with clients and stakeholders, and varying levels of consideration of impact. Examples include:

Comment Icon0within CIS (for example, the decision to acquire Zimbra as an email application or the annual decision as to what software should go on lab computer images)

Comment Icon0at the level of the Claremont Colleges Consortium (for example, the decision to deploy Jenzabar CX, decisions about wireless technology or the choice of Footprints as an IT trouble ticket system)

Comment Icon0within HMC departments (for example, the choice within F&M to adopt EMS for event management; the choice within HR to adopt the ADP timekeeping system; the choice within Computer Science of an alternative to Postini for spam filtering; software support decisions within the Math Department; the decision with Admissions to use Recruitment Plus).

Comment Icon0 It is quite common for IT decisions to be made at lots of different points in an organization. It can also be challenging for the institution to coordinate IT decision making in order to develop a coherent and integrated set of technical choices for the organization. Lack of coordination can lead to fractured support of systems, limited levels of knowledge about particular systems, lack of use of features that could improve people’s working lives. All of these can prevent an organization from reaching its goals effectively.

Comment Icon0 HMC does not have a formal process for the development of policies that cover information technology. What policies there are have mainly been produced within CIS, although some, such as the acceptable use policy, or the copyright policies, are Claremont wide. There are lacunae in policy areas such as data access and classification, data retention and web policies. So the college needs a framework that will ensure that policies are vetted by the appropriate constellation of committees and stakeholders.

Comment Icon0 HMC needs to address these challenges of IT governance and decide how it will control and coordinate IT decision making.

  1. Comment Icon0
  2. Develop, deploy and optimize an IT governance model for the College
  3. Ensure that all stakeholders understand and use the IT governance model appropriately

Comment Icon0 1 Gayle, Tewarie, & White, Governance in the twenty-first-century university: Approaches to effective leadership and strategic management. 2003.

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