Table of Contents

3. Computing and Information services, the central IT organization at HMC

Monday, January 4th, 2010 by Joseph Vaughan

Comment Icon0 The Computing and Information Services department (CIS) has historically been the main vehicle for institutional investment in information technology, and the college’s IT staff and resources are concentrated in this central unit. The department is currently organized in six areas: Administrative Services, Data Services/Software Engineering, Network and Systems Group, User Support Group, Educational Technology and Media Services, Special Projects1.

Comment Icon0 The 2007 IT review identified a number of areas of concern for CIS, and especially the need for CIS to develop a more robust service culture. In general, central IT services need to be well aligned with the College’s mission and vision; likewise the college must ensure that CIS is managing an optimal catalog of services, including the right mix between services that are directly provided and services that are provided through “alternative sourcing2”. In the case of HMC, alternative sources could include the Claremont Consortium and other colleges as well as the full range of other sources, from traditional outsourcing to cloud computing.

Comment Icon0 The CIS department faces a daunting array of challenges. They range from deploying and supporting a robust IT infrastructure to providing excellent user support and services; from understanding the academic goals of individual instructors to sharing a common sense of purpose with the the Office of College Advancement or Facilities and Maintenance; and from managing the Claremont Colleges commercial internet connections to supporting student computing projects. The department can rise to these challenges, but not in isolation from the rest of the college and consortium, and not without strong governance models and a set of infrastructure decisions that set priorities.

Comment Icon0 CIS has already embarked on a number of initiatives designed to enhance its organizational effectiveness and develop the skill sets needed to address the challenges it faces. It will take sustained long-term commitment to these initiatives to achieve the kind of excellence that is characteristic of HMC’s efforts in so many other areas.

  1. Comment Icon0
  2. Develop management practices and the overall capacity of CIS so that central IT services are reliable, client-centered, advancing the Mission of HMC and supporting education through innovative uses of technology.
  3. Identify an optimal catalog of services to be provided by the central IT organization.
  4. Identify service sourcing strategies, including full use of alternative sourcing, in order to maximize CIS’s ability to deliver needed services.

Comment Icon0 1See Appendix A for a current organization chart.

Comment Icon0 2“Alternative Sourcing” is used to cover “the range of options that institutions have for providing technology services or operating technology functions aside from doing it themselves”. See Philip J. Goldstein, Alternative IT Sourcing Strategies: From the Campus to the Cloud” Educause Center for Applied Research, September 2009. See http://www.educause.edu/Resources/AlternativeITSourcingStrategie/177700

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