University of California, Irvine Information Technology Principles

March 12, 2010

The Information Technology principles outlined in this document have been developed by the IT Oversight Committee to help guide decision-making at the University of California, Irvine.

1. Information Technology is a strategic campus resource.

  • Information Technology, including infrastructure, services, and personnel, plays a critical role in campus operations and in meeting institutional objectives.
  • Significant investments are prioritized from a campus perspective to ensure close alignment with campus goals and the greatest possible return on each dollar spent.
  • IT investments, resource prioritization, and policies are overseen and regularly reviewed through effective governance mechanisms and by maintaining and reviewing service and efficacy metrics on an ongoing basis.
  • Governance mechanisms distribute decision rights appropriately to ensure timely and responsive decision-making.
  • The effective use of IT is facilitated through continual investment in the skills and competencies of both IT staff and the broader base of users of IT.

2. Data are critical institutional assets.

  • Maintaining the integrity, confidentiality, and ready accessibility of data is vital to all aspects of the University’s mission and operations.  Accordingly, there is consistent campus-wide policy and behavior for provisioning, accessing, storing, securing, and preserving information, regardless of where it is collected or stored.
  • Data accessibility and availability is determined based on its value to the university but always in the context of privacy and the protection of personal or restricted information.
  • Lack of appropriate data integrity, quality, and security can compromise the university’s reputation and impede operational efficiency. Similarly, lack of accessibility to data and/or excessive barriers to making data available can impede the objectives of the University.
  • All information collected is readily available to facilitate decision-making and other uses.
  • A common data dictionary is maintained to define data elements in a consistent manner across campus functions and applications.

3. The foundation for UCI Information Technology operations is a comprehensive central organization that works in close cooperation with individual units.

  • The Office of Information Technology combines the talents and expertise of previously distributed organizations to provide robust and comprehensive services to the community.
  • OIT serves both a broad range of common needs as well as specialized, local needs.
  • Key benefits of a distributed IT approach are realized through the activities of OIT unit liaisons that participate as members of both OIT and functional units.  OIT maintains strong working relationships with functional unit managers and staff to ensure agile response and a thorough understanding of diverse needs as they evolve and change.
  • OIT is a highly communicative organization that encourages staff to develop and maintain effective relationships with clients and seek feedback and offer assistance at every appropriate opportunity.
  • OIT works in partnership with staff in academic schools and units to help meet school needs.

4. Maximize return on investment by leveraging shared, commercial, and existing campus solutions.

  • Information Technology solutions take a variety of forms including community source, commercial, home-grown or outsourced applications, or applications built in partnership with other campuses.  UCI avoids “going it alone” in complex implementations to take advantage of the benefit of leveraging the efforts of others.
  • Outsourcing at various levels can provide economies and flexibility but must be done in a way that fulfills institutional responsibilities and smoothly integrates with campus-based services.
  • The “Total Cost of Ownership” is the basis for considering implementation options.  This goes beyond initial acquisition costs and includes programmer, functional unit, and end-user training and labor costs, energy costs, and other expense, over the lifetime of the system.
  • Before acquiring/implementing a new tool or application package, careful consideration is given to whether or not existing applications can fulfill the new requirements.  Reasonable compromises in functional requirements allow the campus to fully leverage costs associated with application support by avoiding the need to support multiple software packages that have significant functionality overlaps.

5. Provide robust, standards-based services to the university community, while also addressing specialized requirements through support efforts dedicated to specific units.

  • Core services are based on collaboratively defined campus standards that are engineered to meet the majority of campus needs with minimal duplication of effort.  Services are universally available to all “knowledge workers.”
  • Key services are well-supported and designed to maximize availability through appropriate levels of redundancy that avoid outages due to absences or equipment failure.
  • Campus communication and collaboration requires a strong, integrated infrastructure, built upon a modern, robust, high-performance, network.
  • Assistance for common services will be readily available through self-service and a central, well-trained, help-desk.
  • Recognizing that one size does not fit all, OIT will provide tiered services directed at meeting the needs of subsets of the community, and be prepared to make exceptions when needed to address critical needs.  OIT will also provide specialized support for unique unit business requirements.

6. Innovation through Information Technology is encouraged in a disciplined context that allows thoughtful assessment and can benefit the campus.

  • Standardization is critical to achieve efficiencies, but should not be so restrictive that it stifles innovation.  Exceptions to established standards are made after their limitations and the benefits of the exception have been considered.
  • The campus facilitates innovation through collaborative relationships among OIT and other units and the appropriate allocation of resources.
  • Innovative solutions are systematically assessed with results shared in a manner that can allow others on campus to take advantage of the experience gained.

7. Services are built on a standard architecture and integrated with other core services.

  • To facilitate ease of use by the community, and ensure maximum benefit from automation, applications are well thought out and integrated into a consistent campus framework.  This allows people who are familiar with one tool to more easily adopt another, and ensures that the product of one tool can be used with another.
  • Software development effectiveness is maximized through the adoption of common development and application environments, code libraries, and other techniques.  In addition to the reusable works this strategy creates, it provides a solid base of personnel expertise and builds a community of IT professionals capable of supporting each other and their common work products.
  • Solutions are consistent with business continuity and disaster recovery requirements.
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