UCI IT Consolidation Overview

This information is from the 2009 OIT Consolidation. It is kept here for archival purposes.

December 14, 2009

UCI is in the process of consolidating administrative Information Technology support into the Office of Information Technology (OIT). Although full integration of IT functions will take several years, IT staff in administrative units will become a part of OIT in phases completing by September 30, 2010. During the consolidation process, great care will be taken to avoid disruption of service to units. The roles of IT staff will remain largely unchanged after joining OIT pending the creation of detailed integration plans in each area.

Significant planning has already occurred, but it is far from complete. Both units and unit IT staff will have a voice in building UCI’s integrated IT environment. An interim organizational structure is currently in place in OIT; it will be incrementally refined over the next few years based on unit and campus needs.

IT in academic units (including the UCI Libraries and University Extension) is not being included in the initial consolidation. However, Provost Gottfredson has asked that academic IT be factored in after initial phases of administrative IT consolidation complete. OIT will work with deans, school computing directors, and a faculty advisory group, on determining how academic units can effectively take advantage of campus IT integration, taking into consideration their unique needs. The focus of this document is on administrative IT consolidation.

Consolidation Goals

Rather than immediate cost savings, the principal goal of consolidation is improving the overall efficiency of delivering campus IT services. However, not replacing staff vacancies is saving significant expense, and consolidation will allow us to maintain effective operations despite staff losses. By removing duplication of effort, consolidation will also help avoid future costs and ensure maximum return on future investments in Information Technology. These investments will be guided by a campus-wide view of needs and priorities and be made in the context of an integrated technology environment.

Initial Focus on Commodity Services

“Commodity” IT services represent the most fertile ground for realizing increased efficiencies and enhanced service delivery. Priorities for consolidation include help desk assistance to end-users, in-person assistance and support of desktop computing equipment, server administration, e-mail service, information security, student computing labs, data center (server room) services, data backup, and disaster preparedness. Initial activities will include integrating existing campus commodity IT teams and incrementally deploying them to assume support duties in each unit. This will allow staff who play other roles such as applications support to focus more exclusively on those roles.

Changing Reporting Relationships

Reporting relationships for IT staff in administrative units will transition to OIT during the 2009/2010 fiscal year. Despite this, the ongoing responsibilities of IT staff, the mechanisms employed to handle requests and assignments, and other aspects of day to day operations, will initially remain unchanged. Over time, and with the participation of unit management and IT staff, changes will be planned and incrementally implemented.

The first phase of changing IT staff reporting will be creating a “dotted line” relationship from the unit IT manager or lead to an OIT director or manager. The dotted line relationship will be in place for several months while the OIT manager and unit IT lead exchange information about unit needs and activities and work with unit management, IT teams, and others to create an initial unit IT integration plan. During this time, the local IT lead will continue to maintain a solid reporting line to his or her current manager and will receive direction primarily from this channel. The dotted and solid reporting lines will be reversed several months later, but IT leads will maintain strong ties to functional units even after moving organizationally to OIT.

OIT’s current organizational structure is evolving and will incrementally change over the next several years to accomplish integration goals. Local IT managers and senior staff will have opportunities to seek future managerial and technical leadership roles in the consolidated organization. More importantly, they will join their IT colleagues who became a part of OIT earlier in the process in defining OIT’s eventual organizational structure, values, technology portfolio, and service catalog. Creating a highly responsive and effective central organization will require the engagement of all parties.

Physical Location of IT Staff

IT staff will retain their current office space for the immediate future while we work on integrating IT services. In the long run, it will be important to locate staff where they can best serve their clients. This may be near the units they support, in “regional” locations convenient to a subset of campus clients, or in a central OIT location.

Application Software Support and Development

There are significant opportunities for increased efficiencies in application software support, but they will require greater care and more time to realize than will efficiencies in commodity areas. Programming staff will typically remain collocated with functional units while closer relationships to OIT are incrementally established. IT application support and development staff will continue to do the work they are doing now while simultaneously participating in discussions about future directions and in improving ties with other programmers. It will be important for IT staff to maintain their current strong ties to functional units while developing new ties into OIT.

Due to the complexities of individual software application systems, it would be difficult to manage software maintenance and development functions solely through a pool of interchangeable programmers. Every major business function requires a core set of programmers dedicated to it to maintain business and system expertise related to the function, as well as effective working relationships with functional unit staff. However, establishment of programmer pools to allow augmentation of core staffing to accomplish critical projects will certainly play a role in our software support strategy.

Effort Prioritization

Routine support requests for individual end-users will be fielded by the OIT help desk who will handle them directly or dispatch a member of the appropriate team to do so. Software application support (technical questions, bug fixes, small enhancement requests, etc.) will still be handled through direct contact with the responsible programmer or IT manager. He or she will prioritize appropriately and complete the request using the core resources assigned to the application in question.

Project requests that require a significant amount of time or additional resources will be handled through a new prioritization process based on analysis of the business case for the request.

It will be important to develop a campus process for identifying and reviewing IT projects to understand how their implementation furthers UCI’s business and academic goals. The completion of certain IT projects could result in streamlining processes and significantly lowering operation costs, or increasing opportunities such as attracting and maintaining students and research funding. A business case for each promising project must be developed to inform a decision on the investment of resources. In some cases resources may come from those we already have; in other cases the net savings/ income from completing the project may justify an investment in additional application software resources.

IT Standards

The establishment and maintenance of IT standards will form a critical part of the foundation on which UCI’s IT environment is built. Efficiencies are the greatest when common solutions and approaches are widely leveraged. We will develop collaborative processes for defining campus standards and reviewing them as needed. Exceptions to standards will be made where required to meet unit needs.

IT Governance

UCI’s IT Oversight Committee is the primary mechanism for IT governance, and will work to establish efficient and well-understood governance processes. Additional ad hoc and ongoing advisory groups will also be involved. The managers and staff of functional offices served by IT will have a major voice in decisions that affect them. End users will be included in selection efforts for software and other solutions they will utilize.

Funding

Consolidated IT staff positions and their funding will move to OIT, along with IT budgets for server equipment maintenance, software, and other non-desktop IT expenses. Units will retain budgets and continue to cover costs for departmental software licenses and computing equipment dedicated to their use (for example, departmental desktop computers and desktop software licenses).

Funding already coming to OIT from units contracting for services will be preserved in OIT. Units not already contracting with OIT whose staff move to OIT as part of the consolidation will not be recharged for newly utilized OIT services, except when the functional unit itself is funded through recharge or other special funding sources.

For example, OIT currently charges for Exchange email services. When Exchange email services from newly consolidated units are integrated into the OIT Exchange service, those units will not be charged for that service.

Because the funding situation varies significantly from unit to unit, budgetary details will need to be resolved between OIT and each unit during the consolidation process.

Scroll Up