IT Governance

How we developed IT governance

The structure used for IT governance was developed through conversations with key stakeholders and a two-day IT governance retreat that included faculty, staff, and students, as well as classified staff, OAs, faculty, administrators, and members of the UO Senate. During the two day retreat in mid-September, 2017, the group of 50 discussed campus-wide IT decision types, stakeholders, and structure. The group also deliberated on governance for Transform IT and how to strategically and transparently manage savings produced by that initiative. (For more details about the IT Governance retreat, see CIO leads discussion to develop IT governance.)

These discussions informed a draft governance structure, which the IT Steering Committee (the university's top-level IT governance group) endorsed in late September, 2017. This governance structure and its goals are presented below.

Why IT governance?

The University of Oregon has a tradition of shared governance and community input. Since many IT services are used broadly by employees and students, it's important to consider use cases and user experience. There are additional situations that call for governance. You might need IT governance if...

  • New IT policies are developed and approved and stakeholders are surprised by those policies
  • Stakeholders are unhappy with the solutions IT is providing and are resisting using them or are developing shadow IT projects and systems
  • IT organizations want more meaningful collaboration with stakeholders and would like to increase transparency around decision making
  • Central and distributed IT units are purchasing and deploying duplicative IT technologies and services, or costs related to such deployments are higher than anticipated
  • IT organizations are unsure how to best allocate resources to meet stakeholder needs or have internal disagreements about this
  • Institutional leadership views IT as a cost center rather than an effective partner in achieving the institution’s mission

 What does governance provide? (1)

  • Alignment of IT decisions with institutional mission and stakeholder needs
  • Improved communication among the IT community and between IT and the rest of the institution
  • Assurance of stakeholder buy-in into policy decisions and IT budget and project priorities
  • Integration of risk management into IT decision making

Goals of IT governance: (1)

  • Be strategic
  • Enable community input and decisions
  • Enable management of IT assets
  • Guide community utilization of IT assets
  • Be flexible

High Level Diagram of Governance Structure

The service advisory boards will advise on how to manage specific enterprise services. For example, the Banner Coordinating Group, which is comprised of staff from Banner-using units across campus, advises IS staff on running the university's ERP; the Drupal Steering Committee advises on the current state and future development of the Drupal Web Hosting service. Some service advisory boards already exist and others will need to be created.

The domain subcommittees represent conceptual subsets of business, research, and teaching technologies. These subcommittees will take recommendations and advice from applicable service advisory boards. For example, an Enterprise Applications domain subcommittee will address issues related to Banner, constituent relationship management (CRM) software, DuckDocs, and other applications that are used for key business processes. A Data Governance domain subcommittee will address questions about data definitions and data access. These are but two examples.

The IT Steering Committee, started in September 2016, receives questions and recommendations from the domain subcommittees and advises the Provost and CIO on high level IT matters.

What's next?

IT Governance will next focus on standing up the domain subcommittees, service advisory boards, and developing processes. The middle layer—domain subcommittees—will likely be developed next, as the university has a number of service advisory boards and the IT Steering Committee already in service.

Sources

1: Carraway, D., Arruda, K., Hagins, J., Martinez, B. R., Molina, H., Perry, J. D., II, . . . Will, C. C. (2017, March). Higher Education IT Governance Checklist. Retrieved from https://library.educause.edu/~/media/files/library/2017/3/highereditgovchecklist.pdf