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IT Strategic Planning: A Theoretical Exercise or Tangible Action Plan?
Far too many strategic planning exercises end up in a binder, gathering dust on the top shelve of a bookcase. So, what makes the CU-Boulder campuswide IT strategic planning process, which is taking place now, different? Originally mandated by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) in 1998, the process has always produced tangible initiatives that translate into sustainable programs, processes, and initiatives.
Past IT plans have resulted in the establishment of the faculty computer purchase program, formation of the Distributed Academic Technology Coordinators (DATCs), charted the future of the e-mail environment (Exchange 2007 for faculty/staff, Microsoft Live@edu for students), and campuswide Microsoft software licensing.
Since the first plan in 1998, four IT strategic planning efforts have occurred; each filled with recommendations about how to better support faculty, students and staff through the effective use of technology. While past plans have been successful, this planning process for the 2010 report is proving to be exceptional in terms of the campuswide participation, depth of dialogue, and multi-layered coordination and collaboration.
Larry Levine, the new associate vice chancellor for IT and CIO, started at CU-Boulder in the fall of 2009 and immediately began championing the effort—connecting with colleagues around campus to get them involved and engaged, which created awareness and interest on a variety of levels with faculty, researchers, students, and staff. Those participating in the committees as either a lead, co-lead, committee member or reviewer are:
As IT providers we are encouraged by the broad participation, interest, and commitment the campus has to creating a well thought out, usable IT plan.
Another advantageous event for this particular IT plan is Flagship 2030, the campuswide strategic plan, which outlines key initiatives to, “become a leading model of the ‘new flagship university’ of the 21st century—by redefining learning and discovery in a global context and setting new standards in education, research, scholarship, and creative work that will benefit Colorado and the world.”
Utilizing Flagship 2030 as a touchstone, the IT strategic plan will seek to create IT initiatives in support of the larger strategic vision represented in Flagship 2030.
Given the economic challenges outlined by President Benson and Chancellor DiStefano, now more than ever, IT must strive to be transparent, innovative, responsive, and efficient. While the 2010 IT strategic planning efforts are well underway, it appears that this particular cycle has the potential to create a truly collaborative blueprint for IT at CU-Boulder. Information regarding the 2010 planning process can be found at: www.colorado.edu/itplan.
Marin Stanek (firstname.lastname@example.org) is director of IT Strategic Communication, Outreach & Documentation.
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