IT Shared Services Initiative
Technology support at the University of Idaho is provided by 81 positions within Information Technology Services (ITS) and at least 76 distributed technology positions. These 157 or more positions account for over $15 million in salary and benefit costs and the support they provide is critical to the success of our great institution. As we continue to adapt to the changing landscape of higher education in Idaho and in the United States, we must make the most efficient and effective use of our talented people and our financial resources in achieving the goals of the university.
The U of I is undertaking a selective and thoughtful process for creating an IT shared services model, led by ITS and informed by the university community, with the following end goals:
- Distributed Personnel embedded in the units they support when beneficial to institutional goals
- Personnel Management, reporting lines and accountability through ITS
- Collaborative Work Prioritization by units, ITS and the IT Governance and Prioritization process driven by institutional priorities and unit needs to accomplish those priorities.
- Effective Utilization of IT personnel resources
- Decision to proceed with IT Shared Services
—December 5, 2019
- Formal kick off email from President Green
—January 16, 2020
- Survey to employees with IT duties and their supervisors
- Meetings between employees with IT duties and their supervisors
—February, March and April 2020 (originally February and March 2020)
- Development of draft recommendations
—Tentatively July 2020* (originally March 2020)
- Incorporate university-wide input and finalize recommendations
—Tentatively August 2020* (originally April and May 2020)
- Implementation planning and execution
—Tentatively September 2020* (originally May and June 2020)
* Preparations for, and the adherence to preventative measures as a result of the recent pandemic have cause delays and extended deadlines in all areas of the university. We are excited to be able to start focusing on this initiative again, and cautiously optimistic that we may still bring it to completion before the year is out. However, we are still living in a very fluid and volatile time, and the safety of our Vandal community must come first. As a result, the timeline going forward may be subject to revision as we continue to adhere to state and federal guidelines, and do our best to mitigate the fallout of this unprecedented event. We appreciate your patience.
Questions and suggestions about the IT Shared Services initiative can be sent to ITSharedServices@uidaho.edu
IT Shared Services Initiative FAQ
Approximately half of the IT positions at U of I report to ITS (the central IT organization) and half are distributed across units and colleges with no direct line to ITS. The distributed nature of IT support and management has created opportunities to improve work prioritization, service delivery, the elimination of duplicative services, reduced numbers of security issues and improved depth and cross-training of personnel. Given the university’s current budget situation, making changes towards a more centralized technology support environment now will positively impact finances through improved prioritization and decision making as well as improve the overall consistency in support levels.
- Increased focus on institutional, large impact efforts
- Consolidated accountability for and expectation of technology support in one unit
- Reduction in one time and ongoing costs of duplicative software, hardware and services
- Improved depth through cross-training and shared responsibilities
- Decreased time to complete major projects
- Consistency and reduced effort in HR activities (hiring qualified candidates, job descriptions, salaries)
- Consistent levels of service through standardized processes and procedures with expanded service as required
- Better understanding of overall technology spending
- Better planning for institutional technology upgrades
- Reduced impact of staff transitions
- Improved consistency of information from IT to customers
- Improved resource sharing to manage needs and maximize utilization of resources
- Streamlined technology purchasing processes through central coordination and consistent processes
- Improved institutional compliance
- Consolidated view of proposed and ongoing projects
- Consolidated view of resource availability
- Near elimination of time spent managing decentralized IT issues
No. One of the goals of the IT Shared Services initiative is to have geographically distributed personnel. While there are some instances in which personnel may move locations, in most cases they will stay embedded with their customers.
Information will be gathered from technology employees and their supervisors. After a review of the survey results, conversations will occur between the recommendation team and technology employees and their supervisors to gather additional information. From the gathered information, a set of draft recommendations will be created and input will be gathered from a wide institutional audience. Based on the input, final recommendations will be developed and provided to the president for his final decision.
The most current timeline for the process is on this page under the heading High-Level Timeline, but the goal is to implement recommendations by July 1, 2020.
Yes. The development of a work prioritization process that meets both unit and institutional needs is a key end goal of this initiative.
- Enhanced career opportunities
- Expanded training opportunities
- Management by people with technology experience
- Membership in a larger team of skilled people
- Team coverage for weekends and vacations
A team, led by Dan Ewart (VP for IT and Chief Information Officer) will make the recommendations. The team will have representatives from ITS leadership, unit/college IT leadership and the Faculty Senate Information Technology Committee. In addition to these people, others across the institution will have an opportunity to provide input on the recommendations.
If you are an IT professional or a supervisor receiving the survey, providing the most comprehensive information and honest feedback in the survey and in the follow up meetings is our best road to success. Constructive feedback and innovative ideas are always welcome from anyone in the university community.