Information Services provides update on campus software project

Computer station

Creating efficiency, reducing duplication, optimizing spending and creating equity in IT services across campus are the goals of a series of projects aimed at streamlining software management at the University of Oregon.

The next steps in the enterprise university applications program will include reorganizing governance groups and internal processes to better reflect the university's needs and align with its priorities.

That update was shared by Jessie Minton, vice provost for information services and chief information officer, and Melody Riley, associate chief information officer for applications and middleware, at a virtual town hall meeting in June. The program is part of Transform IT, the university's information technology restructuring process.

Last summer, a project team found more than 1,100 applications in use at the UO, at an aggregate annual cost of $8.9 million, excluding staffing costs. That team provided recommendations for improving the purchase, development, management and support of software applications.

For example, with Zoom and Microsoft Teams available campuswide, departments currently using other videoconferencing applications may be able to switch to one of those two tools. Other areas with potential for software consolidation include office productivity and file storage, room and event scheduling, customer relationship management and password management.

Since Riley's arrival at the university in September, she has worked to determine how best to proceed with the rationalization process, considering both the long-term vision for enterprise applications and the path to achieve that vision.

"We want to reorient around capabilities, focusing on what UO faculty, staff and students are trying to do and the problems they're trying to solve," Riley said. "We want to develop and operationalize a model that will grow with us, one that includes hearing the needs of the university."

In Riley's vision, UO employees will be able to interact with a searchable catalog of available software and will have the opportunity to consult with Information Services, making it easier to find a technology solution that meets their needs. Operationally, key stakeholders and IT staff would come together at the conception of an idea and follow it through to delivery.

As a starting point, Riley plans to oversee a series of structural adjustments within Information Services and in the service advisory boards that inform its work.

"For the next few months, we'll focus on realigning that foundation," Riley said. "Then we'll reassess those structures on an ongoing basis to make sure we're continuing to meet campus needs."

Along with the realignments, Riley's team will be conducting "opportunity assessments," looking for areas of high need or high potential to increase the value per dollar spent. Once those opportunities have been identified, Information Services will assemble teams of technical and nontechnical staff, partnering with departments to assess the current state and identify the desired future state.

Existing and new service advisory boards with representation from across the university will provide feedback and guidance at the portfolio level to help prioritize projects and develop road maps for implementation.

University IT staff will be invited to participate in work groups throughout the enterprise university applications program.

A timeline and other details are available in the presentation slide deck on the Transform IT website.

Although the town hall meeting wasn't recorded, Riley is available to share the same presentation with departments throughout the university. Anyone interested can contact her directly at melodyr@uoregon.edu.

—By Nancy Novitski, University Communications