Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Don't be a tinkerer

Raechelle Clemmons is CIO for St. Norbert College. In a brief video interview for "CIO Minute" (from EDUCAUSE) Clemmons explains why it's important for CIOs to stop tinkering with small changes and start making dramatic shifts in their approach to higher ed IT.

Too often, IT leaders look at budgets and try to make incremental changes. That's especially true in today's financial climate. Driven to reduce costs, IT leaders try to fix their annual budgets, driving small changes here or there, according to the financial whims of the organization. Clemmons reminds her her team at St Norbert not to think "outside the box" but to challenge why the box is there. Don't think about the box but dramatically re-think things.

At Morris, we're about to enter another fiscal year planning cycle. In the last several years, my IT unit has used this time as an opportunity to re-evaluate how we work. We've worked with other groups across campus to explore new solutions. For example, we have retired old systems and migrated off old tools - providing direct benefit to efficiency, and to our bottom line. And we have used the budget planning process as a way to explore new opportunities.

Sometimes these experiments require an initial investment, and fortunately at Morris we have a Technology Fee governance process that can provide limited funding to start new ideas. In a few weeks, we'll have completed the TechFee governance process for this year. I hope to see many new investment opportunities that advance technology at our campus.

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