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  • in reply to: Cleaning #868

    Kyle, thanks for raising the question. I am going to ask Tim and Greg to weigh in.


    in reply to: Communication, Collaboration, and Community #825

    Hi Cyndi and Chad,

    As always, thank you for your thoughtful input.  You bring up an important topic and, as Greg points out, one that is definitely at the forefront of our efficiency and effectiveness approach – reporting lines.  The formal creation of the ITO positions and having them report to the newly created Director for User Experience and Engagement within an evolving IT organization is a major upfront change here at UNM, and I firmly believe the discussion on this topic is worthy of additional attention.  I am both excited about the direction and sensitive to the concerns of pitfalls we need to avoid. My hope is that the approach we are taking to realize the benefits of this structure make both the excitement to improve and the sensitivity to “do no harm” evident.

    Elisha identifies that there are good arguments to be made for both consolidated reporting and distributed administration with better governance, and I agree. What I appreciate most about the consolidated reporting is that it establishes the authority to organize and work together efficiently and effectively as a unified IT team, across all lines, while simultaneously affirming and expanding an IT organization-wide commitment to meet and exceed needs from diverse areas of campus.  While this can be done in other ways, the formal lines give us the best opportunity to leverage the IT talent across UNM in an organized and accountable way to benefit both the individual units and the institution as a whole.  Dean Peceny did a very nice job of articulating his strategy for improving IT services in the College of Arts and Sciences over the last five years and then relaying his vision of the opportunity that the current situation creates.  I think he says it well and I believe our approach is in alignment.  You can see the clip from Dean Peceny at our 10/05/2016 Town Hall (at the 38:00 time stamp).   

    As I stated in Town Hall and you reference in your post, a major goal for the ITO will be ensuring that the needs of the area they represent are identified and met.  This will be a goal that the ITO is measured on; however, the shared accountability for achieving this goal goes well beyond the ITO and, when coupled with advisory and governance, permeates through the entire IT organization and to myself as CIO.

    You bring up the important point that technology needs around campus vary.  I agree there are unique needs due to the variety of work we do at UNM; we truly are a city within a city.  That being said, we cannot have a cookie cutter approach for all technology services.  We want to take the best of the best, have consistency where it is possible, but also enable flexibility where it is warranted.  We will work through the ITO to understand the needs and determine solutions collaboratively.  In doing so we will seek to leverage existing knowledge, address improvements where needed, and simultaneously work to avoid unnecessary duplication of services where we can. 

    Our guiding philosophy in all of this is not to negatively impact the things that are working. Specifically, we will not touch any distributed service until the service can be analyzed and understood. Even then, changes will only be made when opportunities for improvement are identified and approved.  The ITO will be critical in working collaboratively with the area they represent, the staff that report to them, and with other ITOs and IT professionals to identify and assess these service improvement opportunities.  The organizational structure will facilitate this.  While we will not always have 100% agreement on direction, we will absolutely have a well-vetted assessment with informing input from the people delivering and using the services today so that our advisory and governance groups can make educated decisions where needed.   We would expect greater alignment between centralized efforts and departmental needs than we have seen in the past by virtue of better governance and more formal yet collaborative approaches between Central IT Directors, ITOs and functional stakeholders in the schools, colleges and administrative areas.
    As we meet with folks around campus, we are fortunate to be identifying common ground very early on with a number of campus leaders and technology managers who share a vision for how we can improve IT efficiency and effectiveness.  Their support is allowing us to identify our initial ITOs in a way that is representative of campus and helpful in laying a solid foundation that we can build on. All areas of campus may not be ready to identify an IT officer immediately, and that is okay.  We have designed our onboarding of ITOs in a staggered approach that will allow for some areas to onboard later in the fiscal year when more foundational work has been completed and there are less unknowns and more defined answers to the questions you raise. 
    Finally, you mention funding.  The funding committee will be tasked with looking at how to fund IT services on campus in a more thoughtful way.  While they will look to fund the core from our existing resources and minimize the related fee-for-service, they will also have to give consideration to funding the unique needs of specific areas where cost sharing across the institution may not make sense. I suspect the model for funding those emerging needs will look much like it does today.  For shared services, I would expect that we will come to the table through Advisory together to seek funding.  For truly unique needs, I would suspect that the Dean or VP may identify the funding source or they may request funding from a higher level in the organization.  Regardless, these activities will be coordinated in an aligned way to target needs and outcomes and avoid duplication.
    I tried to thoughtfully cover all the key topics you have raised.  Please let me know if I’ve missed any.  I appreciate the opportunity to discuss these important issues with you and welcome additional feedback from you and others.

    in reply to: User Experience #823

    Will, thank you for starting a great thread!  You have captured a very important aspect of the work we are being asked to do. I like how you state the issue: “bridging the gap between technology and the services technology provides with the actual need of the user.”  ITIL is a fantastic framework and it lays a solid foundation for service delivery, when, as Rosalind points out, it is dynamically aligned to requirements, business needs and vision.  UNM’s adoption of ITIL really does set us up to deliver quality, repeatable services and to track and manage those services well.  As Walter states, it is still a framework.  When all is said and done, I agree with the thoughts I read here that we need to continue to improve the personal touch of working with individuals to truly understand needs and “own” issues together.  We have the right people to do this, and I look forward to working with the IT community to make it happen

    in reply to: Communication, Collaboration, and Community #820


    I hope you don’t mind my moving your two threads together, along with Chad’s.  I think the general theme here is formal reporting lines versus informal collaboration efforts.  By grouping these together, my hope is to make it easier for folks to identify the topic, avoid duplication, and keep comments related to this important conversation in a single place. Let me know if I am misreading the common issue and I will adjust.  You both covered a lot of important aspects in your comments and I am working on responding to keep the conversation going.  Will be back shortly!

    in reply to: Progress Site #817


    Absolutely.  We are working on a project plan and will be happy to share on the site and solicit feedback.  Stay tuned!

    in reply to: Communication, Collaboration, and Community #816

    Hi Chad,

    I’ve merged your topic with Cyndi’s, because I think they are related.  I will work on providing some input as quickly as I can.

    in reply to: Position Title and Working Title #813

    Great question, Grace.  We are beginning to work on job description(s) for the ITO for consideration as an actual position title.  We will include our early ITOs in this process. It is possible that the position will be at multiple levels, say an ITO 1, ITO 2, and ITO 3 depending on the size, technical complexity and other factors of the organization(s) they represent, similar to the Administrator position, but this is to be determined and requires HR guidance.  Your mention of a working title is a reasonable intermediary approach.  Until we have actual positions in place, the ITO is a role that in essence invokes a working title. I’ll touch base with HR on that. 

    in reply to: Position Title and Working Title #812

    Chad, equity is a good topic for both the ITO and other positions in the IT job family as you mention.  There are a lot of factors that go into equity review – experience, education, competencies, etc, when people are in same job titles performing similar functions.  We will work closely with HR Compensation as we move forward with the efficiency and effectiveness effort to determine appropriate ways to consider triggers for equity review and equity analysis.

    in reply to: Arts and Science: Shared Service Model #808

    What a great start to our discussion forum!  Grace, thank you so much for being the pioneer to start the dialogue with this important topic. Elaine and Walter have done a nice job articulating the approach, and I will try to expand.

    We used college, school and VP level administrative unit as the foundation for our ITO model, with the full acknowledgement that this will evolve as we learn more about IT service delivery across campus. Walter is spot on that there are some units, even at this high level, who do not have ANY designated technology professionals, and additional grouping is required.  As we do this it will be very important that we ensure that the ITO is able to develop a strong relationship with these additional units so the ITO can properly understand the area and represent their technology needs.

    It is also worth noting that there are other areas on campus that are at a level underneath college, school and VP unit that may have such a significant level of IT staffing and technology needs to warrant having some ITO’s at a lower level, such as department or center.  We will seek to identify these possibilities as we continue to have discussions around campus.

    In collaboration with the ITO’s, we will look to identify effective service delivery practices that are in place throughout campus, leverage the best of the best by working with the people delivering the services, and incorporate the combined knowledge into developing a more efficient way to benefit all with efficient and value adding improvements. 

    in reply to: Compliance #711

    Hi Chad,

    Thank you also for sharing your insight as we move forward.  You have good points and great questions, and I know we will have a better product because of it.  Clarifying compliance will be a very important aspect of the standard – I agree with you wholeheartedly and the Internal Audit and Compliance policy is the right reference.  To your point, the “Authority” section indicates: “The Compliance Office is authorized to:  1. Obtain the necessary assistance of personnel involved in compliance activities. To this end, the Chief Compliance Officer shall identify a network of compliance partners who have expertise in specific compliance areas.”  Internal Audit is specifically mentioned in the current draft, although not specifically determined as the group that will ensure compliance.  As the language and approach mature, we will make sure to incorporate the Compliance Office and other aspects of the policy as well.  As mentioned above, we will need additional direction from senior administration before the Compliance approach can be determined – it will not be a UNM IT decision. 

    in reply to: Group 3 Standards #695


    Thanks for your follow up on these.  Yes, I had been working on details regarding the Applications Standard and squeezed it in between your posts…  Workstation management is working on responses to Printer standards.


    in reply to: Application Development and Support Standard #693

    This is correct.

    in reply to: Application Development and Support Standard #692

    Thanks for the input Gabe.  Responses below:

    “The term Application needs to be defined.  What is the difference between a complex script or database package and an application? At what point does a body of code become an application?”

    The script or database package would either be a standalone application or part of an application, depending on function.  Even in those instances, documentation, versioning and the various steps of SDLC should be considered to ensure support, stability and maintenance. 

    “I am worried that the Scope of the Application Development and Support Standard inclusions and exclusions are going to be difficult to delineate.  The following have a high chance of overlapping:
    Inclusion: ‘All architectural/supporting technologies (such as coding languages, database management systems, operating systems, frameworks, mark-up languages….) that scaffold the development environment. This includes the technical architecture or infrastructure, used to support the development and delivery of applications to end-users.’

    Exclusion: ‘Specific technologies used to in any aspect of application development, such as servers, operating systems, compilers, backups, or network distribution software (iOS or Android, Java, Linux, Apache, Oracle, html, MySQL, php, for example).’

    For example Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP would be a typical development environment for a web application. This typical environment includes one operating system, and one database management system which are listed in the supported technologies.  So overall, the scope here needs to be clarified with clear points of dileneation.”

    Great point that it seems confusing and we will alter the verbiage to clarify.  What we are saying is this standard is not mandating a type of technology, operating system or technology to be used, but all the components of the environment from OS to the coding language should be considered as you architect, develop, document, support and backup.

    “General  Guidelines
    I do not recommend putting Guidelines in an SLA.  These should be a separate document since they are not actual requirements or be requirements.  All of these items are good things but it gives the impression that they are not mandatory or required or worse that they can be intentionally disregarded.”

    Thanks, Gabe.  The potential for confusion is noted and we are working to ensure that requirements versus recommendations are clearly differentiated.

    Is this a requirement?  What if SDLC doesn’t make sense for the specific project?  This seems to be in conflict with these scope exclusions:
    ‘Specific development frameworks, software or team management approaches, such as Scrum or Team
    Management Software.’ and
    ‘Specific approaches or industry standards used to ensure quality or process improvement, such as ISO
    9000, Capability Maturity Model Integration or bodies of knowledge for software engineering or project

    SDLC is a requirement, but the chosen approach to SDLC is not prescriptive.

    “Infrastructure, Equipment and Upgrades
    Should this be a separate SLA? It is far from the Application Development in my opinion.  It is hard to tell if some of the items in this section are just definitions or requirements.”

    These are included because they are critical decisions relative to application management and support.  

    “Infrastructure includes a development instance and an operational instance or environment used for development/testing and production processing. This includes but is not limited to operating systems, security patches, compilers, firewalls, databases, test and production data management, among others.
    Does the above mean all applications must have a development instance?  What about a local development environment, is that sufficient?  What are the requirements for a development instance? “

    Yes, and a local development instance would generally be fine.  We will update the language.  Requirements are pretty basic – a place to develop and test before promoting and impacting production, with consideration to the backup and version control of the code within the development instance.

    in reply to: Application Development and Support Standard #691


    Thanks for your thoughtful review.  Here are responses to your questions:

    “How does this standard relate to the Virtual Classroom standard or any other Standards and SLAs that will involve application administration, acquisition, and/or development?”

    To the extent that application management is involved, the Application Development and Support Standard would apply.  We will work hard internally to ensure that avoidable inconsistencies are eliminated and instead cross-reference standards appropriately.  We would appreciate your help in identifying these.  If there is an area that is more rigid in another standard, it is appropriate to follow the more rigid requirement.

    “Is there a size of application and/or level of application exposure that triggers formal adherence to a Development Life Cycle? Are there specific templates or forms required?”

    In general, the development life cycle will benefit any development effort and should be observed; however, it is appropriate to exercise judgement on the effort expended to meet the minimums relative to the size and impact of the application.  We will include this language in a revision.

    “I know the standard says that development philosophies are excluded from the scope, but the outlined process indicates a level of linear formality commonly associated with waterfall development rather than agile approaches. that’s not to say that agile methods should not follow the same life cycle, it’s more a question of what level of formality is expected.”

    The diagram appears linear because it is showing the various phases and we thought it easiest to explain this linearly, but the standard is not prescriptive on the approach taken.

    “Under Operation and Maintenance, I agree that at least two-weeks’ notice is preferable when outages are involved. However, there should also be a process for handling an Emergency Request for Change. Perhaps Change Management should be referenced.”

    Good point.  We have internal processes for change management and will look at whether this could be an institutional standard in the future.

    “Disposition or disposal: end user input is always good. How does this provision apply in the case of product end of life or end of support?”

    I agree that these situations should still allow for end user input with the appropriate understanding of constraints. We will adjust the language.

    “Is there a central repository for the minimum artifacts related to the Application Development Lifecycle? Is there an audit process? How will departments be able to proactively tell if their artifacts are meeting the standard?”

    There is not currently.  The SLA could follow the format we are using here for SLAs on the Discuss.UNM site, there are templates available for project management artifacts, etc. These templates are guides but are not a required format for others to use.  We will look to ensure we have links to templates where available.

    “Under upgrades, large systems are used continuously, which makes this provision unattainable: ‘Upgrade or refresh hardware and software during breaks in the semester or business cycle, or when an Application is offline so end-users are not negatively impacted.’ Change management processes and minimal disruption principles are encouraged in those instances.”

    We will note this as you indicate.  Great catch!

    “An emergency request for change process should apply here, too.”

    We will note this as well.

    in reply to: SLA & Standards Confusion… #685

    Perfect.  In follow up to the discussion at the last IT Agents, we invited Kevin to join us at the next meeting.  He is planning on attending and is looking forward to the dialogue.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 49 total)