Initiative 2: Strategic Technology Planning

Create a sustainable strategic technology planning process that engages the campus community, adapts to evolving campus priorities, communicates key planning milestones, and aligns with UNLV’s academic calendar and other strategic planning cycles.

The IT Master Plan is designed to guide the university in making strategic technology decisions that set priorities, improve service delivery, and leverage investments to build an IT foundation capable of supporting UNLV’s Top Tier aspirations. As the Plan is being implemented, technology will advance, UNLV’s current strategic initiatives will continue to be refined, and new strategic directions will emerge. Infusing ongoing strategic technology planning into the UNLV culture will ensure that the IT environment adapts to changing needs and anticipates new directions. Building that culture depends on the following:

  • Strong, ongoing plan sponsorship from senior leadership
  • Clear communication to stakeholders as initiatives are implemented
  • Faculty, administrators, and staff promoting changes that are in the best interest of the university
  • Willingness to redirect existing technology resources
  • Ability to secure additional resources in response to changing business needs
  • Achieving a balance between addressing immediate challenges and building the foundations necessary to achieve longer-range strategic goals
  • A strong IT governance structure

The Chief Information Officer and the Technology Advisory Committee have specifically been charged with overseeing a strategic planning process that ensures:

  • Campus involvement
  • Alignment with campus strategic directions
  • Annual goals are established
  • Securing resources to meet plan initiatives
  • Annual assessment of progress on plan goals and initiatives
  • The Plan remains relevant through annual updates

Alignment

The strategic directions of the university are rapidly evolving to support Top Tier. Additionally, the requirements associated with maintaining regional accreditation, campus activities in support of UNLV’s Core Themes, and initiatives for maintaining Hispanic Serving and Minority Serving institutional status will need to be periodically reviewed to maintain alignment of the technology plan with campus strategic directions. Specifically, the Plan must evolve accordingly by:

  • Setting priorities that align with and help meet university strategic directions (e.g., Top Tier and Retention, Progression and Completion (RPC) initiatives)
  • Ensuring decisions regarding technology investments and services support the strategic directions
  • Providing periodic updates to the IT Master Plan that align with evolving system-wide and campus plans (e.g., Workday Plan, Campus Master Plan, Academic Strategic Plan, Research Master Plan, Academic Health Center planning)
  • Being responsive to constituent expectations for individualized uses of shared technologies

Campus involvement

Sustaining the Plan will require a collaborative process that targets outcomes supported by the entire campus community. Ensuring the Plan continues to meet campus needs requires including the right blend of individuals in the governance process and engaging campus constituents to determine new needs and changing requirements. Many changes will be non-technical and may entail cultural shifts, process redesign, policy adjustments, and/or budgetary modifications. Gaining and maintaining the support of the campus will require clear, consistent, and regular communication.

Two new groups designed to increase stakeholder participation in the governance process, the Research Technology Team (see Initiative 1) and the Cyber Security Team (see Initiative 8), will provide additional expertise and breadth to the planning process. In addition to more inclusive governance, the planning process will provide the campus community with opportunities to voice opinions, ask questions, and share insights into technologies impacting pedagogy and research within their respective disciplines.

Annual goals

Continuous attention to the alignment of the IT Master Plan with university strategic directions coupled with ongoing feedback from campus constituents sets the stage for updating the Plan and re-evaluating priorities. Those priorities must be translated into achievable annual goals with recommendations for securing appropriate resources. The annual goals and objectives should be widely shared and progress towards completion of each should be proactively monitored and communicated.

These annual planning activities provide a predictable roadmap that allows campus constituents to partner with IT to transform the IT environment from a foundational service to a key strategic asset.

Strategic planning for a CIO

Many of the initiatives in the Plan are dependent on hiring a Chief Information Officer. Initiative 1 empowers the Technology Advisory Committee, under an interim leader, to oversee strategic implementation of the Plan until a CIO is on-board.

Initiative Owner

  • Chief Information Officer
  • Technology Advisory Committee

Consultative Role

  • Technology Review Board
  • Standing Campus Technology Groups

Budget Estimate

No direct costs are associated with this initiative, but implementation will require time from internal resources and the active participation of faculty, staff, and students.

New Positions: 0 FTE; Total One-time and Recurring Costs FY16-FY19: $0

Action Items to Implement Initiative

  1. Communicate the plan to the University community.
  2. Institute an ongoing planning cycle.
  3. Ensure technology planning continues to align with the strategic directions of the university.
  4. Develop mechanisms for collecting, assessing, and addressing campus feedback.
  5. Establish priorities and create milestones for completing initiatives.
  6. Optimize the IT Master Plan roadmap to align with the CIO hiring process.
  7. Provide an annual progress report.

Anticipated Benefits

  • More predictable technology roadmaps.
  • Increased engagement from the campus community in setting technology priorities.
  • More strategic technology spending.
  • Technology changes become increasingly proactive.
  • IT planning is sufficiently agile to support strategic opportunities.

Measures of Success

  • Academic and administrative stakeholders are included in IT planning.
  • The IT Master Plan is referenced in university strategic planning and decision-making.
  • Annual milestones on the established planning cycle have been met.
  • Plan updates are based on constituent input and are shared widely.
  • Annual reviews of the Plan demonstrate significant progress on initiatives.
  • Technology spending and decisions align with the Plan.
  • Annual reviews of the Plan reflect alignment with university strategy.

>Contextual Information

Peer Institution Research

Both Arizona State University (ASU) and George Mason University (GMU) have created IT strategic plans. While the plan at ASU is more reactive than proactive, the plan was developed to tie the technology vision to the strategic plan of the University.

The University of Oregon (UO) has established a Campus Technology Counsel whose scope includes defining a strategic vision and plan for technology services that is aligned with the strategic direction and mission of the university. The Council has purview over instructional, research, and administrative computing strategic planning, including technology infrastructure and appropriate balancing of central and distributed technology resources.