IT Leadership Team joins the discussion around IT’s FY23-28 strategy

July 8, 2021

VP Council presentation and discussion

John Barden shared highlights from his VP Council Presentation and set the stage for a lively discussion on IT’s strategic path. He started by looking back to 2017, when he joined the organization and was focused on advancing IT’s governance, leadership, operational practices, and culture. At the time, the goal was to ensure that IT was effectively collaborating and sharing accountability in supporting the mission of the university. He noted how far the team has come in shifting IT’s culture and tone “from technologists leading the conversation to taking a more collaborative approach and supporting university objectives.” He credits the establishment of three strategic anchors, selected and owned by the IT team, with helping to clarify purpose and empower action.

Moving ahead, the focus will be on developing a planning framework for FY23-28, and exploring how to best leverage foundational goals for the benefit of the university. One step toward developing a planning framework was resetting the Balanced Scorecard, “which represents broad views, or lenses, through which we look at goal setting.” Year by year IT has been working on individual objectives that help to advance those strategies, and on June 23 the IT SLT met to develop an updated list of objectives. John emphasized the importance of engaging staff around these areas of focus because “these aren’t individual goals, they are shared objectives for our whole team.”

He shared his key considerations for FY23-28, organized by pillar. Lisa Sawin, who was facilitating the breakout room discussion, asked the Leadership Team to identify opportunities, challenges, and adaptations that might be needed to best support each of these areas moving forward. The breakout rooms were randomly assigned, to give the leadership team an opportunity to think from an organizational perspective, outside of their own service lines. Highlights from those Leadership Team conversations are as follows:

Academic IT

  • Increase internal discussion around pillar objectives to gain a greater understanding of goals
  • Strengthen the relationship between FAS/IT leadership and anticipate their needs
  • Retain learnings from COVID, such as creativity and innovation, while also digesting problems before jumping to technology solutions

Administrative IT

  • Improve TMS and motivate people to take training, including Workplace of Choice trainings
  • Conduct an audit of what’s working and what’s not working, and how that aligns with strategic anchors

Clinical IT

  • Enhance processes, such as creating uniforms standards, supporting paperless processes, and more
  • Address challenges, such as those related to accreditation processes
  • Unify Health Services IT areas
  • Support Clinical IT and inform best practices in automation

Cultural Heritage

  • Expand development opportunities beyond application development
  • Focus on virtual shifts and take advantage of expanding the virtualization of collections

Foundational IT

  • Share tools to encourage a self-service model and focus on standardizing
  • Understand security: requirements, expectations, and associated staffing needs
  • Provide visibility around rates and charges and reduce legacy agreements

Research IT

  • Expand research technology support to seamlessly support researchers on campus
  • Continue to enhance responsiveness when supporting research activities
  • Strengthen liaison role, and familiarize with research priorities

These suggestions will be considered in the planning process for FY23-28 goals. Additional information about IT’s strategic plan will be shared at the upcoming Town Hall, on July 29.

Ask John anything

Besides the VP Council, you mentioned a recent meeting with the Deans. Across these groups, what kind of guidance or reactions did you get?
When I met with the Dean’s, we were trying to engage them in future budget planning and technology choices. We want to be sure to engage them so that they are aware of why we’re making certain IT investments and ensure that they have more direct influence on that decision-making. This group was incredibly receptive to the way this strategy has taken shape. Overall, they are pleased with our progress and trust our approach.

How many positions are currently open and are we tracking any gaps?
We have a number of phased retirements as well as staff who have deferred. However, we are actively recruiting for 18 positions and have added five positions to the FY22 budget. We regularly request that additional hires are added, but we also want to be sure that we’re hiring for critical priorities and that these positions (and their descriptions) are in alignment with our long-term goals. Where there is undue pressure, we are also occasionally hiring consultants. However, this is not a strategy we are applying broadly.

One IT at Yale