During fiscal year 2005, the VP for Student Affairs appointed an interim director of information technology. The purpose of the appointment was to examine the appropriateness of IT consolidation at the division level to conserve resources and create consistency. At the time of the appointment, a high degree of IT service duplication existed among the various departments. This duplication had been studied by division IT staff who recommended that consolidations could be made in many areas.
On September 1, 2007, the Department of Information Technology (DoIT) was created. The first department consisted of 3 full-time equivalent employees (FTE) – the director and two systems administrators. The first project to be completed was a consolidation of division email, which successfully took place in fall, 2007.
In 2008, a System audit of Student Affairs IT (as yet unconsolidated) found significant issues and opportunities for improvement among most of the department-level IT groups. No significant findings were issued for the division-level IT department. The major areas of findings were:
- Lack of oversight and coordination at the division level
- Lack of an acceptable standard of basic IT functions such as disaster recovery, access control, patch management, and record-keeping
- Lack of risk & compliance oversight
- Lack of application development controls
As a result of these findings, the VP for Student Affairs made the decision to consolidate all IT under the newly created department. The philosophy was that we should reinvest any capacity and/or resources into IT, rather than reassign those resources elsewhere. At the time of the consolidation, there were 16 departments and 8 functional IT groups in the division. A plan for consolidation was created and consolidation projects were initiated for all departments save one – Student Counseling Service. At the time of this writing, consolidation of all IT groups and services with the exception of the Student Counseling Service are complete.
Results of Consolidation
As a result of the consolidation, the overall cost of core IT services to the departments has remained the same since 2007. No increase has been assessed to the departments. The overall budget of DoIT has increased 13.9% in seven years, largely due to funding increases from the (now defunct) Student Service Fee. A large portion (8.4%) of these increases covered merit and benefits for staff over the last seven years, leaving an effective increase in IT funding of 5.5%. The number, quality and consistency of services has gone up dramatically. We have decreased our overall number of IT FTEs from 31 (in 2005) to 28 today while increasing the number of departments supported and services provided. We have created capacity to provide the following services which were not available under the unconsolidated model:
- Dedicated Project Management
- Dedicated Risk & Compliance
- Dedicated Database Management
- Continuous Integration and Delivery Application Development Architecture
- Division-Level IT Governance
- ITIL Framework implementation across all teams
We have decreased our data centers from 12 to 2. We have consolidated all services into a unified virtual machine infrastructure with high availability and redundancy. We have added two optional enterprise services for our departments, both at a per-use cost:
- Surveillance Cameras (currently 665 cameras – the largest installation on campus)
- Digital Signage (currently 71 signage players)
Note: Camera and Signage Player counts are as of November 2017.
It is important to note that the increase in services and specialized personnel were possible primarily through recouped capacity as a result of the consolidation, and not due to the 13.9% increase in budget. The fruits of consolidation have, indeed, been reinvested into IT.