Retrospective: Deputy CIO Reflections on First 6 Months

It is hard to believe I have worked for OCIO for 6 months. In that time I have come to understand the organization from many perspectives and where to focus efforts over the coming months. Before I get into those details, I would like to step back and address IT organizations at a more basic level. An IT organization fundamentally does three things:

  1. It channels resources and delivers services so end users can carry out their missions;
  2. It improves current services, establishes new services and fills in service gaps with custom solutions (which become services), and
  3. It retires services that are no longer meet the needs of the customer.

All IT organizations strive to achieve “Operational Excellence” which is…
     the right mix of services,
               at the right service levels,
                              at competitive costs,
                                   that the organization can sustain.  

The journey towards Operational Excellence requires an IT organization to continuously evolve and improve by making frequent, incremental enhancements to existing services and by completing larger service-related projects. The key is to always focus on making things noticeably better for end users. The challenge is to do so given the usual issues and constraints (lack of funding, time, etc.). Two key elements are necessary to achieve Operational Excellence.

“The key is to always focus on making things noticeably better for end users.”

First and foremost, it is a road that OCIO and IT organizations across OSU must travel together. As Deputy CIO, my role is to guide us on that journey. All of us manage resources (people, budgets, space, equipment, etc.) that help us carry out projects and provide services to our end users. For most of OSU’s IT organizations, budgets are getting tighter and demand for new and more sophisticated IT services is growing faster than most groups can respond. Our strategy going forward must be a hybrid one where we depend on each other for common types of services and different groups continue to specialize to meet faculty, staff and student needs. While many common services would be best positioned centrally, many others would be best provided by college/VP IT organizations. Not all common services will or should be delivered by OCIO.

Second, OCIO must be a trusted and trustworthy partner. There are a lot of terrific things happening within OCIO and we have some amazingly talented individuals working within this organization. For me, the frustrating thing is that this great work and these great people are not highly visible beyond the OCIO. What tend to be most visible are the hiccups. Over the next 6 months we will address this is through making our work more transparent and reducing friction in both our services and our projects.

For our services, I am asking our team members to reduce friction in the following ways:

  • Streamline and automate: continuously make our services smoother, faster, better.
  • Close last-mile gaps: make it easier for end users to find information.
  • Partner with end users: Find out what’s important to them and consult to provide a level of service that goes beyond incident response.

For projects, the project managers across OCIO are already working together to:

  • Remove resource bottlenecks: plan resource commitments better
  • Make all projects visible: provide and publish overviews and updates
  • Focus on the Top 5 Projects: PMs will look for improvement opportunities and use these projects as examples for PM improvement in FY16.

Finally, we are focusing on attracting and cultivating the right IT talent, both within OCIO and in IT organizations across Ohio State. The IT landscape has changed significantly over the past 10 years. IT staff must continually update their skills to be poised to meet evolving faculty, staff and student technology needs. We will explore ways to collaborate on training and mentoring programs, stretch assignments for current staff, multi-unit project teams, and other strategies to help IT staff across OSU grow and contribute in ways that are right for them and right for OSU.

I am energized by the opportunities that lie ahead and I am confident we will continue to make visible progress over the next 6 months. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas. Feel free to reach out any time to


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