Strategic Plan

The university’s IT capability has developed substantially over the recent past with increased growth in both IT service supply and demand. While IST has increased its offering and the quality of its services, we are faced with major challenges that we need to overcome. To properly prepare for the future is to recognize the importance of, and plan for, the intersection of academics, people, and technology.

To address the challenges facing the department, IST has developed a three-phased approach titled: Reset, Reshape, and Refocus. The phases will concentrate on four strategic themes: sustainability, transparent value, process improvement, and research, teaching and learning.

Strategic Update - Fall 2017

Learning Technologies Ecosystem

The Goal: To create a responsive learning ecosystem that provides a powerful platform for teaching and innovation.

For the past quarter, project owners have been developing the framework that will support an integrated teaching and learning ecosystem. Some of the major steps taken include establishing IT governance, upgrading eClass, testing proof-of-concept for transitioning eClass to a cloud platform, piloting a mobile assessment service, reviewing classroom technology, and testing application visualization software. Furthermore, the Learning Technologies Advisory Committee was formed, and their first meeting is scheduled for the end of September. The Learning Technologies Advisory Committee will concentrate on defining the principles under which they operate and coming up with a framework to help make decisions on what teaching and learning technologies the university should look to invest in.

Going forward, the Learning Technologies Ecosystem initiative intends to develop a rough draft of what should be included in the teaching and learning ecosystem, complete their investigation of transitioning eClass to cloud, and continue developing the mobile assessment tool.

Application and Data Integration

The Goal: To provide a dynamic and flexible foundation for exchanging data fluidly across applications and enable the transformation of data to information based on business purpose.

The Application and Data Integration initiative has been gaining momentum while focusing on discovery and literature review. A number of integration initiatives are running in parallel, leveraging available technology with Ancillary Services to improve ONEcard and EDRMS interactions. We have engaged two vendors in a non- committal light discovery to help us understand platform as a service (iPaaS) so we can see how these kinds of tools broker integration between multiple sources, gain a stronger understanding of their capabilities, and formulate the questions we need to be asking as we move forward. Staff members have been added to the Application and Data Integration initiative, most notably Mark Edwards as the Program Manager and Semyon Chaichenets as part of the Solutions and Standards team.

For the next quarter, the Application and Data Integration initiative will aim to put a solid project plan in place, understand the questions we need to ask before moving forward on new technology, hire a Data Architect/ Analyst, begin executing multiple work streams towards a common goal, and engage in discussions on data governance and standards.

Student Lifecycle

The Goal: To create a cohesive student lifecycle, governed and operated by the business area owners and valued by the student.

This quarter, the Student Lifecycle initiative had three major goals: to determine what principles the Student Lifecycle stakeholders will abide by, to establish information sharing between group members, and to identify members’ shared priorities and create a heat map. All three goals were met, which lays the groundwork to meet the initiative’s future needs. Initiative team members are also starting to engage students across the university to explore their perspectives on the student lifecycle and what improvements need to be made.

Next, the Student Lifecycle initiative intends to determine an institutional framework, a method for gathering requirements across a group, the best way to work collectively, and a system for implementing decisions across different units. There is also a desire to tweak formal governance to include the student lifecycle stakeholder group, and there are plans to meet with the Registrar’s student advisory committee to gain more insight on the student lifecycle from the students’ perspectives.

Cloud Adoption

The Goal: To establish a state-of-the-art platform that enables users to access, store, develop, and test computing capabilities through a secure, sustainable, and flexible environment.

One of the biggest milestones the Cloud Adoption initiative achieved this quarter was getting the project approved and started. This included creating a cloud initiative business case, which was approved by IST executives. The project charter was also created. With the business case and project charter established, the Cloud Adoption initiative has a clear path forward, and funding is secured for the initiative. Rick Fix has been identified as executive sponsor of the project, and Peter Mah as sponsor. Core team members were also added to the Cloud Adoption initiative team with Robert Burt as Project Manager, Judy Yang as Technical Lead, and Jason Ross as Business Analyst. The goal now is to continue building the team with both internal and external resources, conduct requirements gathering, and create a cloud sandbox to operate in so teams can start experimenting with cloud.

Moving forward, the Cloud Adoption initiative will grow and leverage resources from multiple teams across IST in addition to the core team. The cloud sandbox will be available by the end of October, and the list of requirements will be done by November. Project planning is in progress with key work areas started, and a Cloud Journey Simulation Workshop is planned for the IST Executive to bring exposure to key decision points

RESET, RESHAPE, REFOCUS

This Strategic Update has been developed to keep the university community informed on projects currently in progress under the IST Strategic Plan. For more information on the strategic plan and initiatives, contact ist@ualberta.ca.