ITServices Strategic Plan

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1 ITServices Strategic Plan

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3 The Queen s ITServices Strategic Plan serves as a document to focus and guide ITServices efforts to support the university s academic mission through information technology services. It identifies the department s emerging internal priorities, strategic choices, and responses to several key forces for change in a rapidly evolving operating environment a journey over five years as the department evolves its capabilities to meet challenges both new and old. ITServices Strategic Plan

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5 Executive Summary Strategic Plan ITServices provides information technology expertise, infrastructure, and services critical to the academic and research missions of Queen s University. This strategic plan anticipates the future development of a campus IT plan and responds to dozens of forces for change affecting the department s role, including the opportunities and impacts of the university s Academic Plan, Research Strategic Plan, new budget model, risk management issues, the relentless pace of technological innovation, and the prospect of a more integrated, enterprise vision for managing IT in collaboration with other university departments and external partners in the community. ITSERVICES STRATEGIC PLAN

6 Queen s ITServices ITSERVICES is responsible for the operational cycle for enterprise facilities, hardware, software, and applications including planning, design, procurement, deployment, management, monitoring, user support, and decommissioning. ITServices is staffed by approximately 120 employees overall, working in smaller areas of expertise such as infrastructure, client services, support services, administration, campus computer sales, and audio visual services. Small IT units across campus operate in conjunction with ITServices to provide localized support. Approximately 245 IT Admin Representatives across campus provide a communication link between ITServices and academic, administrative, and research organizations. A FRAMEWORK FOR AN ITSERVICES STRATEGIC PLAN: As a significant stakeholder on campus, ITServices has taken the opportunity to reflect on its support of the Queen s mission and evaluate the future direction of the department from both a technical point of view and also a multifaceted perspective as a service organization. Many key events highlighted the need for a formal Strategic Plan and motivated departmental change to address this need. In October 2011, a new Chief Information Officer and Associate VP (Information Technology Services) arrived and by January of 2012, he engaged the ITS Leadership Team in an offsite working retreat. During this retreat, core responsibilities of the Leadership Team were identified and working groups were chosen as a mechanism for supporting that team. The Strategic Plan Working Group was then launched in February 2012 and began designing a process to gather information from stakeholders on campus and within the ITServices department. This informed the development of the framework for this Strategic Plan. 4

7 A Mission Statement for ITServices: ITSERVICES Mission Statement helps clarify the department s core purpose or reason for being. Typically, missions do not change substantively over the short term, and ITServices will continue to fulfill its mandate: To establish and maintain information technology services chosen by the Queen s community and to support the university s position as one of Canada s leading learning institutions. This means enabling Queen s students, faculty, staff and alumni to be, as the university s mission states, among the best of the internationally known universities in Canada, recognized for: the exceptional quality of undergraduate and graduate students and programs in the arts, sciences and professions; the intellectual power and value of research and scholarship by faculty members and students; the exemplary service of the university and that of its graduates to the community, the nation and the community of nations. ITServices develops, promotes and supports the application of information technology (IT) by members of the Queen s community through group and individual initiatives in teaching, research, scholarship and administration. It does so by: Providing direct leadership as an agent of change Developing IT expertise throughout the university community Providing a dependable IT infrastructure Fostering cooperation and partnerships in IT activities, both within and outside Queen s Developing and maintaining effective administrative systems in partnership with those responsible for these processes ITSERVICES STRATEGIC PLAN

8 A Vision Statement for ITServices: As we move towards 2017 We are an organization focused on enabling Queen s success, building strong relationships, and fostering innovation. We are respected partners who thrive on collaboration and provide proactive IT leadership to the Queen s community to help it realize its goals. We attract exceptional talent, nurture successful careers, and recognize the importance of professional and personal growth. We celebrate successes of our own, and of those we work with. ITServices is on a journey, building on its past as an enterprise service providing applications as a support to academic, research and administrative activities. As new academic plans, research strategies and budgeting models come into effect, the department must continue to evolve as more of a collaborative resource to the Queen s community, providing both core IT services as well as expertise and proactive leadership. Increasingly, ITServices will work with Queen s and community partners in a more integrated model, with an enterprise vision, to achieve its goals of excellence. To fulfill this role effectively, ITServices must first be exemplary in its ability to attract, retain, motivate and develop a talented pool of professionals with a diverse range of specialized skills. It must also develop core competencies in critical areas such as collaboration for innovation and excellence; project management; customer service orientation; and trust built through transparency, accountability and demonstrated competence. Statement of Values and Guiding Principles: When values are incorporated into daily activities and guide important decisions, they define an organization s culture some would say that what a team values is a strategy in and of itself. The ITServices organization will be guided by the following values FIRST FLEXIBILITY We believe that flexibility in our services and the university s IT infrastructure is essential if we are to fulfil our mission and enable the success of Queen s. INNOVATION We value and nurture creativity, always seeking new and better ways of working with the university community, enabling innovation and change, and improving productivity. We think creatively, embrace change and take risks. We want individuals and teams to develop the capacity to discover, create and act on opportunity. RESPECT We believe that a culture centered on integrity, respect and transparency is core to our success. We earn trust, are accountable, and take responsibility for our decisions. We strive to instil respect in the relationships we build with others, and to reinforce it at every opportunity. SERVICE We strive to achieve excellence in service by meeting the needs of the Queen s community. We are responsive, reliable and our can do attitude is evident in the development and delivery of our services. TEAMWORK We are one team with shared goals and a strong spirit of collaboration. We roll up our sleeves to help each other succeed. We encourage individual leadership at all levels to ensure we achieve our goals. We work hard together and value having fun along the way. 6

9 ITSERVICES STRATEGIC PLAN

10 The Operating Environment for ITServices: Forces for Change TECHNOLOGY AS AN EMBEDDED COMPETENCY: Digital information and its tools and technologies are organically embedded in today s teaching, learning, research and administration functions. Technology is no longer an optional, add on or supplementary tool. At the same time, the campus population takes for granted the availability of certain core IT functions that serve common needs, such as network access, Internet, mobile capabilities, Web access to academic and administrative material, electronic classrooms, financial transactions and 24/7 availability. Implications: If ITServices is to continue to effectively meet its users needs and keep pace with the number and features of services required in the future, it must have the appropriate structure, planning capacity and resources to move forward. QUEEN S ACADEMIC PLAN 2011: The academic plan emphasizes that teaching, inquiry based learning and a transformative student experience need to be grounded in the active inquiry approach of research activities. It specifically notes issues related to virtualization and online learning, and the Student Learning Experience pillar of the plan further identifies the Learning Commons, Library, and Centre for Teaching and Learning, as key to fostering fundamental academic skills. Implications: While all the impacts of these new directions have not yet been fully identified, it is clear that ITServices will be expected to work closely and effectively with many university and community partners to provide leadership, expertise and services to support innovative implementation of the Academic Plan, blended learning and distance education. STRATEGIC RESEARCH PLAN : The strategic research plan identifies local and international research partnerships and collaboration as a key strategy for developing and sustaining research activities at Queen s. Establishing an electronic research project management system (TRAQ) will also be an important initiative, and sufficient IT resources will be needed to meet compliance and accountability obligations. Implications: As with the Academic Plan, requirements and expectations for IT leadership, expertise and collaboration are increasing. NEW BUDGET MODEL: A new model for budgeting at Queen s is being implemented to ensure resources and funding allocations are aligned with academic goals, provide incentives to encourage planning and innovation, and enhance the transparency of decisionmaking. It proposes allocating funds generated by faculties and schools directly to them. In turn, allocations from faculty budgets would cover the cost of the shared services they use, such as Information Technology Services, Human Resources and Physical Plant Services. The new model is to be implemented in May Implications: While ITServices has always been accountable for providing cost effective services, it will now have to adapt to closer scrutiny by many masters and more actively demonstrate the value it delivers for dollar spent. The pressure and complexity of finding better processes through shared, centralized services is also likely to increase. IMPORTANT RISKS TO BE MANAGED: No operating environment is without risk, but three important priorities for risk management have been identified for particular attention in this strategic plan: Staffing: It is a challenge to attract and retain appropriately skilled and experienced staff, particularly at senior levels, putting the university at risk of having critical functions understaffed, under skilled, or being potential single points of failure. This is a consequence of competition for a limited talent pool, university salaries being less competitive than in the private sector, and few rewards or compensation for employees linked to merit. Vacant positions also place a burden on other staff, creating a risk of burning out existing key resources. Security: This remains a continuing concern in an era of hacking, memory sticks, online data storage, cloud services, rising concerns about privacy and confidentiality and, increasingly, data transfers involving those outside the Queen s system. Downside of Independent Decision making: While there are several advantages to distributed decisionmaking and flexible approaches to meeting IT needs, there are also risks of suboptimal decisions related to purchasing, data security, standards, support, application compatibility and duplication of effort. 8

11 Strategic Directions for ITServices: The ITServices Strategic Planning identifies four strategic directions or pillars as areas for special focus, effort and attention over the next five years. Input for the development of this plan also highlighted Service and Leadership as core values which are understood to be incorporated as parts of all activities and planning. The four high level strategic pillars are: 1PEOPLE Active talent recruitment, development, and management Agile and integrated teams Appealing work environment 3PARTNERSHIPS Engaged university, vendor, and community relationships Ease of service adoption Integrated IT initiative/plan 2ORGANIZATION Clear roles and mandates Close, trusting teamwork Evidence based decisions and accountability 4TECHNOLOGY Position Queen s as a leader Best suite of technologies to meet university needs Optimal service methods In the following material, these four pillars are developed into a series of goals and strategies that frame the development of tactical annual objectives and operational plans by individual business units. ITSERVICES STRATEGIC PLAN

12 ITServices Goals and Strategies 1PEOPLE THE CHALLENGE: If we are to adapt to the opportunities of fast changing technologies, meet the challenges of the university s academic mission as well as the expectations of faculty, researchers, staff and students, we need to invest in developing our staff. Our strategies must ensure that ITServices becomes a high performance organization that is agile, responsive and trusted, while thriving in a culture of accountability and assessment. THE STRATEGIC GOAL: Attract leading talent and keep them engaged and empowered by committing to staff development and professional growth through clear career paths and recognition. STRATEGIES: 1 TALENT ATTRACTION/RETENTION/ DEVELOPMENT: Develop and implement a formal Talent Development process to recruit the best talent and help them develop along clear career paths in ITS, whether those roles are in People Leadership, Technical Leadership or Project Leadership. 2 STAFFING STRATEGY: Fill senior roles by developing and promoting junior staff, and use market factor compensation and other appeals to attract external candidates to vacant positions that can t be filled internally. If vacancies still remain, use contractors and other means to fill gaps. 3 AGILE, INTEGRATED HIGH-PERFORMANCE TEAM: Identify and implement a consistent Performance Management and Evaluation Process for ITS, complemented with a supporting organizational structure and a recognition and rewards framework. 2ORGANIZATION THE CHALLENGE: To become an agile, integrated high performance team, ITServices must address organizational development issues created when there is lack of process, exceptions to process, undefined parameters, duplication of effort among different teams, a lack of procedural trust and reciprocity in relationships, or difficulty in negotiating the complexity of the department s organizational structure. As the organization s traditions and culture change to meet new challenges, it will also help to base decisions, policies and accountabilities on data and other forms of evidence rather than on anecdote or intuition. THE STRATEGIC GOAL: Forge a shared sense of purpose and priorities, employ unified and coherent processes, and develop leadership aptitude to build an enduring service culture across the organization. STRATEGIES: 1 STRUCTURAL ALIGNMENT: Define a clear operational mandate and core responsibilities for the organization, and restructure ITServices and the leadership team to support it. 2 TRUSTED WORKING RELATIONSHIPS: Build procedural trust through process and procedure improvements, and foster reciprocal working relationships within ITServices. 3 PRODUCTIVE SPACE: Streamline processes by locating teams with related work close to one another. To support a healthy workplace, enhance the condition of physical spaces in terms of cleanliness and ergonomics. 4 EVIDENCE-BASED CULTURE: Establish new routines and approaches to decision making that encourage a culture of assessment through data collection and measurement tools. 10

13 3PARTNERSHIPS THE CHALLENGE: To succeed with a more integrated, centralized operating environment, ITServices must meet the university s information technology requirements by working ever more closely with partners faculties, departments, research centres and administrative units at Queen s; critical suppliers and vendors where Queen s has long term strategic, interdependent relationships; and with partners in the community. This means ITServices must be excellent at communicating, building relationships and trust, and facilitating the development of a shared understanding of what is needed to ensure enterprise class services, scaled to meet the needs of a large university. THE STRATEGIC GOAL: Develop partnerships on and off campus to introduce innovative and cost effective ways to meet campus IT requirements in a changing environment. Build trust in service decisions through transparency in planning and budgeting. STRATEGIES: 1 BUILD PRODUCTIVE WORKING RELATIONSHIPS INTERNALLY, EXTERNALLY, AND WITH VENDORS: Foster trusted, reciprocal working relationships with units and IT Admin Reps across campus; continue initiatives like the Project Portfolio Office to advance transparency, inform decisions and leverage investments through enterprise solutions. Collaborate with external partners to extend services and resources beyond Queen s. Develop a vendor relationship management program focused on a few strategically important vendors that play a critical role in the delivery of ITServices for Queen s. 2 SERVICE ADOPTION: Engage internal customers at Queen s to systematically work through resistances and/or remove barriers to the adoption of our IT services. 3 LEADERSHIP FOR ENTERPRISE IT PLANNING: Developing an enterprise vision for IT at Queen s should be a top priority, and ITServices should lead in that effort. (An initial step in that role is the ITServices Peer Review.) IT decisions and investments at Queen s must be framed by a common vision, backed by shared governance, accountabilities and enterprise staffing strategies. An integrated Queen s IT plan must also highlight several key issues: the breadth of Enterprise IT scope, complexity, resource implications, production support requirements, investment options and institutional risks. ITSERVICES STRATEGIC PLAN

14 4TECHNOLOGY THE CHALLENGE: Queen s desire to be a leader in higher education in challenging times with continuing fiscal constraint means ITServices must ensure the information technology portfolio is optimized to meet universityidentified needs and budgets. As technological change continues apace, the department must respond with new initiatives, policies, approaches, applications and services. THE STRATEGIC GOAL: To be seen at the fore among Canadian universities, ITServices must select new technologies and service delivery methods that effectively support the university s business requirements. It must also learn from and share learning with the Canadian university community. ITServices can maximize efficiencies through training, automation of overheads, and (where needed) retirement or replacement of ineffective services used at Queen s. STRATEGIES: 1 RETIREMENT OF AGING SERVICES: ITServices must take the initiative to encourage users to give up old, inefficient/support draining technologies, finding a balance between the useful and costefficient lifecycle of services vis à vis the demands and preferences of campus users. 2 CLOUD SERVICES: The cloud offers both opportunities and challenges for university information technology. ITServices must explore and take advantage of cloud services whenever appropriate to meet needs while satisfying security, control, budget and other constraints. 3 PLANS TO ADDRESS ONGOING OPPORTUNITIES: ITServices will develop long term technology plans to address mobile applications and services, bring your own device issues, the need for financial sustainability for IT at Queen s, and green IT. 12

15 Implementation of ITServices Strategies for Annual operational plans for the department and each unit A strategic plan is often called a living document. It should provide strong direction, but not be a straightjacket. It should be revised regularly as circumstances change, progress is made and new challenges emerge. A strategic direction is still just a wish or a dream unless it is translated into concrete objectives for action with timelines and assigned responsibilities in other words, who does what by when. The ITServices Leadership Team will provide oversight for the launch of the strategic plan, with a continuing support role for the Strategic Planning Working Group with respect to coordination and implementation of annual objectives for each unit. Once the ITServices Strategic Plan has been confirmed (or updated in future years), each unit s contributions to the approved strategies will be needed to bring the plan to success. In some cases, units will be able to take independent action, or collaborative action with one or more other units, to respond to these strategies. In other areas, a department wide approach will be required, with participation from all units in those coordinated efforts. Each unit s plans should include operational objectives for each strategy and include the following: Activities based on the People, Organization, Partnerships and Technology strategies Intended/Desired Outcomes Measurements of progress and success Budget requirements Allocation of resources Timelines Responsibilities assigned to a lead and others ASSESSMENT AND MONITORING: The CIO will assign responsibilities to a representative group for the regular assessment of progress and review of the plan on a regular basis (at least annually) to ensure strategies are effective in achieving the desired outcomes and that deliverables from our operational planning are moving the organization forward towards meeting its goals and fulfilling its vision. TIMELINE FOR THE COMMITTEE responsible for evaluating progress and recommending adjustments to the Strategic Plan: MAY: Set up the committee terms of reference and membership JULY: Initial assessments of progress on implementation of the strategic plan to be completed and adjustments recommended for the next year DEC: Findings to be reflected in next year s planning cycle TIMELINE FOR APPLICATION OF METRICS built into the yearly operational plans for each unit: MAY: Objectives for fiscal year complete AUG: Operational plans in place OTHER METRICS: The department will conduct and review a Gartner IT Maturity Score annually, and other surveys (e.g. Customer Service Satisfaction) as appropriate. Do you have questions or comments for us? Let s start a conversation. Call us at or us at

16 ITServices Dupuis Hall Queen ' s University Kingston, on Canada k7l 3n Queen s University Marketing

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