UNM IT officials, at a town hall meeting earlier this week, provided potential solutions — some already in place in some departments — to combat inefficiencies brought to light in report earlier this semester.
One of the report’s suggestions was to streamline necessary procedures in order to make things less difficult across all University entities, but that is easier said than done, said Brian Pietrewicz, IT interim deputy CIO.
“One of the main themes of the report is that the University is spending a substantial amount of money on IT, but we are not getting a return on our investment,” Pietrewicz said.
Walter Valdez, IT manager at the College of Arts and Sciences, said the college is the largest academic entity of its kind on campus, servicing 4,000 machines and devices in addition to 2,000 staff, faculty and student employees.
“We have to come up with an efficient and effective way to distribute our services,” he said.
Valdez said they started by developing teams, based on skill sets, within the department. This allowed them to communicate, work together and discover better ways to serve departments.
“We asked ourselves, ‘What’s the new and great thing we can do to start helping the college?’” he said.
Arts and Sciences would move onto working with other departments and identify standards that could be provided University-wide, Valdez said.
“We wanted to make sure that we were able to provide services reliably at high quality, no matter what size your department is,” he said.
The college sees the opportunity to collaborate across all departments, as IT is constantly changing and transparency is key to determine how to solve problems, Valdez said.
Greg Gaillard, IT technical support manager, said Anderson School of Management went through consolidation in 2008 and needed to seek a way to stretch their resources, adding that efficiency was needed in order to refocus efforts on important communication avenues.
In that instance, IT identified pools of resources and restructured work flows in a system of limited resources, he said. All levels of IT were reviewed in order to provide differentiated services that the University required.
“The excitement we see is that we can do more with what we have in different ways by learning from each other,” he said.
IT Manager of Institutional Support Services John Reindorp said he has experience looking at efficiency, and finding services that are redundant.
ISS began by assessing different departments through an auxiliary program and found that many IT desks provided the same service, he said. ISS encompasses important services such as the bookstore, parking, transportation and Popejoy Hall.
“The services we provide now are above and beyond what they were and are able to provide services to departments who didn’t have it before,” Reindorp said.
The goal is to stay with the University mission, he said.
The next step of ISS IT was to find out what their customers needed, said Sue Van Cleve, IT Manager at the Physical Plant Department, and finding a way to provide efficient and reliable service to 10 departments has always been the main objective.
“Our core mission is to keep business rolling without interruptions, and the customers never know,” she said.
Elisha Allen, IT director of UNM Extended Learning, said the online-based system has gone through a series of mergers to increase effective use of resources and best serve the needs of the University.
“We need to address service gaps, and make sure we are not damaging anything in the process of building something new,” Allen said. “Collaboration is critical to success and will help us design a meaningful future that preserves and builds on our history.”
The consolidations involved pedagogy and student services, Allen said. They have continued to merge with new media and extended learning with media technology services.
“We’re a better organization because we are able to draw on the combined expertise of the groups,” he said.
UNM Learn supports 14 percent of all credit hours and 61 percent of hybrid and web-enhanced credits, Allen said.
This has freed up the resources to upgrade IT services, classrooms, labs and standardize server management, she said. IT officers will be chosen dependent on their experience with centralizing IT services and producing effective and efficient services within their departments.
“Their background in seeking to make it work effectively is well known and appreciated and gives us a solid platform to work on,” said Duane Arruti, interim IT CIO.
Nikole McKibben is a news reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @nmckibben92.