U. Central Florida is rearranging its IT structure

(University of Central Florida)

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The University of Central Florida is reorganizing the chief information officer’s department structure and hiring a new deputy CIO in charge of planning and operations, including finance and operations management.

The restructuring, announced Monday, moves the institution away from a flat organizational chart to a tiered chart, with a chief technology officer, chief information security officer and two deputy CIOs. The chief technology officer position is currently filled with an interim selection, and UCF leaders said they’re down to selecting from among finalists for the new deputy CIO position.

CIO Matthew Hall told EdScoop he believes that the new structure will enable more shared IT services for the campus community. UCF’s new tiered structure for IT groups different initiatives, like cloud and infrastructure or data services, under specific leaders, with the CIO serving as the head of university-wide strategy.

“The transition is how do we move from that flat, inward IT operations-centric focus to a mission-enablement, external focus, where we’re trying to see what are we doing to help enable the mission,” he said. “Then also how do we get more management control standards and consistent practice in distributed organizations or federated organizations, and that’s the trickier part of the conversation.”

The reorganization of the CIO’s department is one of the first steps in a university-wide audit of IT services and structure, including Hall completing a “walking tour” of the university. He refers to the work done so far as more of a “counting” stage.

“You’ve got to get a sense of all the discrete components, the people, the assets, the expenses, and try to determine what are the social structures, both informal and formal, inside the organization,” Hall said.

Hall, who started as CIO in February, said by connecting with students, staff and administrators across campus, leadership can assess needs and try and address them together instead of giving top-down decrees. Implementing shared services began in part before Hall got to the university, and further shifting IT around requires getting feedback from deans and different departments to understand how a more centralized model might affect operations.

That concern isn’t necessarily for the infrastructure and technology at the university, but more user support, Hall said.

“The general frustration is how do I get good service from a central team that doesn’t understand what I do, where I live, how I work,” he said.

This July through December, UCF will work on “planning for the plan” for its IT department, he said, including picking which applications to incorporate and which to cut that aren’t being used. In campus conversations, Hall said that there were 1,000 applications “discovered” that could support the university’s mission. For example, the university is exploring how to better incorporate Linux resources for its researchers.

“[It’s finding out] what are the tools of a modern university and what tools should the institution provide to our community as a whole and what are parochial to a particular department or discipline,” Hall said.

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