Taking Stock at the 2-Year Mark

March 3, 2015

A message from Larry Conrad, AVC-IT & CIO

Dear Colleagues,

Last week I celebrated my second anniversary here at UC Berkeley. It has been a very busy two years, and we’ve made distinct progress on many campus-wide IT projects and initiatives. We have also made great strides in improving products, services and support provided to campus customers, both in OCIO/IST and other campus IT units. This seems like a good time to take stock of some of the key accomplishments and consider some of the challenges and opportunities we face.

The list of important accomplishments by campus IT is considerable.  Some examples include:

  • Completing the first phase of the new student information system (SIS) replacement project with the selection of vendors (Oracle Peoplesoft and Sierra-Cedar) and then initiating the implementation phase;
  • Launching the University's first sustainable shared research computing cluster (the Savio cluster) as the inaugural service of the Berkeley Research Computing program;
  • Reducing the campus information security risk posture by implementing an expanded information security strategy program. This includes establishing the positions of Chief Information Security Officer and Campus information Privacy Officer;
  • Automating support for the Campus Shared Services IT program to significantly reduce the life-cycle cost of supporting University-owned computers;
  • Implementing the new Contracts and Grants, CalTime, and Cal Central enterprise systems;
  • Establishing the One IT initiative and the IT Community Council organization, to build community among campus IT professionals and improve collaboration to improve services; and
  • Establishing the new IT governance structure, which will guide the prioritization, funding, design and use of IT for the campus in support of strategic priorities.

These successes represent just a portion of the many accomplishments and a fraction of the strategic value that IT is delivering to the campus community. Together, we are operationalizing and supporting foundational systems, as well as partnering with campus departments/units to implement innovative solutions that further the University’s mission.

We also have challenges to overcome and there are opportunities where we can improve IT services and support.  I’m confident that through strong partnership and collaboration, we will be successful in making continued improvements and better support our customers.

Some of the key challenges and opportunities we are concentrating on include:

  • Addressing the continuing budget challenge by, improving our efficiency and effectiveness, and making well informed and prioritized business decisions to benefit our customers;
  • Successfully completing the Student Information System replacement project;
  • Working with our academic partners to improve teaching and learning support for faculty;
  • Continuing implementation of the Berkeley Research Computing program to improve support for the Berkeley researcher community;
  • Focusing on the fundamentals of IT service management (ITSM) to provide high value, high quality, and effective services for our customers. This includes the consolidation of multiple ticketing systems into a single system on the ServiceNow platform; and
  • Partnering across the UC system to leverage competencies at the various UC campuses to provide cost-effective IT solutions.

I want to thank all of you for your support, hard work, initiative and stellar results. There are many more important projects and initiatives underway than I have touched on here. You’ll see a more complete assessment in the Campus CIO’s Annual Report, which will be released soon. I look forward to continuing to work with all of you as we build on our strengths, confront our challenges, and continue to provide excellent IT services and support to our campus customers.

Go Bears!

Larry Conrad, Associate Vice Chancellor for IT and Chief Information Officer