Update on the State of IT at UC Berkeley

October 30, 2013

A message from Larry Conrad, AVC-IT & CIO

I’ve been remiss in keeping you all up to date and I want to rectify that right now.

These are challenging and exciting times for us here at Berkeley. Primarily, through the Operational Excellence initiative, Berkeley is attempting to do nothing less than reinvent the administrative support model for higher education in this country. We are all part of this once in a generation effort, one that is critically important in light of the systemic dis-investment in public higher education by states across the nation.

As many of you know, I spent my first months here at UC Berkeley listening to faculty, staff, and student leaders across campus to help me better understand the campus IT environment and determine where we need to focus our time and attention to most effectively support the University mission and strategic goals.

I heard that Berkeley is fortunate to have many excellent IT staff who are committed to moving the institution forward. But I also heard there are concerns about the quality and responsiveness of centrally provided services. I also heard that campus IT units are perceived as fractured and not working together in the way the University needs us to. Candidly, we’re behind in a number of critical areas, and need to do a more cohesive and consistent job in deploying recognized Higher Ed IT best practices, and in bringing our services up to the level needed here at Berkeley.

I presented the results of my “listening tour” to the IT Leadership Group and together we are in the process of prioritizing projects and initiatives to address the issues and opportunities identified above. At the highest level, we have identified a number of key areas of focus related to the feedback I received, including:

  • Focus on the fundamentals of IT Service Management
  • Deliver excellent customer service
  • Expand customer engagement and governance
  • Improve the security of University data and IT assets
  • Improve research and academic support
  • Support Campus Shared Services
  • Modernize campus enterprise systems

One of the objectives most crucial to our success is building a better sense of community and collaboration across campus IT. As many of you have heard me say, I’m convinced that, for the most part, our customers don’t know or care which team provides their IT services. They just want all this stuff to work, and when it doesn’t, we’re all suspect. It’s in our collective self-interest to work more closely together to efficiently meet Berkeley’s IT needs. To this end, and as part of the overall plan for this year, we will be launching something we are calling the “One IT” initiative to build community, to better engage partners across campus, and improve IT services to students, faculty, and staff.

This is just one of the things we are planning, and you will be hearing more details about the larger set of goals in the coming weeks, but I wanted to let you all know that this work is happening, and provide an overall context for what we will be focusing on.

Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions about any of this.