NextGen Michigan

IT Assessment

Who and what were assessed?

As part of the ongoing transformation of campus information initiated in 2009, the university conducted the first-ever comprehensive assessment of information technology as it is currently distributed and provided at the unit and campus level.

A strategic approach to IT cost-cutting in Higher Education

A strategic approach to IT cost-cutting in Higher Education

The current economic downturn requires a strategic approach to cutting IT costs. High-performance organizations successfully reduce overall costs sharply and for the long term, shifting spending toward IT capability and new mission focused capabilities while stepping up IT performance at the same time.

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Who conducted the assessments?

At the conclusion of a competitive bidding process, Accenture was selected to conduct the unit assessments.

Accenture is a global management consulting and technology services company. Accenture has worked with a number of research universities—including Yale, Ohio State, and the University of Illinois—to develop IT strategies designed to improve IT alignment with the educational and research missions of the institutions. This work also included increasing the ability of the universities to leverage their IT investment more effectively across campus and to improve responsiveness to researchers, faculty, and administrators.

Unit Assessment Planning and Preparation

Each unit assessed received a pre-assessment planning document in advance of its unit-specific meeting. This workbook is designed to help prepare the unit for what to expect during the assessment. It identifies the goals of the assessment and provides a comprehensive outline of the assessment components, including what data and other information should be brought to the assessment workshop.

In addition to the inventory, the assessment will provide detailed recommendations for unit-level IT sourcing, opportunities for cost-savings, and introduction or expansion of value-added, differentiating technologies.

Assessment Summary

Accenture met with unit staff and carried out an assessment methodology that resulted in an operational and financial inventory of each unit's current IT environment. The inventory includes:

  • applications
  • desktop/personal computing environment
  • hardware
  • infrastructure
  • networks

From February–July 2010, Accenture conducted more than 200 workshops and interviews with schools, colleges, institutes, and other units. A graphical representation of the IT inventory developed by Accenture shows the current sourcing and frequency distribution of IT services by category as self-reported by units during the workshops and interviews. This graph is a high-level campus snapshot.

Accenture analyzed the input and provided both unit and campus level recommendations. We now have a comprehensive assessment of IT at Michigan, and have learned a great deal about our strengths as well as areas that need improvement.

Assessment Recommendations

What happened with the recommendations?

The assessments provided unit and campus leadership with data not previously available to make data-driven decisions about reducing IT expenditures. Successful implementation of assessment recommendations should both protect existing IT strategic investments and facilitate new technology innovation.

At the unit level:

  • Deans and Directors received a comprehensive final report from the assessment team.
  • Deans and Directors used recommendations to decide on appropriate sourcing of IT within their unit and whether to make any new IT investments or adopt new strategies.
  • Decisions about any new funding are determined by the Provost.

At the campus level:

  • Cross-campus working groups helped with the analysis and provided critical support throughout this next phase. These working groups drew from the best expertise across campus in a variety of academic, technical, and business areas.
  • Recommendations were reviewed and prioritized by IT governance councils and committees.
  • Requests for adoption of recommendations and/or new funding are forwarded to the IT Executive Committee for final decision.