Center for Information Technology Services
Important Factors to Future IT Success
Relationship Building. As our focus is directed even more toward service and support, and in particular, service and support to faculty for research and teaching and to students for learning, relationships between the information technology organizations and functional, academic areas, become increasingly more critical. In the past, an alliance between the technical group and the constituencies it serves was often not an easy one. A technology organization can build a technology environment which can make educational advances possible. However, only faculty can generate research and move pedagogy forward in a developed technology environment. Thus, relationship-building between IT staff and faculty, with each party sharing responsibilities and educating each other, is critical to enhancing research, teaching, and learning with technology. Faculty involvement in the development of "research and teaching with technology models" will not only make these models technically correct, but also worth using. In addition, it is important in a dynamically changing environment that internal offices, both functional and technical, communicate often.
Strategic Alliances. In addition, relationship-building with vendors, businesses, other universities, USM offices, and the State government is growing in importance. Strategic partnerships and alliances can be a "win, win" situation for UM and the partnering organization. University partnerships can help in expediting the resolution of problems, finding solutions, expediting implementation time, sharing resources, and ultimately saving money.
Innovation. In today's information technology environment, "time is of the essence". The greatest change agents in world history were first and foremost great innovators. These people were not necessarily risk-takers, but as Richard Katz, Vice President of EduCAUSE states, they had a "relentless pursuit of innovation". Innovation in higher education today can be used to help faculty generate research and teach, students learn, and universities profit from new funding sources. Faculty development centers, student learning labs, profit generating entities, and alliances with private, non-profit, educational, and State organizations are examples where innovation can rejuvenate individuals and the traditional educational process. Exciting and innovative technology programs can offer excellent supplemental benefits to UM.
E-business, I-business. Some people refer to it as E-business and others as I-business, but whatever you call it, it is rapidly developing and it will significantly affect the higher education industry. The delivery medium is the Internet/Web and it includes internal organizational business processes as well as business transactions with external organizations. Environments in use, in development or on the horizon at UM are: on-line educational learning environments capable of supporting new pedagogical approaches and creating new forms of learning communities (including distance learning communities); integrated enterprise-wide software applications and re-engineered processes; and, on-line interactions and transactions with prospective students, students, faculty, staff, and administrators. The ability of information technology to enhance research, teaching, learning, and administrative processes of the University has never been more apparent than now.
IT organizational efficiency. The IT organizations today must have a thorough understanding of University business issues. Members of technology organizations at UM must continue to grow in their knowledge of functional processes and continue to be technology experts and opportunists. These organizations must continue to be nimble, flexible, and creative in managing technology and resources. Almost all decisions are now based on the business decision-making model, in order that both informed and efficient decisions are made. Leadership and the effective management of technology initiatives are critical to success. Most importantly, the organization must be responsive to school and University needs and each individual must continue to be service-oriented.
Marketing the University and the IT successes. Technology, as a means and a medium, can be used to "connect" to prospective students, inform publics, and expose the University, and everything it has to offer, to a wide audience. A showcase of technology, with innovative solutions, can be used as a benchmark by other universities and organizations --- thus, promoting the work at UM. Technology can be that catalyst for achieving organizational and institutional success --- successes that resonate within as well as outside of higher education circles. A showcase of technology can and will showcase the unique trademarks of The University of Maryland.