IT Strategy & Management

1.  Describe the IT governance system that was in place at the University of Southeast using both decision rights and structures as the bases of governance.

The IT governance system used by the University of Southeast is to say the least a little ridiculous.  It is understandable that the IT department wanted to call the shots when it came to what they wanted to do for the company and how they wanted to benefit from investments, but there cannot to be unilateral decision making in such an institution.  The Managing & Using Information Systems: a Strategetic Approach describes governance as all about making decisions that define expectations, grant authority, or ensure performance.  There needs to be a kind of conversation between all departments in the company in order to find the best solution for not only the faculty, but also the students.  The IT department believed that holding all email accounts on one server was a safe and constructive idea when it came to security for each account, however there are other hazards that are involved in this process. Faculty members complained about emails being sent to an email that they did not even know existed or one that they never checked.  Students and coworkers were being redirected to the email listed on the single server, which was in-turn listed on paper in the directory.  Once something is put on paper there is little a company can do to rescind the statement.  It seems as if the IT department cared more about themselves than they did about the students and faculty.  They valued security for their clients, but only so that they were not harmed if information was taken or emails were rerouted.  They did not care about the ease of use on the part of the user.

Faculty also lost control over the ability to archive emails and which particular messages they wanted in this folder.  The IT department set up a system where certain emails are archived based on some kind of algorithm and the users wants are again not being taken into consideration.  Another decision that was made for faculty was their email address, staff was not allowed to decide on this aspect of communication.  While this is upsetting to many, I think that it is not a big deal per se and does not need to be a key issue with the department.

2.  The CIO wanted to implement a centralized IT governance system.  As demonstrated in this case, what are the advantages of a centralized IT governance system?What are the disadvantages?

Some advantages of centralized IT governance is the quick and easy pace that the IT department is able to make decisions.  It is certainly easier for them to implement ideas when they do not have to run them by another department, who may refuse their request.  The IT department is also able to request funding for a particular product or software with less tape to cross because there is no one monitoring them, leading to more expensive products.  This one software that the department invested in did not seem to be as helpful as previously believed.  The department pushed for its incorporation into the school, they wanted to incorporate web based lecture capture courses, in which lectures could be recorded and then distributed to students who signed up for the class.  This would allow for more students to a class, thus more college applicants, thus more money in the university’s pocket.  However, things did not work out as planned; many students who had been enrolled in classes with this specific functionality were not given access to the lectures and often times they did not work.  Authentication seemed to be an issue and would often block students from downloading the content promised to them by this new software.  When students went to IT&R for help they were redirected to their professors who did not have the slightest clue how to help them because they had either not been given enough information on the software or they were not tech savvy.

1.  In your opinion, what assignment of decision rights would be best for the University of the Southeast? Please explain.                                                                            The decision rights should be mostly in favor of the professors at the college.  The policy making originally had very little input from the professors and instructors from the college.  The IT&R made most of the policy decisions based on other colleges, administrative offices, and advisory boards.  The faculty was not asked about the new system of digital lectures either.

It seems like the university is using an IT Monarchy for its decision making when it came to the installation of the new lecture capturing software.  Faculty was not asked if they wanted to have the new software installed and decisions were not being made in their consideration.  The university would likely benefit from having a federal type of IT governance.  As the University of the Southeast is a large college, each schooling department probably has different needs and services that they need from IT.  Having a person from each department help in the IT decision making process would help.  The current type of IT monarchy that the university is using is very bad for both the students and the faculty.  Faculty usually have the interest of the students in mind but if the IT&R is not taking the faculty’s demands into account, the whole school will suffer.

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