Indiana University

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. What is the purpose of the new strategic plan?

A. Empowering People will focus and guide IU’s investments in and stewardship of information technology across the university for the five or more years ahead. The plan provides a basis for coordinated action across the university in pursuit of excellence and leadership for Indiana. It serves as an aspirational and practical roadmap for IT at IU, that through evolutionary steps will move IU forward to revolutionary outcomes.

Q. How was the plan developed?

A. The planning process was a focused collaboration of some 140 people across the university, led by Professor Frank Acito, Kelley School of Business, and chair of the University Information Technology Committee. He worked with four taskforces who represented these perspectives: faculty and scholarly excellence, student success, an effective IU community, and engagement beyond IU. The overall goal was to develop recommendations and actions that would accelerate the human-centered use and application of IT. Ideas for the plan came from individuals’ direct experiences using IT in classrooms, labs, offices, residence halls, libraries, and while abroad. Planners also identified resources and services that would support the IU community in achieving future excellence in the university’s missions of teaching, learning, research, creative activity, and service.

Q. What are the main goals of Empowering People?

A. Empowering People comprises three central strategies for continuing to develop IT at IU to support the missions of the university and to achieve excellence and leadership in IT. These are the strategies, with their shorthand names in parentheses.

  1. Continue to invest in and develop the IT infrastructure of resources and services that support faculty, staff, and students.
  2. Adopt a human-centered approach to developing and implementing IT systems and applications, so that the IU community can make optimum use of these resources.
  3. Focus on a few key challenges where IU can achieve true distinction.

The plan’s 15 general Recommendations and 72 specific Action Items are organized under these three strategies.

Q. How does Empowering People differ from the first IT strategic plan?

A. IU’s first strategic plan, developed under the direction of then-VP for IT Michael McRobbie, built a sustainable infrastructure of information technology and services across the university. This earned IU recognition as a high performance computing and networking powerhouse.

Empowering People continues to build on IU’s IT infrastructure, but goes beyond architecture and services. It calls for IT investments that support and align with IU’s strategic objectives, its human skills, organizational structure, operational capabilities, and existing areas of leadership. It also takes a human-centric approach to developing and implementing the IT systems and applications that enable the IU community to fully and creatively use IU’s IT resources. It also focuses on developing a few key areas in which IU can achieve true distinction, e.g.: accelerating IT-intensive research, and medical and health-care education.

Q. How will IU fund continuing improvements in IT given the current climate of economic restraint?

A. There is no new funding stream that covers advances in information technology at IU. In general, UITS finds funding through its own internal budgetary practices. For example: An internal UITS council conducts a continuous economic review of UITS to ensure efficient use of resources. UITS is in a five-year cycle of rolling back 5% of its base budget every year, for a 25% base rollback over five years. The savings that accrue from this practice help cover the cost of new initiatives. Also, UITS leverages existing resources to develop new ones that maximize efficiency and enhance the productivity of the IU community. UITS may also free up internal resources by moving the focus from an old technology or practice to a new, more financially sustainable one. Overall, UITS and the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology (OVPIT) will continue to be careful stewards of its resources.

Q. This is a long-term plan. What can we expect to see in place in the near term?

A. Many initiatives are underway, and others planned for the near future. These include expanded wireless; an improved web presence, including better search; improved videoconferencing; greater access to applications on the web; better systems to support collaboration; moving to smaller devices; extending virtualization services to cut costs and improve sustainability, and so on.

Q. How will EP be implemented?

A. The Office of the Vice President for Information Technology is responsible for implementing Empowering People.

Each of the plan’s 72 Action Items will follow an implementation plan. UITS develops these plans collaboratively with members of the extended IT team; partners across the university; and, in some cases, partners and stakeholders outside the university (e.g., Clarian Health, other higher education institutions, etc.). The wide involvement of stakeholders is key to successfully realizing the vision of the strategic plan. You can view implementation plans as they are developed, and observe progress on them via the web site. See “How do I read the plans for implementing a specific Action Item?” below.

Q. Why do some Action Items have implementation plans, and others do not?

Empowering People (EP) charts a course for developing IT over the next five or more years. When the plan was developed, some of its initiatives were already underway, some were planned for near-term implementation, and others will be put in place over the course of some years. In a broad sense, though, all UITS activities address some part of Empowering People.

The plan provides for the evolution of IT at IU. For that reason, the pace of implementation will vary among its Action Items. Some implementation plans are still to be developed. However, discussion and work on all initiatives in Empowering People has been underway for some time.

These are some of the factors that affect the pace of implementation.

  • As a long-term plan, EP is evolutionary by design.
  • The plan is far-reaching over a number of years.
  • Some initiatives (and implementation plans) depend on technologies that are not yet implemented at IU or that are still in the development stage.
  • Some implementation plans have dependencies with other Action Items or implementation plans. In other words, advances in other areas are required before action can begin. For example:
    • IU is waiting for a fundamental technology to mature.
    • IU is building a partnership with other universities that is key to implementation.
  • Some initiatives are so long-range that planning is still in its earliest stages. This is especially true of the Action Items in the visionary and far-reaching “Grand Challenges” section of the plan – those related to Recommendations 12-15. These may rely on new technologies under development, or may involve building or strengthening relationships with other entities in research, academe, or industry and to leverage those partnerships. Implementation plans will be added to this site as they are developed.

Q. How do I access the complete Empowering People?

A. At the EP home page, click the icon of the plan pdf below the left nav bar.

Q. How do I read a specific Recommendation?

A. At the EP home page, in the left nav bar, at “Go to Recommendation,” type r (for recommendation) and a number, e.g.: r9. –or- At the EP home page, in the Recommendations field in the center column, click a Recommendation short name.

Q. How do I read a specific Action Item?

A. At the EP home page, in the left nav bar, at “Go to Action Item,” type a (for action) and a number, e.g.: a9. –or- At the EP home page, in the Recommendations field in the center column, click a Recommendation short name. Its Action Items will appear in a list. Click the down arrow to the left of the Action Item you want.

Q. How do I read the plans for implementing a specific Action Item?

A. At the EP home page, in the left nav bar, at “Go to Action Item,” type a and a number, e.g.: a9. You will see the text of the Action Item, followed by an arrow to click for the implementation plan.

Q. How do I comment on the plan?

A. Your feedback and comments are welcome on all aspects of EP, and on the implementation plans.

There are various ways to provide feedback.

  • At the EP home page, click the link “Submit a comment.”
  • As you read a specific Recommendation or Action, use the “Comment“ link on the relevant page.
  • As you read an implementation plan, use the “Comment” link on the relevant page.
    • You will be asked to authenticate using CAS. You’ll also have the option via checkbox of allowing UITS to publish your comment on the web site. UITS will review all comments and publish overviews (or specific comments, with permission) as needed.
    • If you would like a response, please supply your contact information. [Do we want to offer this? Could also say: UITS may occasionally respond to or address certain comments or groups of comments . . .]

Q. How can I track progress on an Action Item or implementation plan?

A. To come.

Q. Why do we experience continual change in information technology at IU?

A. IT is a critical university resource globally. It supports the university ’s missions of creating knowledge, teaching and learning, research, and enterprise business. Continued innovation in the development and use of information technology will help IU remain competitive in securing the best faculty, staff, students; take advantage of funding opportunities; and compete for recognition and visibility.

To continually realize value from IU’s investment in IT, IU must take advantage of new IT developments that allow greater efficiencies and optimum productivity

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