IT Strategic Plan

Goal #3: Make it easier for faculty and staff to do their work

Along with ensuring that systems are available when faculty and staff want to do their work, there are three components that work together to ensure that faculty and staff can use technology effectively - the work they need to do must be available in digital form, the interface they use to do their work must be simple enough to use without training, and/or appropriate training must be provided.  Our plan for addressing this goal contains all three components.  

Initiative #6: We will simplify access to and use of university data and knowledge. 

Data Warehouse

CMU's Data Warehouse is positioned to become a vital source of data for decision-makers across the university community.  Designed to produce both easily consumable reports, as well as large data sets for campus super-users, the Data Warehouse will see significant enhancements over the life of this plan. While continuing to work closely with the Enrollment Management Committee to define and deliver a suite of reports and dashboards to help campus offices make more informed decisions regarding the recruitment, acceptance, enrollment and retention of students, we are also, in FY14, planning to expand financial reporting, design and plan a new Central Data site, provide the data necessary for official government reporting, enable single sign-on into the warehouse, pilot proactive broadcasting of reports, and form a PowerUsers group to foster its greater use and continued improvement. FY15 and FY16 will see increased automation of report generation and distribution, implementation of a new Central Data website, more dashboards, and further expansion of available data types.

Knowledge Base

During FY13, OIT released a knowledge base that allows the CMU community to search the Help Desk database for help articles relevant to specific CMU systems and services.  The use of this knowledge base is in its infancy - its existence is not widely known, we have not surfaced links to it as widely as we'd like, and, though it contains all the information in the Help Desk database, there are other sources of information, technical and otherwise, that we'd like to explore adding.  During FY14, we will publicize its presence, drive more traffic to it, and build a plan for incorporating more content.  FY15 and FY16 will see further additions of content as determined in our plan.


Over the next three years, we intend to develop dashboards that pull together the data and information needed by large portions of our workforce who work together and with our students to do the most strategic work of the university.  The Advising Workbench discussed in our first goal is the first such dashboard.  It allows students, faculty, and professional advisors to view and work with academic data from SAP through an easy-to-use, web-based interface.  As noted, continued expansion of the Advising Workbench is planned through FY15.  In FY14, we will begin discussions with the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) intended to address workflows and materials used across the research mission and to lead towards development of a Research Dashboard in FY15 or FY16.
This initiative contributes to the success of institutional priorities relating to Student Success, Research and Creative Activity, and Infrastructure Stewardship.  It also addresses IT strategic realities by enabling the mobility of faculty, staff, and students; informing business decisions, including those regarding recruitment and retention; promoting the effective use of technology; delivering more effective IT services; and providing better management of the university's data.  We will document the success of this initiative by tracking usage and conducting periodic surveys designed to determine the effectiveness of these services.

Initiative #7: We will digitize significant institutional records and work towards automated Record Retention.

The Office of Information Technology has recently assumed ownership of the CMU Record Retention Schedule.  In FY14, OIT will recast that schedule and augment the information collected.  Alongside that effort, through expansion of our digital imaging system noted elsewhere in this plan, OIT will continue moving CMU towards the primacy of digital records in major administrative areas - student, employee, and financial.  Also during FY14, we will review the state of digital records to determine whether a pilot project to digitize some portion of our cross-campus staff records can be undertaken during FY15.  If it can, we will plan and pursue a pilot for FY15.  If it can't, we will identify the gaps that render a pilot build of a digital staff record impractical and address those during FY15.  FY16 and beyond will see projects to digitize other record types from the list above.  

Our long-term goal - extending beyond the scope of this plan - is to see all significant university records in digital form and to not only enforce, but automate, the university's record retention policies.  Other anticipated benefits accruing to this initiative will include opportunities to categorize our data, clarify its ownership, and automate its correction and maintenance.
In moving the university closer to the goal of managed digital records, this initiative addresses the university's Infrastructure Stewardship priority, as well as the additional strategic needs to enable the mobility of faculty and staff, provide more effective services, and better manage university data.   

Initiative #8: We will provide training on those technologies most critical to CMU's success.

We will use our very limited training resources to focus on training initiatives that promise to delivery the most value to the success of this plan.  For FY14, our focus will be on providing training intended to foster responsible and effective use of the university's web environment.  We'll reexamine that focus at the beginning of FY15 to determine whether the web needs to continue to be our training focus.

Alongside the web training effort, the Office of Information Technology will be working with campus business offices to develop "Super User Groups" for technologies used campus-wide - web development, reporting services, and digital imaging are initial targets for this approach.

Through its investment in faculty and staff, this initiative supports the university priority regarding Quality Faculty and Staff.  Also, by fostering increased leverage of CMU technology investments, it supports the Infrastructure Stewardship priority.  We will use participation rates and survey results to determine the success of this initiative.