The items below constitute a high-level summary of the challenges faced by Information Technology at CMU as described and informed by the CMU Strategic Plan, input from the CMU community during the strategic planning process, and day-to-day technical realities. As noted below in "Our Strategic Plan," each of the goals and initiatives included in our plan addresses multiple elements of our strategic environment.
Supporting the CMU Strategic Plan
The CMU Strategic Plan addresses five areas of focus for the university in the years ahead - Student Success, Research and Creative Activity, Quality Faculty and Staff, Community Partnerships, and Infrastructure Stewardship.
Supporting the evolving academic mission of CMU
The increasing reliance on technology for the delivery of educational components and the continued trending online of a significant portion of the academic activity of existing programs place increased demand on the IT infrastructure of the university. In addition to continued demand to support the traditional classroom environment, the need for 24/7/365 services across our service portfolio increases our staffing and support needs and requires new and more robust approaches to systems design, hosting and delivery. The opening of the College of Medicine, the expansion of the research mission of the university, and the ongoing refresh of university facilities introduce additional pressures on IT.
Enabling the mobility of students, faculty, and staff
Students, faculty, and staff increasingly expect to consume CMU IT services at any time, from anywhere, and on any device. Consistent with international trends, we are seeing more personal devices connected to our network and systems every day. The trends towards “bring your own device” (BYOD) and "bring your own applications" challenge us to support "everything" with a very limited staff.
Communicating with the campus
All segments of the CMU community report frustration with both the quantity and quality of communications coming from both OIT and distributed IT operations. They want to know what IT is doing, why we're doing it, and how it will affect them. This is not to say that they necessarily want more communications from IT - they want communications that effectively and efficiently convey what they need to know.
Maintaining both the breadth and dependability of services in the face of resource constraints
A decreasing number of students, restrictions on tuition increases, and uncertain state support suggest that we will be required to support our services with a stable (at best) or declining (most probably) resource base.
Supporting CMU marketing, recruitment, and retention activities
The recruitment of the right students and an effective advising process that shepherds those students down an efficient path to successful degree completion will be critical to CMU's future success. In addition, both the intelligence that guides decision-making around these processes and the processes themselves are highly dependent on IT.
Helping faculty and staff use technology effectively
Both faculty and staff complain about the frustration they face using the technology provided to them by CMU. Having become accustomed to the simple, efficient interfaces they find in their smartphone and tablet apps and across the web, they are baffled by the complexity of the SAP, Cayuse, and even, sometimes, Blackboard interfaces.
Delivering consistent, high-quality, end-to-end services to the campus in a distributed IT environment
CMU's faculty, staff, and students care little about the complexities of the campus' distributed IT organization. They want IT services delivered to them simply, consistently, quickly, and effectively. Unfortunately, this challenge is especially pronounced in the delivery of educational technology, an area of particular concern and one in which ownership of solutions and responsibility for providing them can be very unclear.
Managing and protecting CMU's data while supporting needs for transparency and requirements for information
In many ways, CMU’s future success may well be driven by the ability of CMU staff, faculty, and students to access appropriate and accurate data quickly and securely. Systems ranging from effective data dashboards that support decision-making to early-warning systems that forecast student academic performance rely on quick, accurate availability of data for their effectiveness. At the same time, that data needs to be appropriate secured, controlled, and protected.