Decisions about technology investments and services require strong collaboration between IS leaders and our academic and administrative partners. In the past, the University has successfully made these decisions through informal consultations, which are no longer enough to navigate all of the priorities that are out there. The University Strategic Plan is increasing the opportunities to use technology to support important institutional goals. But while these opportunities are exciting, resources do not allow us to do everything. Trade-offs need to be weighed - collaboratively.

Many institutions improve IT decision making by implementing stewardship and advisory structures, often called IT governance. IT governance creates the structures, processes, and policies to allocate resources to an established set of IT priorities. In addition to providing a process through which the University can evaluate and prioritize projects and investments in the context of institutional priorities and values, there are several other benefits to having a formal IT governance structure:

    •    It establishes clear pathways for departments to propose new ideas and opportunities;
    •    It enables shared objectives such as improving processes and data quality;
    •    It coordinates decisions so one area’s project won’t adversely impact another’s;
    •    It creates transparency and builds an understanding of IS operations and the full portfolio of IT initiatives;
    •    It improves communication to help everyone use technology effectively.

At Richmond, IT governance will be sponsored by Dave Hale, executive vice president and chief financial officer; Jeff Legro, executive vice president and provost; and Keith W. “Mac” McIntosh, vice president and chief information officer. There will be a steering committee, made up of representatives from across the University’s academic and administrative divisions. The steering committee will have executive powers to decide University technology priorities. Three advisory committees will report up to the steering committee: a teaching and research committee, a user experience & services committee, and a data management committee. Each of the advisory committees will be co-chaired by a representative from the University community along with an Information Services leader.
IT Governance Organizational Chart: IT Governance Steering Committee, Teaching & Research Committee, User Services & Experience Committee, Data Management Committee

McIntosh says, “The demand (volume, variety, and velocity) of IT requests far exceeds the ability to meet  the demand. We expect IT governance at the University of Richmond to identify and meet the right commitments that are tied to the University strategy while delivering value for the campus community.”

Establishing IT governance takes time. Many conversations lie ahead, as IS staff work with members of the University community to establish charters and procedures for each of the committees. Creating IT governance is also a cultural change that will take time for everyone to acclimate. But the benefits of adopting IT governance at Richmond are clear: the work that IS undertakes will be aligned with the University’s priorities and strategic plan.