I read this article from Campus Technology this morning and it rang some bells for me. The article is about the tension between central IT and departmental IT within universities. Competition and distrust, service duplication and lack of communication between IT areas of Utah State University are some of the problems mentioned in this article. The article mentioned three key approaches that have helped to significantly offset the aforementioned problems:
- Central IT adopted a philosophy to engage with departmental IT people at multiple levels. This involved including departmental IT in decision-making up front which encourages a sense of ownership with the end solutions.
- Central IT treated people as if they are all part of the same organization. This meant giving access to systems, distributing control and providing tools for them to use.
- Central IT does not force choices on departments. This battle will always be lost as there will always be someone outside your reporting line who does not have to conform.
The approaches above resonate with me and I believe that these strategies are something that centralized IT and learning and teaching areas should take notice of.