University of Otago (MIS100 2012)

University of Otago (MIS100 2012)

2011 ranking: 10

Senior IS executive: Mike Harte, director of IT services

Address: Leith Walk, Dunedin


Established in 1869, the University of Otago is New Zealand’s oldest university, and is today the country’s top ranked university for research quality. The Information Technology Services Division provides a wide range of core services to the university’s 3500 staff and 22,000 students including client facing services such as the service desk, student IT, training, print shops, audio and video conferencing, learning management system, lecture theatres, computer rooms and eStop areas across campuses and in residential colleges. Behind the scenes, it supports services such as security, technical support, data centres, server and storage technologies and communications networks, corporate systems such as finance, HR, and the student management system and general expert consulting in many areas, including strategy and security.

Budgets are up slightly on last year, and will support an ambitious programme of work. Specifically, the university has plans to undertake a major upgrade to its network, including wireless provision across all of its campuses, implementing a new student management system, developing an identity and access management roadmap, developing an e-waste strategy and an information security framework, pilot a new virtual desktop for students, install an emergency communications system and a digital signage system, upgrade its print and copy management system, implement an electronic records and document management system, enable new research support and collaboration tools, review data backup strategies and introduce updated mobile device management processes. The university will also be focusing on business continuity and disaster recovery planning and a review of its learning management systems. Other new initiatives on the horizon include University of Otago TV, a live web TV channel, and looking into a solution to make the large number of physical video resources in the university library’s collection available to students online. “With the recent completion of our new datacentre, we are now focusing on creating an internal cloud,” says director of information technology services Mike Harte. “We are actively encouraging other areas of the organisation to relocate their servers in the datacentre and/or moving completely into the central virtualised server and storage facility. The big drivers here are to minimise risk, improve performance and reduce cost by reducing the duplication of centrally provided services and we are already seeing significant success with this strategy.” “Investment in IT resources is required to achieve excellence,” Harte says. “IT enables high-quality facilities and support services, as well as the on-going development of e-learning and e-research capabilities to ensure excellence in teaching and research. Investment in IT ensures that Otago’s information technology infrastructure is world-class at all of our sites.”

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