Size of IS shop: 280
Mobile PCs: 2500
Hand-held devices: 120
Total screens: 13,790
Industry: Educational services
PC environment: Windows Vista, XP; Apple; Linux; Toshiba; Dell; Lenovo; HP
Server environment: Windows 2003, 2008; Oracle; Red Hat; Unix; Novell; IBM; HP; Dell; Apple
DBMS: Oracle, SQL, MySQL
Address: Leith Street, Dunedin
Key IS projects this year: Identity and access management; content management system; second datacentre; central infrastructure upgrade; virtualisation; network upgrades; enterprise portal; student desktop strategy.
The University of Otago is renowned for its research and teaching excellence, exceptional campus environment and student experience. Otago’s director of information technology services, Mike Harte, says the University will continue to invest to ensure its campus facilities — including grounds, buildings, equipment and ICT infrastructure — are world-class at all of its sites.
Reflecting this, ICT operational and project budgets as well as IT staff numbers have not decreased from last year’s levels. In 2008 Otago initiated numerous new ICT projects including the building of a second datacentre, development of work on an information security framework, along with implementation of collaborative technologies to support e-research initiatives. A server virtualisation project added to the load, along with new podcasting services for teaching and learning and wireless access for residential colleges.
In 2009, Otago is investing in almost every common area of ICT investment. This includes the completion of a second datacentre, a server virtualisation project to exploit the multiple datacentre arrangement, commitment to a major network upgrade that includes expansion of the wireless network across all campuses, a hardware infrastructure upgrade, as well as the implementation of a content management system. Harte’s team will also be focussing on a review of all ICT policies across the university and reviewing its security management framework and systems.
The university is also reviewing identity and access management systems and processes across the organisation. Not only will this project deal with internal requirements, but will also be looking at federated identity management enabling Otago staff to be authenticated at their home organisation to be ‘trusted’ by other organisations. This will mean that Otago staff involved in collaborative research projects would be able to access remote systems and information stores without having to re-authenticate.
The ICT team at the university continues to experience challenges in the area of ICT skills recruitment. “We are experiencing a shortage of experienced software developers, database administrators and systems engineers,” says Harte. His team is also involved in an ICT leadership development programme and the development of a customer service strategy, which will drive a significant improvement in service delivery resulting in big gains in client satisfaction. “It is important we continue to increase our focus on customers and identify what needs to be done to solve their problems and meet their needs. It is also important this not only be done in a way that resolves any service issues, but also provides a structure for ongoing service improvement,” says Harte.
The purpose of the customer service strategy is to set the framework, the vision and the high-level goals that will enable the ITS division to achieve service excellence through continuous service improvement. Harte says the adoption of the strategy is central to developing the capability to deliver excellent and efficient services, which are responsive to the needs of the university. The strategy will provide a clear vision about what ITS needs to deliver, measures for gauging when ITS has reached the goals and processes for monitoring, along with reporting on customer service delivery.
Join the CIO New Zealand group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.