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Inside the digital transformation of an IT function

Inside the digital transformation of an IT function

The University of Auckland restructures its 400-member IT Services into one function called Connect

Stephen Whiteside, chief digital officer, University of Auckland

Stephen Whiteside, chief digital officer, University of Auckland

The IT Services at the University of Auckland has launched one of its biggest digital transformation programmes - its own operations.

Following a restructure, the IT Services has been renamed ‘Connect’.

What used to be 11 teams - coming from different faculties and divisions - “doing quite a lot of thing their own way” will work similarly to a shared services environment.

There will be a head office, led by IT services director and now Connect director Jason Mangan, with customer service teams assigned across the university.

“They will be with their customer base as much as possible, but the professional alignment and development is with Connect,” explains Stephen Whiteside, chief digital officer at the University of Auckland.

Mangan, who reports to Whiteside, further expounds: “We are connecting together as one function, and representing technology as the vehicle in which researchers, students, and professional staff go about their business.”

“It is about us orchestrating all of our services and bringing new services to table through a very capable and very skilled technology function.”

“We really changed the model of our delivery to all faculties away from a demand and control, to a multidisciplinary team working on new ways, collaborating together to bring new services,” he shares.

Jason Mangan during the launch of Connect at the Pasifika Fale at the University of Auckland
Jason Mangan during the launch of Connect at the Pasifika Fale at the University of Auckland

Whiteside adds that, “The drive towards agile and DevOps fits with that model as well.”

“This is part of a consistent trend that universities worldwide are doing,” he says.

Whiteside, who joined Mangan during the launch last week, explains that there are seven teams within Connect: Service Transition (which includes Agile coaches and facilitators); Service Performance; Customer Experience; Infrastructure; Applications; Academic Solutions; and Chief Information Security Officer.

As part of Connect, the university will also launch the IT academy Connect Ed using the skills framework function for the information age (SFIA) .

We will use that framework to advance and support career development across the function, states Whiteside.

“We want to make sure our people are supported in their career growth,” Mangan stresses.

We want a function that is going to attract the talent and retain the talent in five, ten years, and we look forward to building a brand around that

Jason Mangan, University of Auckland

“Our university is such a great place to work with, and we will be offering various work environments,” he explains.

“We want a function that is going to attract the talent and retain the talent in five, ten years; and we look forward to building a brand around that.”

Whiteside shares that they held a year-long consultation with the university’s 400-IT staff about the changes.

He says one of the changes is that end user services is now called the customer experience team.

According to Whiteside, they are working in multiple different environments, and these will be standardised.

Jason Mangan says the new Connect identity and brand will: Unify the technology people and teams; Promote diversity and inclusivity; Attract and retain talent; Invite and inspire; Focus on the customer; Reflect the new way of working; Spark collaboration and innovation; Reflect technology today and tomorrow; Be a differentiator
Jason Mangan says the new Connect identity and brand will: Unify the technology people and teams; Promote diversity and inclusivity; Attract and retain talent; Invite and inspire; Focus on the customer; Reflect the new way of working; Spark collaboration and innovation; Reflect technology today and tomorrow; Be a differentiator

Instead of IS managers, Connect will have business relationship managers.

A business relationship manager is responsible for sourcing all IT services as part of the IT team, with a  focus on the customer, says Whiteside.

Both Whiteside and Mangan agree the changes are equivalent to “the digital transformation of an IT function”.

“Inevitably, we are going to succeed...This is just the start,” concludes Mangan.

Read more: Movers and shakers: Warren Hughes of OneHQ, Sam Osborne and Sharyn Catt of Virtual Blue and Rochelle Payne of Tether

Credit: Dreamstime

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Tags staff retentionagilecareerAIdeveloperStartupuniversity of aucklandstephen whitesidelifelong learningcontinuous learningDevopsleadershipJason Mangan

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