How the University maximizes IT investments to deliver digital transformation

Posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Author: Maha Siblini, Project and Portfolio Manager

2 business people working on project management

We operate in an environment that is constantly changing and evolving. There is a constant demand for innovative IT solutions and enhancements. These demands sometimes exceed the capacity of available resources and time constraints, are not aligned to the University’s mission, or they may not be considered a priority at this time. How is that determination made? How does the University select, prioritize, assess, and manage projects that contribute to Transformation 2030 and the Digital Campus Transformation Plan?

Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is the continuous process to ensure that IT projects are well aligned with the University’s strategic objectives and that these project investments maximize value to the institution. While project management is concerned with ‘doing projects right,’ portfolio management is concerned with ‘doing the right projects.’

How projects are prioritized

Each year, IT project requests from across the institution compete for a limited budget.  A project intake committee reviews, selects and prioritizes submitted projects based on criteria that reflect:

  • Impact on University: How well are the business needs linked to Transformation 2030? Will the project contribute to ensuring the University is not exposed to liability/compliance issues or major security concerns? How will the initiative affect competitiveness and reputation?
  • Impact on the requester: How urgent is the business need, and is it well aligned with the requester’s priorities? How would it impact organization efficiency? How ready are we to start implementation?
  • Audience: Who will be impacted – number of users and impacted faculties and services?
  • Technological alignment: Is the proposed solution well aligned to our technological strategy? Will it help reduce technological debt?

Once requests are prioritized, the University Information Governance Council (UIGC) and the Academic, Research and Administrative information committees examine the requests and approve the funding. A project manager is then assigned to each of the approved initiatives, and the projects can start. These projects are managed in a project portfolio to maximize their aggregate value.

The governance committees ensure continuous alignment with the University’s strategic objectives by monitoring projects’ progress and making recommendations to ensure successful completion.

Building the university of tomorrow

This year, a total of 62 projects were submitted for review. Over the next few months, the committees will discuss and select initiatives that will positively impact University priorities. The projects selected for 2022-2023 investment will be announced before the start of the fiscal new year.

Want a peek at the technologies of tomorrow? Check out the meeting documents of the UIGC subcommittees and the list of major projects for 2021-2022.

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