Bolder IT FAQs

Why are we transforming IT?

Simply put, because we must. The industry we are in, higher education and research, is becoming increasingly competitive and disrupted. Federal and state disinvestment, increased competition for research, more education choices for students and families, and affordability and access issues are just some of the pressures we face.

There are many things MSU needs to do to stay competitive and relevant, and one of them is high quality technology to support innovation, effectiveness, and efficiency in all that we do. The quantitative and qualitative data gathered in the past year fully supports this transformation.

What is technical debt?

Technical debt is the gap between:

  • the technology an organization currently has deployed and related funding identified for ongoing operations, life cycle upgrades, and new strategic investment, and
  • the technology an organization should have deployed and funding that should be identified for maintaining an investment appropriate for an organization’s operations, strategy, and measures of success.

Organizations can tolerate some level of technical debt, however they need to ensure that customer dissatisfaction, employee disengagement, or other negative differentiators do not result. Boards and the C-suite need to be deliberate and clear-eyed about the technical debt they are willing to carry.

Holding onto technology for a decade or longer may sound like getting a great deal, but the opposite is true. Old server or network equipment and systems created in the latter part of the 20th century have fewer and increasingly costly options when it comes to maintaining them. There are fewer companies and people who can or will provide services and old equipment and systems don’t have features that support contemporary ways of doing business or integrations.

Keeping these old systems around incurs technical debt and inhibits strategy. When the inevitable crisis point comes, there are mounting difficulties including outages, limited choices, customer impact, and interruption to other investments.

Even more important is personnel debt. Organizations need to pay attention to recruiting, retaining, engaging and training your most valuable asset – employees.

How will we transform IT?

MSU IT is partnering more closely with university leaders and departments on the technology for business projects.

MSU IT is also leading IT Transformation Projects that will push the university ahead and streamline solutions for the MSU community.

MSU Bolder IT Town Hall Meetings

November 2016

On November 1, 2016, MSU IT held a Town Hall event to present on several Bolder IT initiatives and the progress made.

Bolder IT is moving forward and has made strides in the:

Watch the Bolder IT Town Hall video (1 hour and 19 minutes).

June 2016

On June 22, 2016, MSU IT held a Town Hall event to present on several Bolder IT initiatives and the progress made.

Bolder IT is moving forward and has made strides in the:

See the Bolder IT Town Hall slides (PDF) or watch the video (1 hour and 28 minutes).

Leadership and Administrator Briefing Questions

On November 11, 2015, the Office of Faculty and Organizational Development (F&OD) hosted a seminar for MSU Leadership and Administrators (LEAD) entitled “Technology Unplugged.” During this session, Joanna Young, Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, presented plans for moving technology at MSU to high performance. The below questions were derived from this meeting and are responses from Young.

Watch the LEAD “Technology Unplugged” presentation (2 hours with transcript).

Could you say something about issues of income inequality and equity related to IT?
Many things happened after the launching of EBS and our turning off of several shadow systems. Why should I believe that this initiative is going to work any better than the launch of EBS?
We’ve heard a lot about technology, education, administration, but not so much about research. There is a lot of technology used in research, both on the grid and off the grid. Some using networks, but sometimes not using networks. There are also some important national conversations in terms of federally-funded research and centralized databases occurring. Could you comment on research technology and how we plan to address the demands for the future?
My question is about security. I have heard we need to move servers to central locations and eliminate those servers under people’s desks and in closets. I am interested on the strategy for how we’re going to address security on an individual and enterprise level.
As somebody in a college who has responsibility for both staff and budget, are there any thoughts about how the initiatives underway will impact the funding of the colleges? Will we see a shifting of funding to support some of the ideas that have been presented? Are there any thoughts about the shifting, realigning, or reassigning of staff in the colleges and departments to centrally-support technology?
I have a question about alignment, relating to faculty annual review materials. If you look across campus, there is probably great variation in how that material is collected. Are there any plans underway to try to align some kind of system university-wide so it’s much more streamlined and easy?
What can you share in terms of trying to search for and hire IT professionals right now?
Will the Bolder IT Transformation impact budgets of individual faculty holding individual federally-funded research grants?
We’ve been doing a lot of work over the many years on accommodating technology and web accessibility. I would like to see us get to a point where we’ll be regarded as a leader in accessibility issues, particularly in the context of technology. Do you see us being able to do this?
My question has to do with collaborating with sister institutions around the state to cost-share some of the more obvious things that we all have to pay for. And, also working with sister institutions around the state to maybe really bring up the IT capabilities of the state of Michigan in general. What are your thoughts on that?
Are there potential opportunities for communication, even across campuses, regarding how IT is effectively being used in a number of different environments in units or sharing of best practices?
Mercer is on campus to redesign the IT job titles and positions. When will we hear about the Mercer work?
Someone dropped the “centralized” word, not central versus decentral, but centralized. Is everything going to be centralized? (Related question: Is this a lead up to a need to take some of the financial or human resources from local and move them to central?)