Planning and Perfect Information

Published on: January 31, 2013

Magnifying glass over a mechanismWho would have thought that in 2003, s p am would become such a significant problem in e-mail that organisations would have to spend budget-significant dollars buying anti-spam software? When building out server capacity in the past – “one server per app anyone?” – were energy costs part of the calculation? How about people replacing their laptops or desktops with personal smartphones or tablets, or the explosion of mobile app expectations? The point: It’s hard to predict the future. (No kidding Sherlock.)

So to act in a manner that prepares for the future requires a lot of data collecting – from disparate sources like information gleaned at meetings – even if tangential to IT; scholarly and trade publications; popular media and news sites; social networks and  logs; personal experiences and frustrations. I’m really looking forward to the new ITS Service Catalogue being released. It will contain information about the services that ITS and eventually other units provide to consumers across the University. Visible will be owners, contact information for feedback and support, eligibility for access, service descriptions and terms, costs where applicable, security and accessibility data. A catalogue opens up the opportunities for community members to more readily find out what is currently available. This in turn lets others know whether to develop a service because there is a gap or to refrain from creating a duplicate because one exists. A catalogue helps governance bodies make decisions on the allocation of scarce resources and also the relative priority of new service requests. If we can view into our service portfolio we can identify gaps. The catalogue is a major puzzle piece in supporting long-range planning processes, and improving our decision-support and decision-making capacity for IT services. Combined with Enterprise Architecture, a configuration management database (future), real-time cost of IT data, a consistent project-management data collection system, readily-available client feedback mechanisms , committee input, and other sources of insight, we are increasing our data points for reaching the grail of perfect information. Of course, perfect information is just an ideal, not a reality. But, adding data points will improve our capabilities for IT planning for the University. Keep your eyes on the new and improved ITS Web site and look up the Service Catalogue. It’s a work-in process but one that will grow and improve with time. We look forward to your feedback, and even more to the utility that we think you will find within the catalogue.

By: Marden Paul, Director, PGASP for In the Loop