G. Conclusion: The Importance of Cooperation

Because this is a strategic plan for information technology at Indiana University, its scope has not been limited to those actions that can be undertaken by OVPIT or by UITS. As has been indicated, information technology is having a transforming influence on the University as whole, and is not restricted to just those agencies that have traditionally been responsible for information technology. Further, by its nature information technology is distributed. As a practical matter, this plan does not presume that full funding of recommendations and actions proposed here will come from the central IT organization, or from any single source. To this end, we discuss a strategy of cooperation as a means of pulling together the diverse organizational interests and institutional resources needed to achieve the vision presented here for information technology at Indiana University.

Meeting the goal of this plan will require cooperation between virtually all units of the University. Effective cooperation between different units within the University is intrinsically a difficult matter. While there are usually good intentions and good will, these are not enough. Also needed are clear cut statements of mission and, where these overlap, clearly articulated ways to cooperate at their intersection. This planning exercise has uncovered a number of areas where information technology has exacerbated stresses on the organization, stresses that have not always been met in an optimal way. But to achieve the overall goal of becoming one of the leading public universities IU must find ways to overcome these difficulties. On the positive side, this planning exercise has also uncovered a number of excellent partnerships of the type deemed necessary. These are acknowledged throughout this report, and the continuation and development of such partnerships is critical to IU's success.

In light of advances being made in distributed systems, the University should seek a balance between centralized IT services and distributed IT services in the various departments, schools and campuses. In many cases, partnership between central and distributed IT services can be the most effective means of providing an information systems solution.

Partnerships are also essential with commercial organizations as they provide access to the latest technology and expertise, quite often at advantageous pricing. The University through OVPIT and the Purchasing Department should continue to use the leverage of the substantial amount it spends on information technology to leverage commercial partnerships as it has done with Microsoft and Cisco. As well partnerships with other research and teaching organizations nationally and internationally provice excellent opportunities for participation in innovative technology developments of University-wide value.

Many of the specific recommendations in this plan are for the formation of various kinds of partnerships. Achieving the needed degree of cooperation and collaboration between various units of the university will take good will on all parts and strong leadership by example by the heads of all units.

The most important aspect of cooperation has to do with our faculty and staff. They must become willingly engaged in the creative application of information technology to their work. Achieving the overall goal of this plan university leadership in information technology will require much more than innovations in technology.

In order for information technology to have a transforming effect on teaching and scholarship, IU will need to recruit, retain, reward and support faculty and staff who are innovators in the use of information technology for teaching and research, and recognize the value of IT in the development of academic programs.

Key to the transformation of teaching and scholarship through the application of information technology is support at every level: hardware, software, training, and access to human expertise. The University's development of computer networks calls for development of human and institutional networks. Support is fundamentally a cooperative effort. Major investment is required not just in UITS, but in every school and department.

This plan has outlined ten recommendations and 68 specific actions that should guide the University's investment, so that IU will become a leader in absolute terms in the development and use of information technology. The achievements of Indiana University in the next millennium will be measured in large part by the architecture of its information technology. The next five years will be critical in setting the foundation stones for this architecture.

Proposed Actions  |  Table of Contents  |  Appendix A

June 1998
Comments to ovpit@indiana.edu
Copyright © 1998, the Trustees of Indiana University