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Information Technology Review

As you all know, as part of the Reimagining Cornell effort the university is undertaking a comprehensive review of IT services, delivery and organization. This review includes all sectors of computing in CIT, all administrative units and all academic units (all student, faculty, and staff computing resources and support).

The overall outcome of this review is to redefine, reorganize and redeploy computing, application and services support in all areas of the university and to do it at a significantly lower cost and increased effectiveness for priority areas. This will require a fundamental change in how we do business and manage our resources.

Input will be gathered through April in one-to-one and group meetings, or as e-mail to the work group leads or members, but the best way will be the use of the web form at Reimagining Cornell IT Task Force Input Form. Given the volume of input expected, it is not likely that every message will be responded to, but each will be read and considered.

By the end of April this group will make a recommendation on the redesign of IT services that will achieve the targeted goals and savings. The provost and president will ultimately decide on any implementation of these recommendations.

The task force is focusing on three main areas:

  1. governance and decision making,
  2. desktop and end user support, and
  3. applications and services.

The review of IT governance covers decision making, prioritization, mission alignment and reporting structures related to IT functions throughout the university. Particular attention will be paid to ways of achieving more standardization while retaining needed flexibility. This will be achieved through increased coordination, as well as through organizational changes, in order to improve both accountability and alignment with university priorities.

The review of end-user support covers all staff and resources deployed to maintain hardware, operating systems and applications software provided for individual use, including desktop and handheld systems. Applications software includes general tools such as e-mail, word processing, spreadsheets and web browsers, in addition to other widely deployed and licensed software for general staff and faculty use. This review includes not only systems assigned to a particular individual, but also those in teaching labs and walk-up settings, as well as those shared by workgroups.

The review of applications and services covers all staff and resources engaged in the development, maintenance and enhancement of applications and services at the central, unit and local department level. By "development, maintenance and enhancement" we mean all work that requires special technical training and expertise and is normally considered IT work. And, by "applications and services" we mean all technical consulting services and technical solutions that aid various parts of the university in doing their business. The team is charged with recommending changes that will substantively lower costs while improving how applications and services are delivered and supported on campus.

The overall reduction in annual expenditures anticipated as an outcome of this review is significant. This will not be an across the board reduction but will be targeted by area of opportunity to allow for investment in key enabling areas and the reprioritization of support. In the end, it is likely that no one work group or function will remain unaffected by these changes (outside of specific staff dedicated to, and supported solely by, externally funded research).

The initiative is directed by:

  • Administrative sponsor: Steven Schuster
  • Academic sponsor: Daniel Huttenlocher
  • Faculty Consultant: Charles Walcott
  • Initiative manager: Craig Higgins

Work group lead for desktop and end user support: Sunny Donenfeld, with Scott Yoest (ITMC), Dan Elswit (ITMC), Rob Bandler (SAS), Sebastian Carello (CIT).

Work group lead for applications and services: Steve Lutter, with Paul Davis (ITMC), Tim Lynch (ITMC), Dean Krafft (CUL).

The work groups will gather input from ITMC, Colleges, Libraries, Central Administrative and IT units and directors, SFG, FABIT, Research Centers, faculty, campus community, outside peers and industry.

Additional information about the Reimagining Cornell effort; initiative charters, descriptions, background information and progress report(s) will be made available at

Thanks for your input and participation,

Craig Higgins
Initiative Manager
Reimagining Cornell IT

The Latest

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May 13, 2010


Strategic Plan Summary
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Multiple copies can be ordered through Cornell Digital Print Services (607.255.2524)
Strategic Plan (final)
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Strategic Planning presentation by Provost Kent Fuchs
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Task Force Reports

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Jan. 19, 2010
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Progress report on planning efforts
Feb. 4, 2010
Provost responds to academic task force reports
Dec. 18, 2009
All statements
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2009 State of the University Address (Read the speech)
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