Message from the CIO
Associate Vice Chancellor
and Chief Information Officer
Balance, at first glance, is not particularly exciting. It is not splashy or edgy. It denotes a stillness that seems at odds with the very nature of information technology, which is continuously evolving and requires almost constant adjustment and improvement.
And yet, balance is also a very delicate thing, something that requires extraordinary care and precision. When it is achieved thoughtfully, balance demonstrates a level of skill and preparation that quietly eclipses the splashiest rollout of the ‘next great thing’ that is completely unsupported by solid infrastructure. Balance allows us to remain centered on a strong core of operations from which we can innovate, grow and transform.
Balance is a delicate thing, something that
requires extraordinary care and precision.
That’s why I’m proud to say that 2017 has been all about balance. Balance is what has allowed our group to recognize and address the necessities of maintenance and stabilization as a natural counterpart to innovation and modernization. As we continue to upgrade our equipment, our services, and our practices, we are also looking forward and building for the future of UC Merced.
With Project 2020 in full swing and even more change on the horizon, preparation is key. That’s why we spent our year pruning, prepping, and planning to balance complexity with rapid change. As one example, we automated our Change Control processes this year. Because we are responsible for several thousand hardware components across the campus, every software upgrade, every security patch, and every firmware update is a new variable that needs to be reviewed for its potential disruption to our working infrastructure. Our aim was to have no more than 10% of our changes be triggered by emergency circumstances—a goal that we are proud to have met in 2017 (see more about Change Control here).
Similarly, we began our planning for the Downtown Campus Center Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) project well in advance of the February 2018 occupancy dates. We facilitated multiple group discussions about the project, explaining why the project was necessary, detailing likely implementation models, and educating stakeholders about possible cost and policy implications. In this way, we were able to balance customer needs and concerns with the need to manage a large scope of detail on a relatively short timeline ().
Balance is an indication that we are working
smarter and more strategically to invest in a sustainable, scalable vision of the future.
Our focus on balance also extends to efforts that have system-wide impact. As a UCPath pilot campus, we’ve been preparing to launch UCPath for some time. More than the migration of a payroll system, this implementation has required us to position the campus for increased automation and business process design. As a result, the OIT team has had to balance demand to support UCPath alongside other Digital Business Services (DBS). To do this, we have led three corresponding DBS implementations during 2017, with more planned for 2018 ().
Balance is something to be proud of. It’s an indication that we are working smarter and more strategically to invest in a sustainable, scalable vision of the future. With each turn of the wheel of progress, we must pause to reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and what the best next step will be.
After all, the more we reinforce our foundation today, the more exciting, innovative technologies and applications we will be able to support as UC Merced continues to evolve and grow.
Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Information Officer
UC Merced Office of Information Technology