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ERIC Number: EJ853999
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1528-5324
Management by Fact: Benchmarking University IT Services
Dougherty, Jennifer Dowling; Clebsch, William; Anderson, Greg
EDUCAUSE Quarterly, v27 n1 p14-25 2004
Budget pressures compel everyone in higher education to demonstrate value in IT investments, using both quantitative and qualitative information. Like many institutions, however, both Stanford and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have found themselves forced to rely more on anecdotes than on management information to guide decisions. In response, MIT and Stanford partnered to develop meaningful comparative data and to understand each other's IT services and performance. In essence, after more than a decade of significant IT investments, both campuses asked, "How effectively are they performing? How do they compare to other universities and by what measures? How can they use their IT systems to help them manage themselves better?" When beginning this effort, both institutions knew that several aspects of the project would be critical: (1) Define data clearly; (2) Capture costs consistently for the services under study; (3) Understand each other's processes in depth; and (4) Tackle issues of a manageable scope. As a result of an 18-month effort, MIT and Stanford have learned valuable lessons about: (1) developing the methodology to conduct these comparisons; (2) defining specific metrics for IT helpdesk services; (3) creating a "dashboard" chart that summarizes important performance indicators at a glance; and (4) using data to drive cultural change in the management of a university. The efforts have been rewarded well. Each campus has seen process improvements, new abilities to handle spikes in workload due to crises (such as viruses) or plans (such as new system rollouts), and marked improvement in performance. One of the greatest outcomes of the collaborative project has been a fundamental shift in the sands of management culture. Administrators and senior officers are requiring that relevant, useful data be part of management decision making and assessment. They are shifting from management by personality and anecdote to management by fact. (Contains 2 tables, 4 figures and 7 endnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Massachusetts