here’s a thought: why not outsource IT strategy?
I’m not talking about IT infrastructure or tools. I don’t mean using Amazon EC2 for computing power or S3 for storage, much less Google Apps for Education. I’m not talking about outsourcing specific services.
I mean outsourcing the actual decision-making process that drives our services and overall strategy. I am talking about outsourcing IT and Academic Computing leadership. In my case, I am talking about outsourcing myself.
What’s to stop a university from hiring a consulting firm to watch for technology trends, identify threats and opportunities (SWOT, anyone?), and make recommendations on what should be done. The university then picks things that it can afford and that fit together (again, by recommendation from the consultants), and just does them using the appropriate resources.
Perhaps the IT department still has system administrators, and perhaps outsourcing leadership has nothing to do with outsourcing services. Maybe the consultants recommend keeping e-mail in house due to an analysis of how the school’s General Counsel likes to interpret “exposure” (trying not to use FERPA as a shield here – it’s about exposure due to regulations such as FERPA. Not FERPA unto itself). So using consultants to identify trends and basically make strategic decisions doesn’t mean outsourcing everything.
But it could mean the elimination of the very type of job I have. My next post, which I hope to have together in the next day or so, will follow through on how this might look to a university president. Then we have to ask ourselves about how we can add enough value that no one ever actually does what I suggest in this post…