Facilities IT Strategic Plan 2013-2015

The objective of the Facilities IT Strategic Plan is to provide an overall framework for Facilities IT decision, actions, and projects that will guide Facilities IT and help us focus on the mission of Facilities and the University.

Strategy 1: Strengthen and Expand the Focus on Our Customers

Facilities IT will work closely with the functional areas of Facilities and become an integral part of fulfilling Facilities customer service and facilities mission.

  1. Develop deeper knowledge of Facilities business and processes and the staff activities and that implement the business processes.
    1. Participate in training, in-house and external, formal and informal, in systems, technology, processes, and Facilities daily work.
    2. Document and store the information learned.
    3. Share this knowledge with Facilities IT colleagues and with all of Facilities staff.
  2. Use that deeper knowledge to take proactive steps for the benefit of Facilities.
    1. Envision and explore improvements that technology can foster.
    2. Plan, develop, and deploy improved processes as teammates of Facilities functional areas.
    3. Review and evaluate new technology and its potential to help Facilities.
  3. Improve communication and build relationships with Facilities staff.
    1. Continue our efforts to make every interaction with Facilities IT positive and helpful.
    2. Monitor condition of user equipment and software and proactively conduct repairs and upgrades as needed.
    3. Provide training on Facilities IT applications.
    4. Provide task-oriented training on purchased software and systems.
  4. Provide excellent day-to-day technology support for Facilities users.
    1. Quickly handle hardware and software problems and requests.
    2. Help Facilities staff get back to work as quickly as possible when a technology problem interferes with them doing their job.
    3. Offer suggestions to users on how to get the most out of their software. Provide tips for easier and more effective use of programs.
    4. Field questions on how to use common programs such as MS Office, and find the answers if they are not known.
    5. Help users customize Windows and applications to make them easier to use.
    6. Provide walk-up help with all kinds of technology questions and problems.

Strategy 2: Deliver the Information Needed, and Where It Is Needed

Facilities IT will develop the conduit to provide timely, accurate, relevant, easy-to-use information that is needed by Facilities staff, customers, and other constituent groups.

  1. Provide Facilities staff the information they need to do their jobs.
    1. Continuously evaluate information needed by Facilities staff.
    2. Work with all Facilities departments to develop a document storage and retrieval system, including technology and human processes.
    3. Implement tools and applications that help Facilities staff and customers gather, manage, and retrieve information about facilities, projects, and services. Recommend best practices for information storage and retrieval.
    4. Integrate NU enterprise systems with Facilities information delivery methods to provide needed information in one location.
    5. Develop and implement Facilities delivery methods for other sources of information.
  2. Participate in and help Facilities staff embrace the University’s collaboration initiative.
    1. Explore and use document and information management tools to implement Facilities solutions.
    2. Help the University develop enterprise document management solutions, and use those tools when they are available.
    3. Investigate uses of the University’s video technology to improve the transfer and use of information.
    4. Participate with NUIT on the University’s implementation of SharePoint.
  3. Update, maintain, and refresh the Facilities website.
    1. Encourage Facilities departments to provide project updates, Facilities news, and other information that will be useful or interesting to website visitors.
    2. Envision and explore more effective ways to present Facilities information online.
    3. Implement a system to allow internal website content updates to be made easily by non-technical staff.
  4. Provide mobile access to information wherever possible and useful.
    1. Help users identify, install, and use mobile applications that can help them do their jobs.
    2. Encourage the use of mobile technology to help Facilities achieve its strategic goals.
    3. Develop additional mobile capabilities for Facilities users.

Strategy 3: Develop and Implement an Information Architecture for the Future

Facilities IT will establish standards and guidelines in technology architecture, hardware, software, processes, and procedures. These standardized elements will make Facilities technology easier to use and maintain, will provide the basis for redundancy and business continuity, and will enable integration and orderly system expansion.

  1. Design and document a standard architecture for Facilities systems and applications.
    1. Move toward a database driven user interface for Facilities systems and applications.
    2. Work with Facilities departments and vendors to make purchased systems conform to Facilities standard server and security architecture.
  2. Investigate new FO technology in partnership with operating groups. Help plan and implement technology in a way that is consistent with the Facilities systems architecture.
    1. Continue development of Tridium systems to manage building automation.
    2. Work with vendors and FO as new automation systems are deployed into the Facilities server architecture.
    3. Investigate access control and key control systems that will improve management, security, and reliability.
  3. Use standards to improve the use of technology for Facilities end users.
    1. Develop specifications for standard computing hardware that will be purchased for Facilities users.
    2. Modify hardware standards as technology evolves and products change.
    3. Maintain a list of standard software and the types of roles within Facilities that will normally receive each program.
    4. Set up procedures and processes to provide better discovery of computer problems.
    5. Consolidate technology into fewer devices and applications where possible. Simplify technology from the user’s point of view.
  4. Develop and document standard procedures for common business events.
    1. Formalize and publish a new hire checklist.
    2. Formalize and publish a departing employee checklist.

Strategy 4: Provide Business Continuity

Facilities IT will maximize the availability and effective operation of its technology systems. Facilities IT will safeguard data and equipment, and will establish procedures to keep Facilities operating, recover data, and restore systems if needed.

  1. Maintain the security of equipment, software, and data.
    1. Control authorized access to Facilities technology and data.
    2. Prevent unauthorized access to Facilities technology and data.
    3. Protect Facilities technology and data against malicious actions.
  2. Set up and operate Facilities technology to maximize its reliability and availability to users.
    1. Develop written procedures and guidelines to handle problems.
    2. Respond quickly and prioritize responses so that harm is minimized and achievement of Facilities mission is maximized.
  3. Document all important aspects of Facilities IT and its work.
    1. Develop a written description of each Facilities IT server, including equipment, software, configuration, and operation.
    2. Develop a written description of each Facilities IT standard PC set up, including equipment, software, and configuration.
    3. Create diagrams or other functional documentation of Facilities data networks.
  4. Make sure data and software are backed up and retained so they can be recovered as needed, either because of human error or malfunction, or for disaster recovery.
    1. Configure and implement PC backups using the University’s centralized backup system. Implement a backup test program to periodically verify stored data and the ability to recover it.
    2. Monitor PC backups periodically.
  5. Develop disaster recovery plans and instructions.
    1. Develop a high-level overview of Facilities IT’s disaster recovery plan.
    2. Work with FO, FDC, and Facilities Senior Staff as they develop business disaster recovery plans and priorities.
    3. Based on business needs, create guides for replacement, recovery and restart of critical systems, including priorities, timelines, and step by step instructions.

Strategy 5: Develop Partnerships with Other Organizations

Facilities IT will build strong working relationships with other NU organizations, and with outside groups, to help achieve our strategic mission. Facilities IT will collaborate with groups throughout the University to help achieve the missions of Facilities, NUIT, and the University.

  1. Continue to develop our close working relationship with NUIT.
    1. Work closely with NUIT networking to improve, test, and monitor security.
    2. Offer Facilties IT as a resource to NUIT where our capabilities can contribute to their mission.
  2. Develop a clear operating relationship with University Police for successful maintenance and use of the Evanston EOC.
    1. Execute periodic EOC computer tests and updates.
    2. Participate in EOC tests and simulations.
  3. Build our work with Project Café into a consultant/client partnership.
    1. Improve communication by having more frequent and less formal discussions of current projects and activities.
    2. Participate directly in projects by working on tasks where Facilities IT skills and business knowledge apply.
  4. Build relationships with people throughout the university and with outside parties we work with.
    1. Pursue opportunities to work on projects or teams that include other University departments.
    2. Take an active interest in the work of departments that collaborate with Facilities.
    3. Offer to participate or assist with 3rd parties who have IT-related work with Facilities.

Strategy 6: Modify Staff Roles and Use Expanded Staff to Enable Strategies

We will continuously be aware of changing needs as our strategies are implemented. We will identify new roles and changes in existing roles and will train staff and consider adding temporary personnel as needed to accomplish our mission.

  1. Develop expertise in Facilities systems.
    1. Help accomplish Facilities goals for improved and integrated building automation systems.
    2. Assume responsibility for application installation and configuration for all Facilities systems.
  2. Identify the types of software development that make sense for Facilities IT to handle internally.

  3. Identify training opportunities that will allow Facilities IT staff to grow professionally and contribute more to the Facilities mission.

  4. Identify requirements for technical writing and documentation.

  5. Plan for and provide support for new and expanded technology.