WHY TRANSFORM MIT'S INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY?
I/T is an essential enabler for reengineering:
"Information technology plays a crucial role in business reengineering, but one that is easily miscast. Modern, state of the art information technology is part of any reengineering effort, an essential enabler since it permits companies to reengineer business processes. But merely throwing computers at an existing business problem does not cause it to be reengineered. In fact, the misuse of technology can block reengineering altogether by reinforcing old ways of thinking and old behavior patterns." Hammer and Champy, Reengineering the Corporation, p83.
A Spring 1994 outside assessment of I/T at MIT found obstacles to enabling reengineering success:
- Administrative I/T systems and services have not meet the needs of constituents, i.e., faculty, students, and staff in departments, laboratories, and centers.
- ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Central administrative I/T projects have taken too long to deliver too little new capability.
- ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½MIT has a shortage of critical administrative I/T skills, especially project management, application delivery, technology integration, knowledge of the business.
Reengineering poses a big I/T challenge for MIT:
- ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Rapidly deploy and help everyone use several major new network-based applications to support the new ways of doing administrative work throughout MIT, for example, the new financial package, the new appointments application, a data warehouse, etc.
- ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Connect 1,000-2,000 more administrators to MITnet and help them become proficient at using it in their work.
- Implement an integrated architecture for administrative computing and data, so that systems work well together and are easy to use, operate, and support.
- Strengthen the skill base of MIT's I/T staff across all offices.
- ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Keep current administrative applications running until they are replaced.
- ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Do not increase the number of ongoing I/T positions.
REENGINEERING TEAMS SHARE RESPONSIBILITY FOR I/T, FOR EXAMPLE:
- Administrative process redesign teams: define and test new I/T applications to help streamline work.
- I/T Infrastructure Readiness Team: determines the underlying I/T components and standards for large networked systems.
- Help Redesign Team: designs a new model for assisting the MIT community withintegrated I/T and business support.
- ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½I/T Transformation Team:redesigns how people work together to implement, operate and help people use information technology at MIT.
THE I/T TRANSFORMATION TEAM HAS COMPLETEED ITS WORK.
Designed a new framework for how people work together to implement, operate and help use I/T.
The guiding principle is "Great Systems Fast!" where "Great" is defined by the customer.
I/T work will be accomplished by cross functional TEAMS, organized by I/T process:
- I/T Discovery: "Choose what to do and how to do I/T."
- I/T Delivery: "Do I/T quickly."
- I/T Integration: "Find and fit I/T."
- I/T Service: "Keep I/T all running."
- I/T Support: "Reach out and help everyone use I/T."
A reorganized Information Systems will interface with MIT's other administrative I/T activities as members of a partnership.
MIT will invest in ongoing improvement of the skills of all its I/T staff.
Worked with academic computing leaders in Information Systems to determine how the new framework applies.
Supported the launch of the Help Redesign Team.
Outlined a migration strategy for the transition to the new I/T framework, beginning with appointing a new I/T Leadership Team, led by the Vice President for Information Systems.
THE TIMETABLE FOR TRANSISTION TO THE NEW IS FRAMEWORK IS AGGRESSIVE, IN ORDER TO MEET THE I/T CHALLENGE:
- ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½March 15: Announcement; launch search to fill open positions on the I/T Leadership Team.
- Early June: Begin I/T Leadership Team work: coordinate I/T work for reengineering and all other new administrative computing projects; produce the I/T transition plan.
- July 1995: Publish the I/T Transition plan.
- ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Autumn 1995: Complete the Information Systems transition to the new framework.
- ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½Spring 1996: Complete the I/T transition to the new framework.
The I/T Transformation Team included Maija Ahlquist, Cecilia d'Oliveira, Marilyn McMillan, Don Nelson, Paul Page and Pam Phillips, of MIT; and Frank Capek of CSC Index. The team's sponsor was Dave Litster. Marilyn McMillan is serving as captain for the implementation phase. You can contact her at
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 1, 1995.