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Project Title:IT Shared Services Institution Name:California State University, Northridge Innovation Category:Operational Efficiency Project Director:Hilary J. Baker, Vice President for Information Technology/CIOContact Information:(818) 677-7700, Hilary.Baker@csun.eduWebsite:
Project Description:

At the Information Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC) meetings in May and June 2011, the Chief Information Officers (CIOs) at each of the 23 California State University (CSU) campus reaffirmed their commitment to consider transformational changes by pursuing shared-services, in response to the need for sustained focus on information technology (IT) cost savings and efficiencies and also to enable IT to be appropriately responsive to ongoing requests for innovative technology solutions to support the California State University mission.  New technological capabilities such as virtualization, cloud computing, and advanced networks readily enable the delivery of information technology services which leverage consolidation, standardization, and sharing of infrastructure and applications to reduce provisioning time, complexity, and cost.

ITAC Statement of Direction:

The CSU intends to pursue a system-wide strategy to use shared IT services whenever possible to generate cost savings, facilitate service improvement, and create new areas of service through leveraging existing CSU campus resources.

Objectives:ITAC proposes to use its existing four focus area sub-groups (administrative, academic, infrastructure, and compliance/information security) to develop and explore an inventory of potential IT shared-services and prioritize the opportunity and interest in new or expanded projects within each of the four areas.  Although not all IT services are prime candidates for this approach, potential examples include Voice over IP telephone services, private clouds, instructional design, technology training, video services, help desk support, imaging, web content management, web development, accessibility services, and application development.
Outcomes:This approach will allow campuses to effectively leverage what other CSU campuses are already doing.  It will also leverage new technology opportunities and take advantage of new models of application and infrastructure service delivery such as software-as-a service or platform-as-a-service.  We expect some shared services will be new, started from scratch; others will redefine how we share an existing service offering.  Campuses will work together so each campus “doesn’t have to do it themselves,” enabling campuses to most effectively utilize their staff and offer the opportunity to retrain staff where necessary to deliver an enhanced set of services.  ITAC is already working with the system-wide procurement office and the CSU Chief Administrators and Business Officers (CABO) to leverage the CSU economies of scale around the procurement of IT software, training, and other services.  Additional strategic opportunities are expected to leverage an evolving array of new CENIC and vendor services, such as shared virtual servers and data storage in a CSU private cloud. 
Challenges/Problems Encountered:The movement toward an IT environment which can realize the benefits of sharing facilities, services and staff, as well as potentially sharing more commercially available services, may require changes to our organization structure and culture, as well as use of new technologies and business processes. ITAC recognizes that we may need assistance to remove cultural and/or financial barriers to enable this commitment.
Potential for Replication:This CSU shared services approach could also be replicated at other institutions and could be especially relevant for us within other systems of higher education.
Additional Resources:An additional contact is Jolene Koester, president of CSU Northridge from 2000 to 2011, and who led the institution during the time in which this initiative was implemented. She can be reached at jolene.koester@csun.edu. 
CEO-to-CEO Contact:Dianne F. Harrison , Presidentdianne.harrison@csun.edu
(818) 677-2121
Date Published: Tuesday, November 15, 2011Date Revised: Friday, January 13, 2012