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Project Title:IT Vision@2015Institution Name:California State University, Northridge Innovation Category:Strategic Planning Project Director:Hilary J. Baker, Vice President for Information Technology/CIOContact Information:(818) 677-7700, Hilary.Baker@csun.eduWebsite:http://www.csun.edu/it/vision@2015
Project Description:California State University, Northridge (CSUN) engaged in a collaborative process to create IT Vision@2015, a campus digital master plan.  Much like the campus physical master plan establishes a blueprint for the future look of the physical campus, the IT Vision@2015 establishes a five-year vision for information technology.  The vision has been framed within the context of the University planning priorities and considers collaboration opportunities internal to CSUN, and within the broader California State University system community and other higher education institutions.

The purpose of undergoing the visioning process is to create a framework to ensure the alignment of technology priorities with institutional priorities, to inform priority setting, to build further understanding of  how IT resources are deployed, and to guide annual IT project planning.

Planning Horizon:  In terms of the planning process itself, a five year horizon was selected in order to identify what major technology developments will likely have the greatest impact on the University, and to identify ways in which the University could use and manage technology differently.  

Steps: Five planning steps were used over a year to organize the process.

  1. Organize the planning process (summer 2010)
  2. Discuss vision with groups throughout campus and scan similar planning at other Higher Education Institutions (fall 2010)
  3. Document the preliminary vision report (December 2010 – January 2011)
  4. Share the draft preliminary report and extend and refine the vision with groups throughout campus (Spring 2011)
  5. Document the final version and begin preliminary implementation planning (Summer 2011)

Preparation:  IT Vision@2015, co-led by the Provost and the Vice President for Information Technology, was developed through a year-long collaborative process that engaged faculty, students, and staff. The process used existing information technology governance committees, faculty governance committees, open forums, and some meetings were focused around strategic topics (e.g., sustainability) to generate ideas and insights to the IT Vision@2015.  Individual participation was also invited through a project web site that provided regular updates on the progress and collected comments and contributions through a blog.  In addition, a significant portion of the 2011 Information Technology Annual Survey for faculty, students, and staff featured questions regarding the future use of technology.

The IT Vision@2015 process began with a scan of key trends in information technology and higher education IT strategies.  Articles, white papers, and plans envisioning the future were reviewed and shared with the University community.  The discussion then turned to envisioning how major technology developments may impact the University, how we may use technology differently to support University priorities and how we will increasingly need to manage technology differently in the future.  These questions were explored broadly and some were more focused on specific topics including data, analytics and decision-making, operational effectiveness, and the commercialization of technology. 

A set of core questions was drafted to use with most IT Vision group meetings.  More focused questions were developed around themes, including paperless and sustainability.  At each session, notes about the meeting were gathered and were summarized in the Interim Report.

To organize the logistics of generating discussion and capturing what was discussed, multiple governance group and committee meeting dates throughout the fall semester were identified as times when Vision discussion would be one of the agenda items.  Special open forums (faculty, staff and student) were scheduled outside of the regular governance meetings. 

To support communication, an “IT Vision@2015” page was created on the IT website.  It contained a summary and timeframe for the planning process, a blog with some of the same baseline questions, and reading materials that were collected as background information to stimulate thinking prior to discussions.  


The IT Vision@2015 plan establishes a long-term aspiration for Cal State Northridge.  Realizing the vision it describes will require several individual projects and changes.  As a follow-up to this plan, the campus is now developing IT Vision@2015, “roadmaps” for each theme.  The roadmaps will establish the major strategies and high level sequencing of initiatives to implement the IT Vision@2015.  Each year, the Information Technology governance and advisory groups will work with the Information Technology division leadership to identify annual project priorities that are consistent with the roadmaps, University priorities and the IT Vision@2015.

Progress towards the goals will be measured and reported to the University community annually.  The Information Technology governance and executive campus leadership will evaluate progress more frequently and validate or amend goals, strategies, and priorities as circumstances warrant.  In this sense, the IT Vision@2015 will be a living document that adapts to shifts in institutional needs and priorities.  While the goals and aspirations it describes are unlikely to change, the strategies, tactics, and priorities pursued will be shaped by external events, lessons learned from initial pilots, and new opportunities that are discovered as we implement.

An interim report summarizing major themes and strategies was compiled and circulated back to the same groups for comment.  A final report is written was approved and is available on the project website, http://www.csun.edu/it/vision@2015.  Project roadmaps will be developed during the 2011-2012 academic year.    

Challenges/Problems Encountered:

The process was time-consuming because we chose to effectively engage and consult with the campus community and allow time for the community to review an interim report.

Many aspects of the vision are transformational in nature and so there may be associated business process and/or cultural changes, not solely technology changes.

Evaluation Approach:Moving forward, the IT Vision@2015 document will guide the Annual IT Planning process and project roadmaps will be updated accordingly.
Potential for Replication:The visioning process itself is highly replicable on any campus by adapting it to an institution’s governance and stakeholder structure.  Key success factors include institution-wide engagement in the process.
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
Date Published: Wednesday, November 16, 2011Date Revised: Friday, January 13, 2012