Institute reorganizes computing services


Central computing services on campus have been reorganized and renamed. Information Services and Technology (IS&T) results from the recent merger of Information Systems (IS) and Financial Systems Services (FSS).

"One of my goals is to expand the service orientation of the combined IS and FSS departments," said Jerry Grochow (S.B. 1968, S.M., Ph.D.), vice president for information services and technology. "When I arrived at MIT in November, I asked that we make an important though perhaps symbolic change in the organization name and my title. As I like to point out, the word 'services' comes first." Another key goal is to foster collaboration with all the groups on campus that provide information technology services.

Grochow heads a new organization with a team of five directors overseeing these key technology areas:

  • Academic computing--Vijay Kumar
  • Administrative computing--Wayne Turner
  • Client support services--Greg Anderson
  • Operations and infrastructure--Theresa Regan
  • Telephony--Allison Dolan

The first two areas provide expertise and technology for two major client groups on campus: academics and administration. Client support services helps all members of the MIT community resolve day-to-day issues with information technology. Operations and infrastructure runs MIT's common computing and network infrastructure, which is critical for academics, administration and research activities. That group also operates central applications systems such as Payroll, SAP and Stellar. The telephony group operates MIT's telephone system. Dolan will also direct IS&T shared services, which provides IS&T's internal finance, administration and human resource functions.

This reorganization has been done at a time of significant budget cuts. Due to MIT's financial situation, IS&T has had to reduce its staff by about 20 percent. Although this will be a significant loss to the community, IS&T has worked with Human Resources to provide many support resources for staff who have been laid off, including job counseling and outplacement services.

The main location for customers will remain Building N42 at 211 Massachusetts Ave. IS&T will vacate its leased space in the Student Center by the end of June and relocate remaining services to Building N42.

IS&T is realigning teams under the new organizational structure. Once the new structure has been finalized, it will be posted in the "About IS&T" section of the department web site at http://web.mit.edu/is.

Potential impacts of budget cuts

With support from community-based advisory committees, IS&T is making a conscientious effort to minimize effects of the budget cuts on its clients. "If we can change the way in which we provide certain services, over time we can provide even better services at lower cost," Grochow said. However, there may be some short-term effects on service:

  • Ensuring the integrity of MIT's campus network remains a top priority, but response times to some network outages may change.
  • Front-line help services are being consolidated.
  • Presales advice, computer repairs and Athena cluster maintenance will be outsourced. IS&T is working to make this transition as seamless as possible.
  • SAP upgrades and implementation of SAP-related systems will continue, but development cycles may take more time.
  • Equipment replacement programs for academic and administrative computing are being reappraised.

IS&T will reevaluate these changes in service as it adjusts to its budget constraints and as it receives feedback from the community.

To help set future priorities, IS&T will work with several groups, including the Council on Educational Technology, the SAPbiz group, the Administrative Systems and Policies Coordinating Council and IT Partners. In addition, a new group, the Information Technology Coordinating Council (ITCC), will be appointed by Provost Robert Brown and Executive Vice President John Curry and chaired by Grochow. The ITCC will advise senior management on high-level IT issues and resource allocation decisions.

IS&T has set up an e-mail address (ist-transition@mit.edu) for anyone at MIT with questions or concerns about the department's reorganization, or who wants to weigh in about IT services that are critical to their work. This e-mail address will remain active through June 30.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 11, 2004.


Topics: Administration

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