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Teams named to lead I/T in new directions

The team that will lead MIT as it shifts to the information technology framework needed to reengineer the Institute's administration processes has been appointed. Its goal: "Great systems fast," with the customers-the people using the technology-defining "great."

"The organizational structure we are moving to is unlike anything currently in place at the Institute," said Professor James D. Bruce, vice president for information systems, in naming the team. "The new I/T framework will affect all staff and managers in Information Systems as well as in other central offices who do information-based work. It is aimed at providing the I/T foundation necessary for MIT to succeed in its efforts to reengineer the Institute's administration processes." These processes include purchasing, supplies, student services, financial reporting and many others.

Professor Bruce said the appointments "mark the Institute's initial steps towards the new I/T (information technology) framework." That framework was announced last spring by Senior Vice President William R. Dickson, who chairs the Reengineering Steering Committee; Professor J. David Litster, vice president and dean of research, who is the sponsor of the information technology redesign team, and Professor Bruce.

The challenge is continuing to operate and support present systems while implementing new ones and helping people learn to use them, like the new financial reporting system needed for reengineering, Professor Litster said.

The goal is to have Information Systems using new I/T framework by December 1995, and other central administrative information efforts in the new framework by June 1996. A more complete discussion of what is planned, together with biographies of the leadership team can be found on the Web at .

In the new I/T framework, teams are the center of the action. They are accountable for results and for delivering business value, and will have the resources and authority to achieve their goals, Professor Bruce said.

The framework operates in three dimensions to promote the success of teams:

1. Process leaders coordinate the major aspects of I/T work-discovery, delivery, service, support and integration.

2. Competency group leaders coordinate the development of new skills and the sharing of existing skills throughout the Institute's I/T community.

3. Practice leaders sharpen the focus on customers and ensure that MIT's I/T resources serve the needs of specific constituents, e.g., academic computing and office computing.

In the new framework, individuals may be on one or on several teams. They may be a member of one team and a leader of another. They may work in more than one process at the same time, Professor Bruce said.

"I realize that this sounds more complicated than the way we think about work today. However, it is a way of organizing ourselves so we will be more effective in delivering value to the community," he said.

Appointed to the I/T leadership team are:

Greg Anderson, director of I/T Discovery. He will lead activities to plan, direct and manage work to ensure that advances in information technology are evaluated effectively and appropriate implementation strategies for using them are established.

Roger A. Roach, director of I/T Service. He will lead the service process: maximizing the value to MIT of the Institute's major I/T assets. He will be responsible for operating the campus' information technology assets including the central computers, the MIT computer network, the Athena clusters and the 5ESS telephone system.

Cecilia R. d'Oliveira, director, I/T Support. She will lead the process to help everyone in the Institute community make effective use of information technology in their work.

Susan Minai-Azary, director of I/T Integration. The integration process

ensures that the vital components of MIT's information technology infrastructure work together effectively. These include the computers, communications facilities, and the applications that are available for widespread use. Through standards, guidelines, tools and training, the integration effort aims to build a more consistent computing environment at the Institute that can be operated efficiently and upgraded continuously.

Timothy J. McGovern and Dr. Shirley M. Picardi, directors of I/T Competency Groups. They will work with individuals, team leaders and others to ensure that skilled I/T staff are available when needed to implement new I/T processes.

Dr. Gregory A. Jackson and Diane M. Devlin, I/T practice leaders. Practice leaders advocate on behalf of the effective use of I/T among their constituencies and promote the I/T needs of these constituencies among I/T teams and staff. Their primary responsibility is to strive for excellence in the computing environment and services, ensuring that MIT's information technology resources meet the needs of our faculty, students and staff.

Also on the leadership team, which is led by Professor Bruce, is Marilyn McMillan, Implementation Captain for I/T Transformation. Her temporary role is to focus on accomplishing the I/T transition smoothly and to coordinate it with other reengineering activities.

Two openings remain on the team-the director of I/T Delivery and a third director for I/T Competency. Searches to fill these positions are now underway.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on August 30, 1995.

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