UCSB IT Strategy 2020

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The purpose of UC Santa Barbara Information Technology is to support an environment at UCSB that fosters its teaching, learning, research, and public service mission. The Strategic Plan aims to transform the campus IT community toward activities that directly support the university's mission. 

Considering the cost of education and our desire to keep indirect costs as low as possible, how can we provide a rich IT services portfolio while maintaining an appropriate, balanced level of IT expenditure and service quality as good or better than what we've come to expect? Most expense centers around the labor force and associated indirect costs such as electricity and commercial real estate occupancy. What if we could change the fundamental ways in which UC IT enables the mission?

Mission-Focused IT

In 2016, UCSB Information Technology began to define and establish a strong technology foundation. As Figure 1 illustrates, the campus IT community has addressed areas that set a strong technological and security foundation, under the waterline and mostly hidden from the general campus.


Figure 1: UCSB IT has built a strong technological and security foundation that supports future activities that are visible above the waterline.

As the campus technological foundation has begun to mature we are now able to turn our attention to the ways in which IT supports the mission of the university more directly — toward Mission-Focused IT. The Council of Australian University Directors of Information Technology (CAUDIT) provides a framework to help structure conversations and activities at UCSB that lead to Mission-Focused IT.  The full CAUDIT framework can be seen here. Figures 2a - 2c below, represent a series of views of the CAUDIT Mission-Focused IT framework and help illustrate how the framework aids Mission-Focused IT.

Figure 2a: CAUDIT Mission-Focused IT Framework

Figure 2b: Many CAUDIT capabilities make up the university

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Figure 2c: CAUDIT capabilities have many processes

This document is meant to engage the campus community and invoke discussions that will help achieve Mission-Focused IT. Figure 3 below illustrates the process and timeline associated with the creation of the UCSB IT Strategy.

Figure 3: Strategy process and timeline


The UCSB IT Strategy consists of 7 Strategic Visions:

Each strategic vision includes key priorities that will help the campus achieve the vision over time. The following sections describe them and the key priorities that will ensure that the vision is realized.

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Vision: SERVICE QUALITY (trains run on time)

Service Quality — or as Executive Vice Chancellor David Marshall says, “Trains run on time” — assures that the IT services necessary to operate campus smoothly are understood, managed, available, reliable, supported, and have lifecycle plans that guarantee continued support of campus needs.

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Vision: UCSB IT Mission-Focused Strategy Development

UCSB IT Mission-Focused Strategy Development lays the foundation and identifies initial steps toward active, public, broader, campus IT support of the UCSB mission: research, teaching and learning, and public service. 

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Vision: People. Recruit, Develop, Retain Our Workforce

People who will fulfill the visions represent a critical component of the UCSB IT Strategy. Success requires innovative approaches to recruit new talent, helping people expand their skill sets to include the new technologies that will drive the campus, and leveraging opportunities to retain talented, dedicated people. Key Priorities support a labor force that wants to spend its career at UCSB, continually acquires new knowledge relevant to mission attainment, and primarily focuses on enabling student success and the discovery processes of our research community.

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Vision: Liberate the Data

Data is an institutional asset. Historically, data has been held in silos at UCSB, slowing decision making and leading to inefficient solutions based on insufficient data. Liberating the data provides decision-makers with ready access to the right data at the right time in the right context.

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Vision: Cloud

The value of floor space on the campus continues to rise as cloud computing cost competes with on-premise computing. Soon, an inversion point will occur where on-premise computing — combined with its overhead costs (space, cooling, electricity, and spare parts) — becomes more expensive than cloud architectures. Building cloud expertise and culture positions the campus to leverage cloud technologies while controlling infrastructure costs.

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Vision: Information Assurance - Defense in Depth

Information Assurance Defense in Depth addresses the need to protect campus information assets. Growing and emerging threats such as hacktivism, cyberwar, and attacks on data integrity risk campus information assets and are amplified by environmental changes such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and increasing systems complexity. Information Assurance Defense in Depth follows the NIST Cybersecurity Framework of Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover. Enhancements to current technologies and new emerging technologies and trends will secure campus information assets.

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Vision: Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation — the process by which inefficient processes are morphed into efficient, effective processes — combines many of the other strategic visions to provide the campus community with tangible work or risk savings. Manual, wet-signature, paper-based business processes will transform into a paperless, authoritative, and legal digital signature infrastructure.