Campus News

October 20, 2010

Report From: Office of Information Technology

Pursuing a 'One IT Experience'

Rich Mendola is vice president of information technology and chief information officer

If you are a clinical faculty member at Emory, there are a range of questions you face every week in determining how to navigate Emory’s Information Technology services.

Questions such as what help desk to call when you have a problem; what desktop support staff you need to get involved to resolve an issue with your Mac or PC; or how to share a document with colleagues from Emory Healthcare and Emory University. 

These are some of the simple yet organizationally complex decisions we plan to address as part of the “One IT Experience” initiative.

The genesis of the One IT Experience started in the spring of 2010, based on input from several of the clinical chairs and center directors in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center. 

Following a preliminary assessment, President Jim Wagner endorsed the guiding principles for the initiative, and a more detailed planning phase began over the summer.

Based on discussions at a planning retreat in July, working groups were formed to focus on the following areas and key customer questions: 

1.    Architecture/Security Reviews: How can we design secure systems so they can leverage Emory and industry standards and help us avoid “re-inventing the wheel?”

2.    Collaboration: What types of systems should be used to collaborate across the institution? How can you share your documents with other individuals and teams, whether they are on a Mac, a PC, the EHC virtual desktop, or a mobile device like an iPad?

3.    Data Management: How can researchers easily combine data from the Clinical Data Warehouse in Emory Healthcare with their local databases?

4.    Desktop Management: Who should you turn to when you have a desktop question that may involve components from multiple IT support organizations?

5.    Help Desk: What mechanisms should you use for getting the most timely, relevant answers to your support questions?

6.    Identity Management: Is it possible to use one set of credentials to log on to all of the systems at Emory Healthcare and across the rest of the University?

7.    Network Zone Simplification: If you want to store confidential data on a server, where on the network should it go?

8.    System Integration: If your unit wants to develop a new piece of software, how do you easily get real-time or near-real-time data out of the central systems?

The bottom line in answering all of these questions is that we should be optimizing around the customer’s experience; not merely selecting options based on organizational structures or historical precedents. 

The teams are targeted to complete their recommendations by December, so that any changes that have funding impacts can be factored into the fiscal 2012 budget process.

We expect that there will also be a number of recommendations that can be put into place immediately. 

I am confident that the changes that come out of the One IT Experience project will better align IT with the multiple-mission nature of the institution and will improve the stewardship of our IT expenditures.

My colleagues and I view this exercise as the next stage in realizing the full potential of our information technology investments at Emory.  

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