In February 2016, 57 members attended the CUCCIO winter member meetings at Ryerson University in Toronto.
CUCICO Members meet three times per year to discuss issues and ideas most relevant to the university CIO community. The objective of these discussions is two-fold: identify opportunities to collaborate and share information in support of helping other CIOs address similar challenges at their institutions.
Over the course of a day-and-a-half, members discussed a variety of topics. Three topics were discussed at length, however, and generated the most interest:
1. Preparing for a Different Future – People and Function
- Members were asked the question: “What does higher ed IT look like in five years?” In response, the CIOs discussed moving mission critical applications, such as ERP [enterprise resource planning], to the cloud; funding and budget limitations; and the evolutions in skills requirements.
2. Strategic Planning
- Members were asked to share their experiences with and approaches to planning for IT at their institutions. Discussions ensued around the balance between operational cuts and capital funding; the need for change management situational analyses; budget and faculty planning; capacity planning; talent management; and determining the best strategic plan timeline (e.g., one versus three years, fiscal versus calendar years, etc.).
3. The “Responsibility Centred Management” Budget Model
- Led by Alan Harrison of Queen’s University, this discussion focused on a new budget model (i.e., Responsibility Centred Management) being adopted or looked at by a number of institutions. Based on the principle of, “allowing individual academic units to keep all revenue, but the units must pay all expenses including indirect costs” (The Buck Stops Elsewhere – Curry, Laws, and Strauss, 2013), the goal of the new model is to have all key players take responsibility for their own budget. The successful implementation of this model often includes: champions from the top; everyone in the tent at the outset; strong and inclusive governance; transparent and readily accessible data; financial expertise in all units; an established budget process; a robust enrolment model; and a willingness to revise the budget cycle.
Allison Dias of Wilfrid Laurier University – a member of CUCCIO’s Standing Committee on Communications – attended these member meetings, and has developed a follow-up report, discussing these three themes in more depth. A copy of the report is available to members through the CUCCIO members-only website.