A message from the CIO: Partnerships

CIO Thomas Bunton wearing a friendly smile.

Thomas Bunton, CIO

Partnership. It is a term we hear often, but for UA Little Rock IT Services, it represents an alliance that we seek with every one of our projects. Technology without the partnership between business drivers and subject matter expertise is just that—technology. However, when it is implemented in concert with subject matter experts and is carefully thought out and designed (or redesigned) to achieve defined business goals, streamline operations, reduce costs, and informed decision making, technology is innovation.

UA Little Rock is at the watershed of several different technology projects that will drive how our campus conducts business. The success of the Banner 9 upgrade over the past year was a tremendous reflection of the significant partnerships that exist across campus. Despite aggressive timelines and seemingly countless outdated custom-built forms, the campus was able to successfully implement a basic deployment of Banner, coined “Banner 9 as Designed,” with no external custom-developed code or forms. Through honest conversations and a willingness to reconsider how campus does its business versus how Banner was designed, UA Little Rock avoided a projected $220,000 in consulting costs to rebuild outdated custom forms.

In another example, the ongoing network refresh project—set to be completed by the start of the fall semester—is another outstanding illustration of partnerships across campus. By optimizing and leveraging UA Little Rock’s buying power, the campus re-envisioned the network from solely a department offering, or “perk,” to one that is a universal service across the organization. Not only did the campus achieve significant procurement savings, but by resizing the new network to meet the current campus needs, UA Little Rock avoided an additional $2 million in hardware investment that would have otherwise been necessary.

These are just two excellent examples of partnerships where UA Little Rock came together to reach a solution that is more valuable than individual areas could have attained on their own. CRM Recruit, CRM Advise, DegreeWorks, Civitas, Parchment, Handshake, University Directory, Kaspersky Removal, and Dark Fiber are just a few of the more than fifty partnerships IT Services has with various departments across campus, all with a common goal to move UA Little Rock forward.

Much more work is ahead for our campus, and that work gets increasingly challenging and complex. Furthermore, timelines and external pressures will continue to increase. The campus transition to a centralized computer directory, via the new Active Directory project, is paving the way for a streamlined, single-campus login that is setting the groundwork for the upcoming WorkDay initiative. This project will also lead the way for the campus to realize significant savings with how UA Little Rock procures, tracks, manages, and supports workstations across the organization.

Partnerships are not the only factor in implementing and optimizing technology to ensure campus success. Critically evaluating campus needs, valuing contributions, and re-imagining resource availability and assignments are also necessary components. However, while all of these elements are essential, the partnership factor is perhaps the most critical ingredient that will sustain us as we work together to accomplish these goals.

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