2019 Technology Exchange

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From Friction to Function: Holistic IT Transformation for Data Science & Research

Time 12/11/19 11:20AM-12:10PM

Room Grand Chenier (5th)

Session Abstract

Institutions of higher education and research are rarely characterized by an ability to swiftly respond to change. The internal technology organizations and infrastructures of these institutions are all too often characterized by the same challenge: how can traditional technology service groups "jump back and regroup" and reorganize--both technically and culturally, to meet the changing and ever-escalating needs for modern data science and research?

At SMU, strong external and internal forces challenged IT leadership to initiate a holistic transformation of fragmented institutional technology services and cultures into a cohesive, unified and more cost-effective single IT unit. Not only tasked with unifying traditional operations-centric IT people and infrastructure, SMU's IT leadership successfully "broke the mold" for IT organization design and implemented an organization prepared for performance which is characterized by change and agility.

No longer constrained by fragmented technology or legacy technology culture of the past, SMU's "one IT" has improved not only normal operations and business processes, but has, most important to the institution's strategic plans, positioned IT tools, networks, infrastructure and people to more rapidly and professionally support the burgeoning and ever-changing demands required by computational researchers across such disciplines as data science, the "internet of things," and high performance computing. The successful transformation of IT organizational design and culture also proved well-suited to IT's ability to more rapidly enable and support online distance and online education activities at the same time.

SMU's holistic IT transformation, over the last several years, offers a unique model for how technology tools and people can be implemented to not only offer operational IT services at lower costs, but how shared tools and people can enable research and data science as well as academics in general. Our presentation will share our model for success, lessons learned along the way, pitfalls to avoid--as well as data we've utilized to measure our extraordinary progress. While not without the natural friction that comes from change, incredible functionality is possible--especially those functions which move beyond strong operations and into partnering with faculty to create new knowledge.


Speaker Jason Warner Southern Methodist University

Speaker Michael Hites Southern Methodist University

Speaker Curt Herridge Southern Methodist University

Presentation Media

Primary track Cloud Architecture

Secondary tracks Advanced Networking

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