by Lisa Banks

Monash Uni reduces IT teams after consolidation project

Apr 06, 2011
CareersData WarehousingIT Management

Monash University has reduced the number of its IT teams from more than 50 to just one after consolidating IT service requests as part of a broader transformation program.

Speaking exclusively to CIO Australia, Monash CIO, Dr. Ian Tebbett, said the upgrade was well overdue and commenced just prior to his appointment in May 2010.

“Everything was locally determined and this gave an inefficient delivery model,” Tebbett said of the IT infrastructure prior to the transformation.

“That started to be recognised in 2007. It got more serious in 2009 when it moved to a shared services view, and that led to the definition of the CIO role which hadn’t existed until that stage.”

Tebbett said the dispersed nature of the university’s networks was reminiscent of a traditional approach towards technology in the higher education sector and Monash was heading towards a shared services model.

“The higher education sector is probably one of the last to get real about it,” he said. “We’ve got a number of expectations in the higher education sector. There’s a lot more collaboration going on between disciplines, other industries and other institutions.”

After choosing Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) as the systems framework and narrowing the selection of vendors down to six, Tebbett selected BMC for the consolidation, and installed the Remedy IT service management suite to provide the university’s 74,000 staff and students with more efficient IT support.

“They brought the design rigor to help us work through the requirements,” he said. “This was happening at a time when the university’s requirements were quite fragmented.”

Despite the project being a large undertaking for the university, Tebbett said it ran relatively smoothly, and was completed by October 2010; a mere six months since selecting BMC for the project.

The university was also one of the first Australian education institutions to migrate its email service to Gmail in 2009.

Since the rollout, Tebbett said the software has enabled greater transparency; logging some 1000 fault calls and 10,000 service requests each month and has provided the capability to see how quickly IT teams are responding to such calls.

“We have a better line of sight of the individual tickets [requests] going through…and a much more structured information on the ticket. It’s much more automated than the previous model,” he said.

“That has led to greater visibility to me and senior management and has allowed us to see how we’re performing.”

Tebbett said the project wasn’t based purely on achieving an ROI, but more about moving the university forward.

“We’re not measuring it as a straight cost investment – I would label this kind of system as a hygiene factor,” he said. “It amazes me to think an organisation can think it can live without one.”

Next on Tebbett’s agenda is the completion of the overall IT transformation, with the CIO saying that there are some ticketing systems still to be migrated across.

“It’s replaced a couple of ticketing systems so we’ve replaced some of those, but not all. The remainder of the team will come on board in the coming weeks,” he said.

“We are headed to being a single IT organisation with 500 staff and to be having a much more structured approach at engaging with users on an individual and management level.”

The university is the latest to consolidate its IT environment, with The University of New South Wales’ shared service program saving the educational institution some $750,000 in 2009 alone.

Follow Lisa Banks on Twitter: @CapricaStar

Follow CIO Australia on Twitter: @CIO_Australia