Information-Technology Decision Matrix for Higher Education

Posted By on January 26, 2011

1. Does it align with the organization’s strategic plan?
a. Alignment with organization’s strategic goals will always be the most unclear part of the decision-making process. Goals breakdown to three distinct parts:

i. Written strategic planning goals
Strategic and written plans are the easiest to identify simply because they are the goals that are discussed the most and have very clear vision. The major mistake most technology professionals make here is trying to adapt their personal needs to fit into the overall organization strategic plan by wordsmithing goals. Giving an honest assessment one has to ask does this new technology truly advance my organization in the direction it’s trying to move.

ii. Unspoken goals and plans
The unspoken goals is one of the more difficult ones to identify i.e. during bad budget years nobody will say we need to cut costs but it is a major concern in the back of everyone’s mind. During administration transition years most administrators will be extremely cautious when making any major decisions until they have a clear view of the direction of the new administration. This is something that is never spoken aloud but something an experienced information technology professional must be aware of.

iii. Ego and self motivation of those requesting the technology.
The last and the most difficult to identify is the request for certain software or procedures driven by personal ego and personal gain. if administrators and information-technology managers would take a moment to ask the real questions without any ego involved and truly evaluate the real effectiveness or need of the request Does it help educate the students, does it improve the administration functions, does it enhance teaching and learning or does it help retention and recruitment. But as we see many people just think about what will make their life easier or what will help their career get to the next level.

2. Is it legal, will it break any state and federal laws?
This should be the s
implest question to answer Does it break any federal laws or state laws

3. Will any press be involved in making this decision?
a. Must judge all press both negative and positive?
b. Will it have a positive impact in the media or a negative impact on the institution as a whole?

4. Proceed with cost analysis and resource analysis for projectMust have a realistic view of total cost, short and long-term, how much the project cost to implement, how many resources you will need to implement. What are the long-term overall costs, recurring equipment costs and recurring personnel costs.

5. Securing necessary funding and resources to complete projectCan you secure commitment for funding for both short-term and long-term costs of equipment and personnel? YES/NO

As an information-technology professional in higher education it is not always about what is technologically sound. Sometimes it is truly a question of what is best for the organization as a whole and as long as you have a clear understanding of the long-term effect of any project and are able to explain it to everyone involved, you will be doing a true justice to your organization. The most important factor is that it is not a win lose situation for a technology professional. It is a situation that has nothing to do with ego, but more to do with the long-term effectiveness of your organization as a whole.

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