Office of Information Technology

Message from the CIO – May 2010

After much work, the college’s strategic planning sessions are nearly complete.  The result will be long-range goals, created from the input and feedback from students, staff and faculty, and community members.  Why do we engage in strategic planning and put forth all this effort?  The answer is quite simply to affect change and make things better.  Without well-defined goals, it becomes difficult to keep up with the changes in our surroundings, and we are all experiencing these changes.   

I do not think there is anyone who would disagree that strategic planning has value.  There are other plans that when combined with strategic planning help to support the efforts and make goals a reality.  A tactical plan is a specific list of objectives that match up to the goals outlined in a strategic plan.  If a strategic plan is telling us what needs to be done, a tactical plan tells us how to get it done.  Along with specific objectives, we need resources.  Resources are supported with budget plans to match how we spend to strategic goals, and training plans to insure faculty and staff have the right skills to meet changing needs.  Lastly, communication plans make sure people are aware of upcoming changes, and let them know what to expect.

That is quite a bit of planning!  We invest our time in strategic planning because we are committed to doing what we can to make things better for our students, our community, and ourselves.  Continuing our planning efforts will make sure our goals become a reality. 

With all the effort in planning, is it enough to affect the changes we desire?  Strategic planning is a top down approach to change, but what if we could also make changes from the ground up?  There are opportunities that exist now that can deliver wins if we get together and look for them.  This may sound utopian but it is already happening.  Recently, OIT met with Conference & Catering in a “Whiteboard Session”.  The goal was to share experiences and exchange ideas to better support classrooms and events.  The results were each department was able to come together, and agree on an approach to make improvements.  A similar method is being used in the Student Services Department to support the Degree Audit project. Because Degree Audit is a very large project that will require time to implement and test, OIT is working with the Records and Registration.  The whiteboard session approach is being used to discover any processes we can automate or improve, to free up time for Records and Registration to move forward with Degree Audit.

Whether it is through top down strategic planning or whiteboard sessions that seek to affect changes from the bottom up, the goals are the same.  We are looking to improve our surroundings and ourselves.  We are looking to come together and make changes for the better.  Through working to understand each other, our roles, and our needs, we can find solutions where everyone wins.


Mike Alstrom

Chief Information Officer