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Briefing New governance committee oversees IT data and Project FOCUS strategies

Author: ITS

Posted on Feb 7, 2017

Category: News , General Interest , Management Briefings


Over the last several years a number of committees were struck to ensure strategic alignment and operational effectiveness of different but related services and initiatives. The IT Advisory Committee was around for about 5 years, and reviewed enterprise IT strategy, provided feedback on various IT initiatives, and was in early stages of participating in the definition and prioritization of new IT projects. The Data Governance Committee was formed last year, to define broad goals and objectives for data management practices at UNB, and to oversee the work of the Data Management Working Group. Finally, the Project FOCUS Steering Committee was formed to provide oversight to the many projects planned to revitalize and rebuild the enterprise system, Colleague, and all its myriad functions and modules (including Financials, Student Information, HR, and Advancement).

These separate but related committees were quite large, in keeping with UNB’s culture of inclusion and bi‐campus reality. One striking aspect of the committees, however, was the overlap in membership— four individuals were on all committees, while another four were on two. Another was that different models were used for each of the committees: IT Advisory is based on COBIT, an industry standard framework for IT governance and management; Data Governance is based on a framework adapted from one used at the University of Notre Dame, and widely regarded as a de facto standard; while Project FOCUS is in line with UNB’s own, time‐tested approach to such oversight bodies (i.e. effective but not necessarily aligned with any particular model, in other words home‐grown).

New committee formed

To ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness of governance activities around all these initiatives, the President’s Executive Team created a new group—the Enterprise Systems and Services Committee—to continue the work begun by these committees. A key activity for the group is to define and empower various steering and working groups to provide direct oversight of various activities including the FOCUS projects, IT strategy, data management, and so on. Such groups may be temporary (as with project steering groups), occasional (as with IT strategy), or permanent (as with data management). The committee will focus particularly on ensuring good governance framework setting and maintenance, benefits realization, risk optimization, resource optimization, and stakeholder transparency.

The new governance committee is representative, including a member from the Board of Governors, and two faculty members; a process for identifying the board and faculty members is under way. Some participants in the old committees are continuing on this one, while others are not. This committee doesn’t include student representation, though students will be invited to participate on steering and working groups, as appropriate. Committee members include the Vice President, Administration and Finance; the Associate Vice President, ITS; the Associate Vice President, Saint John; the Associate Vice President, Academic – Learning Environment; the University Comptroller; the Dean of Graduate Studies; the Executive Director, College of Extended Learning; and the Registrars. 

Finally, a clearly defined support group, consisting of specialists in group facilitation and logistics, change management, data management, and communications, is being formed to assist the governance group. These individuals come from a variety of areas, including ITS, Communications, and the Secretariat.

Terry Nikkel, AVP, ITS, February 2, 2017