Re: [Micronet] Outlook/Exchange, Operational Excellence, Animal Sacrifice, etc.

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Re: [Micronet] Outlook/Exchange, Operational Excellence, Animal Sacrifice, etc.

Zane C Cooper
I'd like to make one thing very clear: the Haas School of Business and its IT organization are not in love with Outlook/Exchange.  We operate it because we have specific departmental, unit, and customer functional requirements, particularly in the area of robust integration of services, that make Outlook/Exchange the best and right choice for the School right now.  Technology always changes, as does the School's functional requirements.

As CTO, one of my responsibilities is to continuously advise the School regarding developments and trends in IT with the School's student services, academic, administrative, and functional needs constantly in mind.  If a solution becomes available that is clearly superior and/or more cost-effective in meeting these needs, or if something new emerges that holds great promise, we develop a pilot and later a transition plan to deploy the new solution.  This could include outsourcing alternatives like GoogleApps, other cloud offerings, or even UC Davis.

I've been long under the impression that we should not be in the business of operating commodity level services on the Berkeley campus at all unless it's required for compliance reasons.  Consistent with OE, no IT organization on campus adds much value by operating commodity-level services.  It's all down side: no one can say that their customers praise them for "keeping the lights on."  If the demand and functional requirements for robust and extensive integration with other services did not exist, or was not as great, we would consider outsourcing student email at Haas.  Indeed, since the integration capability of some of the hosted service providers is better now than before, we are in fact currently piloting outsourced student email with a small group.

Instead of providing commodity-level services, my objective is, whenever and wherever possible, assign our IT resources to areas that require institutional knowledge and expertise (Berkeley or Haas) and that contribute directly to improving the student experience, research, teaching, and public service (the core stuff).  To achieve this: all options are on the table, we establish a lifecycle and cost analysis for every service we operate and compare against potential alternatives, and we acknowledge that things can and do change and that change is driven by our customers (i.e., faculty, students, staff, alumni, etc.), not the IT organization.  This is very important: what the Haas IT organization does is largely driven by customer expectations and requirements.  Here we do not deploy technology for its own sake.  We do not deploy because it is open source, consortium-developed, closed-source, community-source, or commercially-developed, or uses a particular framework or standard.  We deploy because our customers actively participate in the decision-making process and the IT organization supports customers by alignment with them.  We also monitor, survey, and continuously measure our solutions and service effectiveness and by providing the best alternatives currently available to meet customer needs.

Zane Cooper
Chief Technology Officer
Haas School of Business
University of California Berkeley
(510) 642-7280 (o) / (510) 642-5307 (f)

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