University Technology

IT Governance Glossary of Terms

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Alliance

There are three Alliances that evaluate IT-related ideas submitted by the WIU community that impact IT-related affairs of the University. They are the working groups in IT governance that consider ideas (called pre-proposals) that are submitted by the University community and develop formal proposals to be considered by the IT Governance Council. The alliances may work directly with individuals who submitted ideas to formalize proposals. They also work with IT technical resources in University Technology, AIMS, and ESS, and may also need to reach out to vendors during this process. While some of the work is conducted outside of meetings, the University community is invited to attend when an Alliance meets. Each Alliance also keeps the University community informed of its work and decisions by recording and publishing notes and minutes. One of its co-chairs also serves as a member of the Executive Committee.

Council

The IT Governance Council is the top level IT governance body at Western Illinois University. The Council receives proposals from its working groups (called Alliances) via the Executive Committee. The Council determines which proposals should move forward. After prioritizing them, the Council gives the proposals to the Owner of the IT governance process.

Executive Committee

The IT Governance Executive Committee is a coordinating body that schematically sits between the Council (the decision making body) and the Alliances (working groups). It serves as a single point of contact for the University community to submit proposals and screens proposals to ensure that the required information is codified. It does not make decisions regarding any proposal and serves to channel proposals to the appropriate Alliance. It also accepts completed proposals from the Alliances; ensures the form(s) are complete; and after receiving input regarding security, support and regulatory/compliance issues, forwards them to the Council for consideration.

The Executive Committee is also charged with creating Alliances as necessary. It also makes recommendations to the IT Governance Council to improve IT governance processes, including what types of requests do not need to be vetted (i.e., exceptions).

One of the co-chairs from each Alliance, along with an assistant, comprise the Executive Committee. The members of this committee elect a chair.

Governance

WIU's 2013-2018 IT Strategic Plan established IT governance, which engages the entire campus community as full-fledged partners in IT decision making. IT governance provides strategic leadership, establishes campus-wide IT priorities and policies in accordance with the University's Strategic Plan and the IT Strategic Plan, and is accountable and transparent to the University community as a whole. Through the governance process, major IT decisions are made in light of all technology needs throughout the University. It cuts across all colleges and business units to eliminate technology silos and has the authority to make decisions for IT projects that exceed a certain spending threshold or meet other established criteria. Given limited resources and the current economic landscape, significant technology investments need to be thoroughly vetted against the backdrop of the priorities across the University.

All requests (called pre-proposals) are analyzed for their relationship to the mission and strategic directions of the University as well as for total cost of operation. The information pertaining to these two key elements of information technology serves as the basis for the Alliances' and IT Governance Council's discussions and decisions concerning implementation and prioritization.

GPS

The Governance Proposal System (GPS) is an online system that serves several primary purposes.

  • It provides a means for any member of the University community to submit a request (called a pre-proposal) to be considered by IT governance. Thereafter, it keeps the submitter updated on the status of the request via email.
  • It serves as a workflow system for IT governance. As each group in IT governance (the Executive Committee, Alliances, Reviewers, Council and Owner make decisions regarding the request, it automatically alerts the next group that they need to take action and records a history of the progress and comments.
  • It allows the various committees within IT governance to see only those requests (pre-proposals and/or proposals) that they need to take action on.
  • The University community can view details on any pre-proposal or proposal in the system.

The underpinnings of the GPS system is Redmine (an Open Source application), which uTech uses for its Change Management System and other purposes.

IT Governance

WIU's 2013-2018 IT Strategic Plan established IT governance, which engages the entire campus community as full-fledged partners in IT decision making. IT governance provides strategic leadership, establishes campus-wide IT priorities and policies in accordance with the University's Strategic Plan and the IT Strategic Plan, and is accountable and transparent to the University community as a whole. Through the governance process, major IT decisions are made in light of all technology needs throughout the University. It cuts across all colleges and business units to eliminate technology silos and has the authority to make decisions for IT projects that exceed a certain spending threshold or meet other established criteria. Given limited resources and the current economic landscape, significant technology investments need to be thoroughly vetted against the backdrop of the priorities across the University.

All requests (called pre-proposals) are analyzed for their relationship to the mission and strategic directions of the University as well as for total cost of operation. The information pertaining to these two key elements of information technology serves as the basis for the Alliances' and IT Governance Council's discussions and decisions concerning implementation and prioritization.

Owner

The Owner is the person for whom IT governance is instituted to help in IT decision making. This individual is responsible for information technology across the University and makes the final decision regarding whether to implement each of the prioritized recommendations that have been submitted by the IT Governance Council. The Owner may choose to implement all of the proposals, some of them, or none of them.

The Owner, who is ultimately responsible for the implementation of anything he/she accepts, directs University Technology to implement accepted proposals as projects. The Owner does not abdicate responsibility for IT decision making and therefore has the prerogative to direct the implementation of an IT initiative without recommendation by the Council.

The owner also hears appeals when necessary. Alliance rejections may be appealed by the originator of the proposer directly to the IT Governance Owner. At the Owner's discretion, he/she may ask an Alliance to reconsider a proposal and provide rationale for doing so.

The Owner schedules and convenes two or more Council meetings per semester. This is a special meeting and is not held in conjunction with the President's Leadership Team meetings. These meetings are open to the University community. The Owner directs minutes to be taken and insures that they are published to the IT Governance website. Final decisions make by the owner are also recorded and published.

Pre-Proposal

A pre-proposal is a request or suggestion for a technology enhancement submitted by a student, faculty or staff member that has not been vetted by an Alliance.

Proposal

A proposal is a formal document that has been developed by an Alliance for consideration by the Council.

Reviewer

Reviewers are technical individuals who receive copies of formal proposals developed by the Alliances. They review the proposals from technical, security, risk, liability, legal, ethical, regulatory, policy,and procedural perspectives. Their comments will become part of the proposals as they moves forward through the IT Governance workflow process.

The reviewers use their staff resources as necessary to assist in evaluating potential risks and issues. In some cases, existing IT-related committees also assist in the proposal review process.

If the Executive Committee determines that the reviewers have raised significant issues, it will route the proposal back to the Alliance from which it originated and ask them to address the issue(s). On the other hand, if no significant issues were identified, the Executive Committee forwards the proposal to the IT Governance Council.

Submitter

An individual of the University community (a student, faculty or staff member) who uses the Governance Proposal System (GPS) to submit a pre-proposal.

Transparency

Transparency in IT Governance refers to those facets of the framework that encourage openness and communication. Elements of transparency in the IT Governance framework include:

  • The details and history of any proposal is available online to the entire Western community.
  • Anyone may add himself or herself as a watcher to a proposal in order to keep informed via email of changes in the status of the proposal.
  • Alliance and IT Governance Council meetings are open to the entire Western community. Links for meeting dates and times are available in the panel on the right-hand side of each Alliance’s and the Council’s web pages within the IT Governance Website.
  • Minutes and agendas of all meetings are published and accessible to the entire Western community. Links for this information are available in the panel on the right-hand side of each Alliance’s and the Council’s web pages within the IT Governance Website.
uTech

uTech is an abbreviation for the University Technology department at Western Illinois University

VPN

In non-technical terms, a VPN enables you connect your computer at home to the University’s network as through it was actually on the campus. It establishes a secure, encrypted communication channel (called a tunnel) and provides your off-campus computer access to all the network resources that your office or residential room computer enjoys. This includes, but is not limited to, the Samba share, group shares, and departmental servers.

To use the VPN, you must install the VPN client. For more information, go to www.wiu.edu/vpn.

Once the client is installed, you can access the VPN at https://vpn.wiu.edu.

Watcher

A watcher is any member of the University community (a student, faculty or staff member) that receives via email all changes that are made to a request/proposal that is currently in the Governance Proposal System (GPS). Any member of the University community can add themselves as a watcher of one or more proposals... and they can remove themselves as watchers at anytime. The Alliances can also add watchers. We advise that you be conservative in the number of proposals that you add yourself to as a watcher because anytime that a proposal is updated or its status changes, the watchers of that proposal will receive an email update.