November 14, 2008
TThe University of Saskatchewan has taken an important step toward strategic management of its records and information by creating the position of Chief Information Officer (CIO) and a new office for Information Strategy and Analytics.
The CIO position has been taken on by Rick Bunt, who will continue to serve as associate vice-president of information and communications technology. In his new role, Bunt said he moves beyond day-to-day operations to building the strategy and architecture “that enables people to be intentional and responsible for information on campus. This is a signal to the community that my responsibilities extend beyond the operations of the Information Technology Services (ITS) Division, that I am someone who takes a campus-wide perspective.”
The CIO is a well-established position in the private sector and in government, he said. It is also growing more common at universities in recognition of the need for institutional leadership in planning, governance, policy, infrastructure and resources.
Creation of the U of S position follows a decision last spring by the Provost’s Committee on Integrated Planning to develop an information strategy that aligns with the university’s priorities and integrated plan.
“The sense many people have,” said Bunt, “is that our technology solutions are simply reactive and hugely expensive. What’s lost is a sense of strategy. It’s there, but we can now give it more emphasis.”
Bunt said many units on campus operate their own information systems. He sees his new role as one of “ensuring what they do and what they want to do can be properly supported through institutional architecture, and by that I mean everything from laptops to policy.”
His first task will be to review and update the university’s foundational document on information and communications technology, which is six years old. Then, over the next year, Bunt said he will meet with campus leaders to do a business assessment that will feed into university-wide strategy and policy around the development and use of information and information technology.
“As CIO, I should be someone who people on or off campus can come to for help and advice. I should also give advice to the university on priorities, gaps and impending pressures.”