MIT Reports to the President 1997-98


Information Systems (IS) supports MIT's core missions of education, research, and service by ensuring that the Institute's information technology (I/T) resources are effectively, efficiently, and equitably maintained and applied. By partnering with customers to develop and deliver timely business solutions, and by partnering with vendors to influence and adapt their products and services, IS delivers consistent and reliable I/T products and services to the MIT community. IS engages its customers in a dialogue about the substance and rationale of I/T policy, procedures, and standards, and recognizes that IS staff are key resources enabling the delivery of I/T products and services.

Three years after the launch of I/T Transformation (Trans-I/T), it is clear that IS's evolution from a traditional functional organization to a process-centered, team-based one has taken longer than anticipated. However, recent experience has begun to show the benefits of the Trans-I/T design. IS is now seeing more effective application of MIT's I/T resources through increased staff mobility and concentrated team focus on I/T activities and initiatives throughout the Institute. IS is committed to continuing to learn its way into working in the new framework and to ensuring that the new framework works for us, for our customers, and for the Institute.

By the end of fiscal year 1998, IS staff had achieved an impressive range of accomplishments, some of which are highlighted in the reports which follow. This section presents an IS overview.

Work in IS is organized around three explicit elements: IS's customers, its work, and the skills of its staff.

Late in the year, IS was fortunate to add Allison F. Dolan to the I/T Leadership Team. Ms Dolan joined the Institute as Director, I/T Staff Development and Resource Management; in this capacity, she will lead the IS Competency Group.

More information about Information Systems and its work may be found on the World Wide Web at the following URL:

James D. Bruce


The Academic Computing Practice seeks to promote and enable MIT education through the effective use of information technology (I/T). Collaborating with I/T Process teams and in partnership with academic departments, the Academic Computing Practice provides widely distributed client-server computing designed to facilitate undergraduate education. This occurs primarily through the Athena Computing Environment, which is used by thousands of faculty, students, and staff each day, with over 10,000 different "logins" on peak days. Academic Computing also provides advocacy, training, documentation, and consulting services to support academic work. During FY 1998:

M. S. Vijay Kumar


During FY 1998, the Office Computing Practice continued its efforts to ensure that administrative computing customers and providers derive maximum value from MIT's information technology (I/T) resources. Collaborating with I/T Process teams and in partnership with administrative offices and departments, the Office Computing Practice worked to build constructive relationships with individuals and organizational units that share the Institute's administrative responsibilities towards its primary mission of research and education. The work of this Practice relies on a solid and current understanding of office computing needs, opportunities, and priorities. These are essential to discovering, implementing, and supporting the best applications of information technology for the administrative computing environment.

Theresa M. Regan


The mission of the Voice, Data, and Image Networking Practice (VDI) is to ensure that the necessary information technology (I/T) systems and services are available to support academic, research, and administrative efforts at MIT. This includes working with IS Process owners and outside vendors to make sure current systems are accessible

and have adequate capacity. In addition, this Practice helps identify new communications technologies and facilitates their availability to meet future needs.

During 1997-98, the Voice, Data, and Image Networking Practice focused on four areas:

Dennis Baron


The I/T Discovery Process promotes a shared vision of information technology (I/T) across the Institute. Discovery focuses on business analysis, best practices, data model and conceptual design, and resource commitments to ensure that projects are properly aligned at their outset. Discovery sets the stage for firmly sponsored commitments and an accelerated path for work in the Delivery, Integration, Service, and Support processes. As an established method for linking I/T to business strategies and customer needs, Discovery seeks to reinforce the shared nature of I/T work across the Institute.

In its third year of work, Discovery has become more visible and familiar to the MIT community. Discovery services have been actively sought by academic, office, and research business units, and the concept and terminology of "discovery" has become understood across campus. During FY 1998, there were over twenty-five projects with a Discovery component:

In FY 1998, Discovery efforts continued to normalize and follow a consistent flow through the IS work processes, ensuring that quality I/T products and services were delivered to MIT.

Greg Anderson


The I/T Delivery Process exists so that MIT and its schools, departments, laboratories, and centers can realize business value as rapidly as possible from the implementation of new information technology (I/T) products and services. Delivery work is organized exclusively into projects. Each Delivery project typically is launched after a Discovery project has qualified the business case and determined a technical approach. Currently, there are sixteen active Delivery projects; eleven others were successfully completed in FY 1998, and one more was terminated due to a reorganization. Highlights of the past year include:

Robert V. Ferrara


The core mission of the I/T Service Process is to manage MIT's information technology infrastructure reliably and efficiently. This infrastructure includes the data center in W91, MITnet, telephone and related services, the Athena Computing Environment, database services, and desktop maintenance (PC repair) services. During the past year, I/T Service teams in each of these areas reached significant milestones.

Roger A. Roach


The core mission of the I/T Support Process is the effective and efficient delivery of high-quality support services to the Institute's information technology users. Support is provided by a variety of standing teams: I/T Help Desk; Business Liaison Team; the MIT Computer Connection (MCC); Training and Publications; Desktop Products; Adaptive Technology Support (ATIC Lab); Departmental Computing Support (DCS); Campuswide Information Systems Support (CWIS); Athena Help/Residential Computing Consulting; Academic Computing Support; 5ESS Support; and Support Team Headquarters. Customer support is provided via e-mail and the Web, by telephone, at the customer site (including dormitories and FSILGs), or through walk-in service in several locations.

To better identify and refine support services, Support team members work to improve the help process by listening carefully to customers and balancing customer feedback with Institute goals and resource availability. While focused on different aspects of users' needs, the highly qualified staff on these teams share a common commitment to the I/T Support mission. During 1997-98:

William F. Hogue


The mission of I/T Integration is to implement an information technology infrastructure that has high levels of reliability, availability, and serviceability; provides excellent price/performance; meets current MIT needs and can quickly adapt to meet future needs; and enables the effective performance of the other I/T processes. During the past year, teams working in the Integration Process made progress on several fronts:

Susan S. Minai-Azary


The I/T Competency Group (CG) is responsible for ensuring that IS has the right people in the right jobs, with the right technical and behavioral competencies, at the right time.

Due to personnel departures in late FY 1997, IS did not have a Competency Group Director for most of FY 1998. Greg Anderson, interim CG director, led the Competency Group Planning Team, which was chartered to develop a direction for the competency concept and to provide staffing recommendations for the CG Team leadership. Based on the planning team's recommendations, IS posted the position of Director, I/T Staff Development and Resource Management, in November 1997. Over 100 resumes were received in response to general advertising and a targeted mailing to the participants of an "HR for IS" Conference. Three candidates were screened via telephone interviews, and two candidates were invited to interview on campus. Based on a competency-based interview process, each candidate met with the I/T Leadership Team as a group, the two current members of the CG Team, several IS team leaders, and IS staff, as well as an Human Resources Practice Development (HRPD) team representative. The selected candidate had a strong I/T background, as well as the requisite behavioral competencies. The new Director, Allison F. Dolan, arrived in IS on April 6, 1998.

Although they lacked a full-time director for much of the year, CG maintained a number of processes and programs focused on recruiting, retention, training and development, and performance management. In addition, CG continued to be an interface to Personnel and an internal focal point for IS employee relations.

Allison F. Dolan

MIT Reports to the President 1997-98