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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Administrative Overhaul at UC?

So reported the Chronicle yesterday, with supposed savings of $500 million.  The changes involve procurement streamlining, increased software compatibility, etc. It is presumably Regents item F3, but as of this posting there are no public materials to review.

Quite gratuitiously, "Peter J. Taylor, the university's chief financial officer, told The Chronicle that adopting common financial systems would encounter cultural resistance in such a decentralized system. 'The hard part isn't identifying the opportunities,' he said. "It's driving the cultural change that will have to take place.'

UC has been talking about things like regularizing computer systems (e.g. for payroll) for 20 years.  The obstacles have been No Coordination - these are complicated operational problems that require long-term effort from UCOP - and No Money.  It's true that campus offices don't like unfunded mandates from on high, but contrary to CFO Taylor's remark, there is no "cultural" support for outdated and incompatible software and for five layers of procedural checks.

On the other hand, there is a need for central administration finally to follow through on their talk, which will also entail that they not foolishly imply at the start of a process that the campus personnel who will implement any changes have been causing the problem by dragging their feet.  Several of UCOP's most vocal figures now routinely address everyone below the rank of senior manager with a reflexive, defensive, arrogance that makes them look pretty silly while reducing the chances that even worthy programs will succeed.


cloudminder said...

Yes, UC is resistant to change-yes, UC is full of professional foot draggers- that is the problem!!! We have to be truthful, even when it is really painful to say it.
From my own experience-- I have to say that at UC there is indeed " 'cultural' support for outdated and incompatible software and for five layers of procedural checks" and far worse-- I guess we will just have to agree to disagree with Chris Newfield's comments to the contrary-

We have questions though:

Does the $500 million savings include savings on avoiding future legal fees and payments that could be paid out in future years to students, alumni, patients, staff etc for data security "issues", breaches, identity theft, HIPAA fines etc. due to educational IT security incidents? (Please see http://www.adamdodge.com/esi/category/1/62 for examples of what I am referring to) Are they projecting future savings in part based on what they have had to pay out thus far without the necessary streamlining of enterprise systems systemwide? Or are they solely talking about administrative costs, software purchases, and IT staff etc?

And are the Regents going to fund a system-wide Data Stewardship-Security Council to monitor the security of these new streamlined system-wide HR and financial systems? A Stewardship Council that is not housed at UCOP or funded by UCOP directly. Wouldn't it be great to have a Data Stewardship Security Council that has students, staff, alumni, faculty on it-- people whose data is actually stored in these systems -- a sort of watchdog group that the Regents fund and that is impartial and unbiased and in partnership with the Regents looking out for the interests and privacy rights of the entire community?! Up to this point, such groups have been headed up by IT and other senior admin types who may not be the best judge and jury of their own work-- if you get my drift... How 'bout it Regents?

Unknown said...

UCB Chancellor Birgeneau has lost the trust of Faculty and staff...UC President Yudof needs to address this obstacle to creating UCB's future,,,see "loss of Trust" Letters Contra Costa Times

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