CUSTOMER STORY: ERIN MORGAN, ASSISTANT VP of Office of the CIO​

University of Texas at Arlington boosts IT value with Info-Tech insight

Assistant VP Erin Morgan elevates IT processes to support University goals

One of the state’s leading universities, the University of Texas at Arlington is an elite Tier One institution known for world-class research, academic excellence, and innovation. The public research university serves approximately 60,000 students engaged in roughly 80 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs.

Supporting this elite research university is a strong IT leadership team that strives to operate with efficiency, clarity, and integrity. A key member of this team is Erin Morgan, Assistant Vice President, Office of the CIO. Currently tasked with ensuring the effective operations of the Office of Information Technology at the university, Morgan has in fact spent her career serving the needs of the school. As a student at the university, Morgan worked part time in the computer labs, where she met international students whose families had used their life savings to pay for their education. It was then she realized the critical role the university plays in students’ futures: “It really struck me that, by sending their son or daughter to the school, it could have a meaningful impact for the whole family and lift them all up. I was hooked – I love what we do”

After graduation, Morgan moved through various roles at the university, starting with a supervisory position in the computer lab, followed by technical writing and then the creation of a Help Desk. After several years in Client Services, a new CIO saw Morgan’s potential and interest in strategy and moved her to administration, where she has focused on developing strong business processes. “We try to innovate and push the boundaries. We want to develop processes that can be picked up and used anywhere. In fact, we want to expand beyond that, so we’re recognized not just within the university, but within the Higher Education community,” explained Morgan.

photo of erin morgan

Member Name

Erin Morgan, Assistant Vice President, Office of the CIO, University of Texas at Arlington

Industry

Higher Education​

university of texas

Aligning IT with business to drive value​

To help achieve that success, Morgan has regularly sought guidance from Info-Tech Research Group, an IT advisory firm offering best-practice research, actionable tools and roadmaps, and analyst expertise. For example, the team leveraged Info-Tech’s IT Governance programs to build a governance structure that would drive IT-generated value by aligning IT with university objectives. Of critical importance to Morgan has been the approach IT takes to communicate with the university on IT initiatives and budget: “We’ve been talking to Info-Tech to figure out what are the right conversations to bring to an executive board. We need to somehow elevate the conversation to what’s strategically important to the university and what’s going to have the biggest impact,” said Morgan.

As part of the process, Info-Tech’s Value Stream – Capability Mapping Template and expertise are helping the team identify specific capabilities that are critical to enabling IT value. Morgan explained, “I would like to develop a strategic capability map that ties the university’s strategic goals to capabilities, in a way that is very high level and easily consumed. Info-Tech is helping put that strategy map together and providing industry knowledge to make it more easily consumable.”

Delivering IT metrics at a glance​

One of Morgan’s key engagements with Info-Tech was to enlist their support in designing a measurement and eporting dashboard to improve how and what content was being reported to stakeholders. Info-Tech helped design a strategy for reporting critical IT metrics in a single dashboard. The Info-Tech CIO Business Vision survey, which measures the organization’s satisfaction with IT performance, delivered valuable data for the dashboard. Morgan noted, “We’re working to address the findings that came out of Info-Tech's CIO Business Vision diagnostic. We’re going to meet with the folks that participated while it’s still top of mind.”

A new iteration of the dashboard is already on Morgan’s radar, based on Info-Tech’s Create a Holistic IT Dashboard blueprint. Following the Info-Tech framework, she plans to inventory all their performance data and identify which key performance indicators (KPIs) to put in front of stakeholders. “I’m looking at the data that Info-Tech has already put in place around best-practice KPIs. Then, I’ll get the leadership team together and we’ll prioritize what we already have in our inventory against the best-practice KPIs from Info-Tech. We will create a dashboard that our customers can access in our university reporting tool,” said Morgan.

“I’m looking at the data that Info-Tech has already put in place around best- practice KPIs. Then, I’ll get the leadership team together and we’ll prioritize what we already have in our inventory against the best-practice KPIs from Info-Tech. We will create a dashboard that our customers can access in our university reporting tool.”

digital business strategy infographic

Defining the digital journey to enable innovative technologies​

To keep this top research university ahead of the digital curve, Morgan and her team enlisted Info-Tech to help map out digital strategies, beginning with an Info-Tech Digital Strategy workshop. A variety of stakeholders participated in the week-long workshop and left eager to attend additional Digital Strategy Workshops. Morgan described the valuable experience: “We got so much out of the Digital Strategy Workshop. Through the leadership and expertise that Info-Tech brought into the conversation, participants were able to get a good understanding of what’s important to the university, such as e-learning, and what we need to focus on.”

Leveraging a trusted partner in Info-Tech​

From surveys and workshops to analyst discussions, Morgan is quick to identify the benefits she sees in leveraging Info-Tech’s expertise. She noted that the best-practice tools, templates, training materials, and step-by-step methodologies are easy to put into action: “What I like about Info-Tech is that we get practical solutions to everyday problems in running an effective IT organization.”

She added that the analysts who offer advice and insight are at the leading edge of their subject matter expertise: “I look for the quality of the analysts. How well are they keeping up with trends in their particular subject area? Are they refreshing the content? Are they innovating in their area? I can see that not only are they helping to push me forward, but that they are also pushing themselves forward.”

Morgan highlighted the relationship with her Info-Tech executive counselor, a dedicated expert she relies on: “At times she is like an executive coach. At other times, a network guru. Not only does she have industry network connections, but she’s very well connected to what’s happening inside Info-Tech. So, I can tell her about everything I’m working on and where I’m getting stuck. And if I ask, ‘Can you connect me to somebody?,’ she’ll always find really great Info-Tech analysts to help support me.”

“I look for the quality of the analysts. How well are they keeping up with trends in their particular subject area? Are they refreshing the content? Are they innovating in their area? I can see that not only are they helping to push me forward, but that they are also pushing themselves forward.”

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