Adelaide Uni academic takes CIO role

The University of Adelaide's head of its School of Computer Science has jumped the commercial fence to become the institution's new associate director of IT strategy and architecture.

The University of Adelaide's head of its School of Computer Science has jumped the commercial fence to become the institution's new associate director of IT strategy and architecture.

(Credit: University of Adelaide)

The university had been reviewing its IT management structure, the institution's services and resources vice-president Paul Duldig told ZDNet.com.au recently. At the time, Duldig had oversight for IT, property and HR.

He decided to to form an IT and property infrastructure division within his realm of responsibility, which he wanted someone with general management capabilities to lead. Virginia Deegan, who was the general manager at Royal Adelaide Hospital, has been appointed as the university's inaugural director of infrastructure.

Underneath Deegan, Duldig felt the need for someone to guide the university's information technology services in a strategic manner: changing the IT department's focus from just having working cables, devices and networks to seeing the big picture. "I decided IT needed a senior executive to see over its development," he said.

The appointee was to make the IT department focus more on the business. "I wanted to make sure we've got not just the IT networks and bandwidth worked out, but also that we're genuinely partnering with the business," he said.

At first Duldig looked externally for someone to fill the position. "We did go out to market for a CIO sitting above all of IT," he said. "I just wasn't convinced that the people we were getting were going to have the breadth of strategic management experience," he said.

In the end, Duldig found the person he was looking for inside the university: Associate Professor David Munro, the head of the School of Computer Science. He has now been appointed assocociate director, IT strategy and architecture.

Munro had worked in IT services and as a system manager for many years in Scotland before moving over to the academic world after completing a PHD part-time.

"It's a real opportunity because one thing I can bring to the job is a real understanding of how the university works," Munro said, adding that his experience and position in the School of Computer Science had also given him credibility amongst the IT folks.

Munro will focus on four areas. The first one is enterprise architecture, an area in which the university is currently seeking to make another appointment. Secondly, he has to roll-out the new IT governance model which was created when the university's IT strategy was reviewed.

Thirdly, will attempt to improve communications between students and service desks — by removing a perceived "us and them" mentality. The last area was technology transformation, which will include projects such as the recent deal with Google which will see 16,000 students have the choice to move onto the hosted email system. A review is underway to see if staff might also use the system.

The university is also working on a student portal which would integrate with the university's PeopleSoft, Blackboard and Gmail systems to provide information to students in personalised way.

"They can actually construct their home portal however they want," Duldig said, with students able to include elements such as key university dates, exam results, library services or Gmail.

The portal was developed in two and half months with the archives and proof of concept from CAMPUS EAI, a consortium of universities around the world. The plan was to roll the portal out in May, as long as the Gmail migration went well.