Experts & Communities

Technology Advisory Council

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Helping you choose technologies with confidence

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Our goal is to help University of Minnesota faculty and staff navigate the process of choosing a technology solution. The Technology Advisory Council is made up of friendly, knowledgeable technology experts from across the University system. We have  experience with the University's unique, highly-interdependent technology environment. We are practiced with the University's technology policies, standards, and guiding principles. Our knowledge and experience is at your disposal, free of charge.

If you are exploring the use, purchase, or development of a technology, and feel like you could benefit from some helpful advice or simply want to discuss options, request a consultation.

Technology Knowledge and Experience

The University's technology ecosystem is vast and complex. It is virtually impossible for one person, or even one department to have expertise in all areas of technology. The tech advisors can complement your team's knowledge, helping to ease the stress of making decisions outside of your area of technical expertise, shortening the time you invest in research, and reducing your overall risk. Our areas of expertise include: 

  • Applications (e.g., vendor or custom developed)

  • Architecture (e.g., application, data, infrastructure)

  • Collaboration technologies (e.g., email and web)

  • Communications

  • Data (e.g., architecture, database, administration)

  • Network (e.g., wired, WiFi, voice)

  • Platforms (e.g., servers, storage)

  • Security (e.g., compliance, architecture)

  • Systems Management
  • Usability (e.g., accessibility)

  • User Support 

Get Advice

Consult the technology advisors by filling out a request form when you are exploring a technology solution or are planning your near- and longer-term technology strategies.

The Tech Advisors can help you

  • Anticipate the impact and efficacy of new technologies
  • Prepare for decommissioning technologies nearing sunset
  • Prepare Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and vendor reviews and selection processes
  • Assess security risks

What kind of technology solutions are appropriate to bring to us?

We are happy to discuss technology hardware, software, or services of all sizes with you. If you think you could benefit from reaching out to the council, contact us. We have had valuable discussions with University staff about everything from smart thermostats to when it's appropriate to use cloud solutions. 

When is the right time to contact us?

There is no wrong time to contact the Technology Advisory Council. However, the earlier in your technology exploration process, the better.

In our experience, most technology decisions follow a predictable process, progressing from inspiration to research, assessment, selection, and purchase and implementation. Wherever you are in the process, we can help! The table below gives examples of the kinds of decisions, resources used, and activities at each phase of the technology decision process.

Stages of selecting a technology for your unit

Inspiration Research Assessment Selection Purchase & Implementation

What we have isn’t meeting our needs.

Technology could make things better, faster, more efficient.

Search the University Technology Portfolio (sign in required)

Talk to Local IT staff

Talk to IT Service Owners

Talk to UMN colleagues

Search Google

Research using Gartner for Technical Professionals

Review security policy & standards

Assess accessibility

Evaluate usability

Consider integrations

Work with U Purchasing

Perform RFP

Strategize vendor relations

Make decision based on your criteria:

Guidance provided by Technology Portfolio


Ease of Use or Adoption

Total cost of purchase

Projected technical debt

Service Level Agreements

Work with U Purchasing

Work with General Counsel

Negotiate contract


Kent Mein

Domain Expertise:

  • Systems Management
  • Technology Advisory Council Chair
Kirk Madson

Domain Expertise:

  • Platforms
  • Technology Advisory Council Vice Chair