Guiding Principles

IT@UMN is a community of IT professionals across the University working together to support and advance the academic mission of the University of Minnesota.

Our dedicated IT professionals are here to connect you with innovative services that meet your teaching, learning, and research and administrative needs. Join us, and support innovation and engagement through technology.

Unified Culture of IT

Perhaps the most difficult change of all is reinventing the way we perceive ourselves. Because of the historically distributed nature of the University, many of us in IT think of ourselves as members of a unit or college first and foremost. And while it is entirely rational to do so, the only way that IT can meet today's financial challenges and maximize support for the University's mission is to transform to a more cohesive, communicative, interdependent, and efficient organization. We are members of the same team. This is a significant paradigm shift away from how we’ve worked historically. It requires IT professionals to build trust and work together with people and units who seemingly used to be in foreign (and sometimes competing) fiefdoms. The first step is creating an environment where trust and collaboration is not only possible, but encouraged and rewarded. The next step is not quick or easy. It involves people (many of whom are introverts) meeting each other, sharing, and learning from one another, tackling problems together—and gradually—developing a new, common culture in their newly recognized shared IT organization that functions as a whole.

Professional, Efficient Delivery of IT Services

Once the institution has articulated its needs and priorities for IT, it is the role of a professional IT organization to deliver those services as efficiently as possible. IT staff and management strive to deliver services that advance the University’s mission in a professional, consistent manner, and as inexpensively as possible. We must identify and capitalize on opportunities to work smarter, and we must be willing to accept the right level of service. Only by making these challenging steps can we identify cost-saving opportunities, and reinvest dollars into the academic and research mission of the University.

Customer-Driven IT

“Customer-driven IT” doesn’t just mean the same cliché that businesses use to mean “putting the customer first.” Rather, it refers to an IT governance model in which the customer is truly in control of setting the direction and priorities for IT.

In order for this to work, IT cannot think of itself as simply a service-provider organization. Instead, all IT staff must constantly work to expand and deepen our relationships with each other and with our colleagues in the colleges and other non-collegiate units across the University system. Only by understanding our partners’ goals and the challenges they face can IT become an effective strategic partner who is able to deliver services critical to advancing the priorities of the University.