The Layer 8* Initiative
As part of the 2004-2006 compact planning cycle, NC State's Information Technology Division proposed an IT Investment Management Intitiative to improve the university's IT investment processes, to enhance the assessment of the return on the total costs of IT investments, and to strengthen the links between IT investments and the university's research, education and outreach mission. With encouragement from then Provost Oblinger, this initiative was launched in spring, 2004.
LAYER 8: A White Paper on Managing Information Technology Investments To Advance NC State’s Mission
The rigid imposition of a plan to centralize information technology (IT) may benefit certain government and commercial entities, but it is disastrous for higher education. The diversity of scholarly disciplines and pursuits require a diversity of technological tools and applications. The challenge is in meeting these needs while NC State faces an indefinite period of time in which no new revenue stream will appear to support information technology.
The Layer 8 white paper is a response to that challenge. It is not a plan unto itself; rather, it articulates the context in which campus-wide discussion among all NC State constituent groups must take place. With no new revenue streams available, the IT funds currently allotted must be used more effectively. Effectiveness must be measured by the balance we achieve between the ability of individuals units and departments to acquire discipline-specific technologies and the gains the university as a whole makes by streamlining operations of routine technology services (yes, this portion can include centralization). Transparency and accountability are paramount in re-aligning our IT infrastructure to meet individual and collective needs. What outmoded ways of thinking impede us, and what IT investing and managing strategies advance the university’s mission, outcomes, and values? Layer 8 sets the ground for that discussion to begin.
The paper was presented to the Academic and Administrative Coordinating Group (AACG) by Dr. Sarah Stein on October 11, 2004:
- LAYER 8: A White Paper on Managing Information Technology Investments To Advance NC State’s Mission, by Dr. Sarah Stein, Associate Professor, Department of Communication, CHASS; Vice Provost Sam Averitt, ITD; Dr. Henry Schaffer, Special Projects Coordinator, ITD.
Download an accessible PDF version of this document:
Updated Figures and Charts in PowerPoint: http://www.ncsu.edu/itd/cmptplans/layer8/figs-rev11-04.ppt
Appendix A: Highlights of the US GAO "IT Investment Management" report: http://www.ncsu.edu/itd/cmptplans/layer8/AppendixA-Highlightsonly-GAO-ITIM.pdf. For the complete GAO document see: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04394g.pdf
or, for the accessible text version, see http://www.gao.gov/atext/d04478t.txt
Appendix B:Overview of the NC State Virtual Computing Lab Pilot Porject:
The main document and endnotes are also available as MS Word document (pp. 1-31):
Cover pages for figures and appendixes:
*Note: "There are seven layers in the networking architecture that define how systems communicate. This architecture is the foundation on which all information technology (IT) is built. Insiders frequently refer to the human factor in IT as the eighth layer. The title is the message; our greatest challenge is not the technology." (LAYER 8, p. 3)