Praveen Panchal had recently taken the helm as Chief Information Officer at CUNY’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice (John Jay). He was eager to get an unbiased and granular portrait of the IT Operation and to find ways to improve customer service, drive operational efficiencies and control and manage costs. The operation faced several practical challenges. Chief among those were a limited staff, a very aggressive project portfolio and demanding non-IT business functions that had become the responsibility of the IT department. Human Resources, Budgetary, Security and Procurement functions were adding considerable administrative burden to an IT team already fully engaged in executing enterprise-wide infrastructure upgrades and supporting an expanding universe of technologies. Additionally, John Jay’s IT team faced significant resistance from the Academic community when trying to leverage technology tools to deliver support and perform administrative functions. This resistance added to the administrative burden of the IT staff, and drove up support costs.
Having worked with Custom in the past, Praveen contacted Custom to leverage their proprietary assessment methodology which would help to develop an approach geared specifically toward John Jay’s objectives, challenges and culture. Custom began by speaking with Praveen to understand his key objectives and challenges which were to improve customer service, increase efficiency, improve operational management, control costs and reduce stress for the key contributors. Questionnaires specific to John Jay were then distributed to key personnel and stakeholders. The information and data obtained from these surveys allowed Custom’s lead consultant to design an onsite data collection strategy which included; one-on-one interviews with key staff, structured workgroups (group interviews) within and across teams and follow-up questionnaires and data/document requests. As the data was collected, the current IT Operation “as-is” was mapped out into Custom’s Maturity Model covering over 150 key performance indicators. In each area distinct performance indicators were assigned a “maturity value” along with supporting qualitative statements. This effort produced a granular portrait of John Jay’s relative strengths and opportunities for development.
Custom leveraged their proprietary assessment methodology to develop an approach geared specifically toward John Jay’s objectives, challenges and culture. Opportunities for development were prioritized to reflect the CIO’s objectives. Custom then developed a detailed tactical plan and timeline which positioned John Jay to achieve their goals. This tactical plan focused first on areas where “big wins” could be achieved with little to no capital investment.
The collaboration between Custom and John Jay proved to be a gainful partnership. The changes included a realignment of staff resulting in clearer/cleaner mission focus for individuals and improved morale. Deployment of new support reporting (phones and ticketing) allowing management to align resources to demand. Enlistment of other departments to handle “non-core IT” activities – allowing IT to focus in IT. Revision of support staffing model providing a significant salary-based savings and providing substantially more support expertise and staff stability. Re-configuration of existing support tools allowing John Jay to drive First Call Resolution, reduce Average Time to Resolution and shrink the ticket queue for desk-side technicians. These results are especially valuable because of the gains seen in time by the IT department at John Jay thus leading to increased productivity and ultimately a more efficient department.