2024 and Beyond: An Overview of IITS’s Strategic Focus

IITS Team during a departmental meeting at the University of Toronto Scarborough (Photo by Jason Romero - Client Services)

The beginning of a new year is an opportunity to highlight some exciting developments from UofT Scarborough, outline a long-term vision for the evolution of information technology on campus, and showcase a few key accomplishments. Influenced by IT@UofT's thematic pillars: People, Solutions and Collaboration, IITS is focusing its attention on redefining its organizational structure, adopting a long-term and strategic approach to deploying technology solutions, and expanding collaboration with its campus and institutional partners.

IITS is in the midst of implementing a three-pillar organizational structure, with each pillar designed to respond to the specific technological and operational needs of the community. IT Operations uses the IT Service Management (ITSM) framework to bring together diverse functions like networking, client services, systems, and classroom support with the goal of furthering service excellence and operational efficiency at UTSC. Strategy and Business Transformation, which includes application development, web and digital media and the project management office, is dedicated to keeping UTSC in sync with the latest technological developments and leveraging new academic and administrative tools and platforms. Information Security plays a crucial role in protecting people, data and the university mission by developing a formal risk management program and, more importantly, fostering a culture of information security among staff, faculty and students. “People are the backbone of our success. We believe that the new organizational structure will empower IT staff in their efforts to support academic missions, foster a culture of service excellence, and strengthen individual and collective accountability,” says Zoran Piljevic, Senior Director, Technology and Business Transformation.

Over the last few years, UTSC has intensified the adoption of enterprise solutions, a trend that is expected to continue. IITS is expanding the use of Office 365 tools and is piloting Azure landing zones with the assistance of EASI. The deployment of enterprise solutions such as Sentinel One and UTORvpn, as well as the campus-wide Security Awareness and Training program, and the evaluation of firewall as a service offering from ISEA, highlight IITS’ efforts to protect UTSC’s digital environment. ServiceNow is the default platform for service management and it is currently being expanded to several academic and administrative units. In addition to IITS, the Registrar’s Office, Arts and Science Co-op and Centre for Teaching and Learning have all migrated their service management to ServiceNow, while HR and Academic Integrity will be onboarded in 2024. These solutions are complemented by campus-specific tools and platforms, all of which are shaped into services tailored to support UTSC’s academic programs and administrative activities.

CoP meeting
Mix & Mingle event hosted by the Community of Practice at the Ralph Campbell Lounge (Photo by Hanan Domloge - PMO)

IITS continues to emphasize the importance and value of collaboration within the team, among campus units and throughout the institution. Inclusive decision-making and shared leadership are key as IITS strives to enhance services and strengthen the community. “The leadership of UTSC has entrusted IITS with leading campus-wide strategic direction aimed at promoting a culture of service excellence and continuous improvement among faculty and staff. A Community of Practice (CoP) has emerged as an integral part of this effort, involving more than forty members from across the campus,” added Zoran Piljevic. Another significant collaborative effort is the design of IT infrastructure and services for the new Scarborough Academy of Medicine and Integrated Health (SAMIH) through a partnership between UTSC and the faculties of medicine, nursing, and pharmacy. In addition to providing physicians and other healthcare professionals with access to a much-needed training facility, SAMIH will allow residents to be part of a bigger, future-building initiative in health care.

IITS rely on a motivated and empowered team, a strategic and institutional approach to leveraging technology and deep and enduring partnerships to drive transformative change at UTSC.