Pride In What We Have Accomplished Together

Posted on: March 16, 2017

From Brad Englert:

Thank you for sharing the past seven years with me as the Chief Information (CIO) for UT Austin and the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Information Technology Services (ITS). By leaning into IT trends and embracing what comes next, we have dramatically improved how information technology supports our campus. Your work through this evolution underscores that resilience, dedication, perseverance, smarts, and enthusiasm are the characteristics required to modernize IT@UT and provide world-class service to our campus community. I am very proud of what we have accomplished together.

UT Austin has moved from a copper phone system to cutting-edge VoIP technology, and selected Gmail as our email provider for students, faculty, alumni with no data mining and additional privacy protections. We were one of the first campuses to replace our legacy learning management system (LMS) with the cloud-based LMS, Canvas. Box provides campus with massive and secure cloud storage, and Amazon Web Services and Azure are being used by the new Dell Medical School.

We accomplished this and much more in less than a decade; in large part, because the UT Austin community came together with solutions in response to findings and recommendations put forth by the Strategic Information Technology Advisory Committee (SITAC) in 2009. The results have been profound and far-reaching. Initiatives were implemented to address dissatisfaction with ITS and an IT governance structure was established. IT governance that is intended to be inclusive and transparent, and we will continue to seek improvement.

 Over these years, we also have worked hard to get through some rough patches – like the implementation of Office 365 and CBO issues. The reorganization of ITS, which reduced IT managerial staff and tightened the IT organization was difficult and enabled us ultimately to regroup so that we could have an unwavering focus on higher service reliability and professionalism.

 I leave at a time when the University community is again charting the course for IT support on campus by reviewing and prioritizing ITS services, working with campus leadership to establish a sustainable IT funding model, and examining what we can do to further mature the current IT governance model. I have complete confidence in the campus leadership, community, and ITS organization to respond to challenges ahead and am honored to have been able to work with you all to transform IT@UT.

 While reflecting on this time of transition I came across a quote from David Axelrod, former senior advisor to President Obama.  He said, “Diehard idealism is not enough. The most admirable people in public life and politics, throughout history, have been people who were able to meld idealism with a pragmatic instinct for getting things done.” That has been my inspiration and aspiration during my time here at the University.