My First 180 Days as a CIO

by | March 20, 2013

Hard to believe that time has gone so quickly in my CIO role.  On March 17, 2013 I have been the Director of Information Technology at the American University of Sharjah in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates for 180 days. It has been a huge change for me especially after spending 20 years at the British Columbia Institute of Technology in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

On the positive side, I have been very well prepared and capable in taking on my Director of Information Technology role.  The combination of my MSc in Information Management from Syracuse University and my 25+ years of experience taught me how to face the challenges of my first 6 months.  On the negative side, I clearly underestimated the impact on my morale of leaving my family behind in Vancouver to work in the Emirate of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.  Even though we Skype twice a day, nothing compares to face to face with the ones you love.

There have been many posts and articles on a CIO’s First 100 days and I read some of them before starting this role.   Here is a search link to some articles on a CIO’s First 100 Days. I decided to take two main focus areas:

  1. Understanding our IT team and how they function in a distributed IT environment
  2. Understanding the role central IT plays at the university  

As you can tell, I am a bit remedial as this post is about my first 180 days not my first 100!  So what has our team accomplished?

  1. Developing for Our Team
    • Conducted 1:1 Meetings with team members
    • Conducted introduction meetings with IT teams
    • Implemented Team Leader role for IT teams
    • Introduced Personal Learning Plans for each team member
    • Shifted team members to help other teams with workload demands
    • Conducted performance reviews
  2. Implementing a planning approach to IT Service Delivery:
    • Created multi-year operating budget models
    • Created multi-year capital budget models
    • Created a comprehensive project portfolio
    • Created a departmental training plan
  3. Implementing an IT Service Management Culture:
    • Created a Service Coverage Matrix (see my post: Helping Your Helpdesk)
    • Developing a Service Catalogue (see my post: Introducing IT Service Management Using a Core Service Catalogue)
    • Tracked all our work via the Incident Management process
    • Restructuring our Incident Management system Categories to match our published services
    • Implemented a Service Outage Messaging process via multiple communication channels for network outages

I am proud to be a part of the American University of Sharjah community and having the privilege to lead the IT Department.  We have accomplished many things in my first 6 months.   I know we are going to continue to work hard and deliver top quality IT services.

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