Improving IT Maturity

That is a classic symptom of an organization not reaching its full potential in terms of IT maturity. DPS was not using their data to drive operations and get the most out of their infrastructure and learning technology investments, so Ly set out to change the way they were working, ultimately improving efficiency of resources and most importantly, the outcomes for students.

Ly and her colleagues’ solution was to shift the entire BIS and IT Service Management operation to TeamDynamix, which combines service and project management on a single platform. This approach allows different departments to look at and optimize resources across tickets and projects, improves communications, and allows a shift in focus to strategic goals rather than routine operations.

System Consolidation Across All Departments

DPS, Ly says, has used the new tool as a resource manager and been able to quickly integrate several segregated systems into one cohesive solution. “In any organization, if you’re struggling to manage projects, it makes sense to take a step back and ask, ‘do you want to have these five different systems or do you want them to come together?’” she said.

“Allowing us to integrate all these pieces has made better decision-making possible and been very valuable,” Ly said. “With better data and systems, we can now conduct process improvement evaluations around how our teams and departments and leaders use the tools–we can map it out. And we can be agile and flexible. If something isn’t working, we just say, ‘let’s change it.’ And we change it.”

Making Data-Driven Decisions

Learn how one large district improved their #IT maturity

At the same time, it’s been the ability to make better, data-driven, long-range planning and resource decisions, while keeping flexibility, that has been the most valuable benefit of using the integrated TeamDynamix tools. A planning and deployment process that used to be time-consuming and error prone because of a lack of information access and awareness about actual resource allocations, is now happening in real time with real data. DPS can now efficiently make realistic long-range plans and meet them.

With an integrated IT and systems management platform, when someone says they can fix something on Thursday, it actually means Thursday. And when education or business leaders say a new tool will be up and running in 90 days, they are not guessing if the work can actually be completed.

That’s a big shift in information and project management for any organization, especially in such a short time (less than five months). The key, said Ly, was in realizing what DPS had in common with any large organization – they needed better and consistently flexible access to their data, up and down their organization.

“What we do for students and teachers is special,” Ly said. “But data is data and good data and project tools will work if you and your teams give them a chance.”

With their new IT and data tools, DPS is cutting their planning and response times dramatically and making better use of their human resources. According to Ly, this will unquestionably show up in better performance and happier and more satisfied end users, whether they work in payroll, HR, or a classroom.

[Editor’s note: Lynne Ly is a certified PMI (PMP), ScrumMaster, and ITIL v3 IT professional whose background is a combination of ERP implementations, SaaS application implementations, program and portfolio management, software development, consulting, business analysis, and database administration. Following is an overview of how Ly and her team are working to more effectively support the District’s technology needs.]

About the Author:

Derek Newton is a writer based in New York City who has written about education for The Atlantic, Huffington Post and other publications. He attended Columbia University and served as Vice-President of the progressive think tank, The Century Foundation.