Questions asked during the Town Hall

Questions have been edited for content and clarity. This list is focused on questions that are applicable to a large portion of informatics and IT staff. If you have a specific question about your unique situation you would like to discuss, please reach out directly to your IT lead or Jeff Korab.

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Any permissions needed to perform your work duties will be evaluated and resolved as part of the new structure.

While SMPH is moving to a shared services model, each model is unique and customized to meet the needs of the organization. The Informatics and IT Collaborative is designed to meet the needs of the school’s informatics and IT users through a continued strong, consistent level of service excellence to all users. This effort will also allow us to expand the services we provide.

Leaders in the Office of Informatics and IT will supervise current department IT leads. Jeff Korab will be one of these supervisors and likely supervise the majority of the current department IT leads.

Yes, after July 1, the informatics and IT staff across the school will be one team housed in the Office of Information and IT and these requests will be handled as appropriate in that office.

The implementation of service lines is slated for sometime in 2024 and will occur gradually (not all at once) for different services lines, teams, and individuals. At this time, planning is still underway for what service lines will come on board first. It is dependent on the results of other steps taking place between now and 2024 to make sure the implementation is as efficient and effective as possible.

There are many ways staff, IT teams, and departments can prepare.

  • Begin to reflect on your professional and personal goals and where you may want to fit into the Office of Informatics and IT. Think on any skills you have been wanting to develop or areas you may be interested in specializing in. The innovative service lines will come with many opportunities.
  • Explore
  • Ask questions and share feedback:
    • Using the form at
    • To Jeff Korab:
    • To your IT Lead
  • Continue “business as usual” and understand July 1 changes, including how they will also facilitate future changes
  • Expect more Town Halls or similar venues to hear about progress and next steps, share feedback, and ask questions

You can continue work on ongoing projects and continue business as usual. IT leads should discuss any new large or expensive projects with Jeff Korab. More information would be shared later if there is a need to scale down new work that informatics and IT staff are taking on.

We acknowledge and understand that this work is introducing change and that despite best efforts, change can be difficult to navigate and, at times, stressful and a negative experience. We are committed to ensuring that this critical transition is as smooth as possible for you, has the least disruption to current services, and results in stellar service for our users. But these changes will result in numerous positive outcomes for our work. This project will come with many exciting growth opportunities for informatics and IT staff, such as the ability to learn new skills, opportunities for career advancement, additional management roles, and the facilitation of a talented and connected peer community.

There is urgency behind this project in order to stay up with both the rapid technological advances and newer security requirements that have happened in the last few years and are only accelerating. By merging IT staff into one team as we standardize practices, there will be a greater sense of accountability to the standardized procedures, and our combined staff will allow the school as a whole more capacity to begin implementation of new and exciting advancements that are not possible without a centralized informatics and IT team.

An advisory council currently exists to assist the Office of Informatics and IT. Additional series of advisory councils and sub-groups will come on board as various new initiatives begin. They will be used to gather feedback and share ideas.

In 7-10 years the transition will be fully complete. The organizational vehicle used for this transition — the Informatics and IT Collaborative — will have sunsetted because the office is simply known as the Office of Informatics and Information Technology. While maintaining a personal and high-touch approach to services, users will have a central group to request assistance from. There will also be high-functioning and easy-to-navigate compute services available to all researchers in the school.

Skill expansion and utilization of current skills are a part of this initiative. Individuals will be able to dive deeper into interest areas and gain knowledge and skills in areas that interest them.

To provide the best services possible to these users, we will advocate for on-site staff presence as needed and facilitate open lines of communication that ensure they receive what they need from teams who may not be on site.

The implementation of the software development service line will need to take a phased approach over a period of time. The leaders in that area will ultimately control the cadence and timing for the changes. Likely they will start with ensuring common coding best practices among the various development teams and having all developers leverage common tooling for things like a version control repository. As it becomes time for major upgrades of an application or reducing technical debt, common frameworks, coding languages and deployment methodologies likely will be used when rewriting to ensure the best supportability and redundancy across the team longer term.

An org chart will be shared before July 1.

The following questions were answered live at the Town Hall:

  • Will new centralized IT be responsible for budgeting our Dept IT staff for FY24?
  • How will hiring/interviews be different? Currently those seem to be handled at the department level for those working with the department. Will the departments have a say in who works with them?
  • How will purchasing IT supplies/hardware work in the future? Who will be purchasing? What limits/budgeting will there be?
  • How does this apply to individuals with IT titles who only work for a particular PI?
  • What can staff do individually to set themselves up for success in the new structure?
  • Have we considered using climate surveys as a way of gauging success and identifying areas of concern as we move through this change?
  • Current state, our IT folks responsibilities vary, this initiative seems to silo individuals into ‘service lines’ … I think I heard the vision is not to silo, can you clarify?
  • If job titles, descriptions, compensation and work arrangements are not changing on July 1, are they subject to change at a later date?
  • If IT Directors report centrally as of July 1, 2023, what will drive IT priorities in terms of tasks … will departments drive this or the collaborative?

If you have not yet had the chance to review the town hall, please do so! The recording and transcript have been made available via email. If you are not able to find the email with access information, please let us know in the question form, and we will follow up – *be sure to include your contact information*