This class has been particularly interesting for me because of how much it paralleled my internship this past summer at Ford. I mentioned in an earlier blog post about touring the data center there. I was also fortunate enough to meet with the CIO of Ford Motor Company, Nick Smither a few times over the summer much like we met with the CIO of the university, Laura Patterson, in class.
What was most interesting for me about having Lara Patterson speak in class was being able to compare what she talked about to what Nick Smither discussed with the Information Technology interns over the summer. I recognize that an automobile manufacturer and a university are very different organizations, however, both CIOs discussed their roles as being responsible for all IT in large organizations. That said, the way they handle these decisions appear to be very different.
Laura Patterson talked a lot about how the university is trying to consolidate resources and externalize applications, such as mail and online storage, to third party organizations. She mentioned how many students were already using similar applications to store university data and that finding appropriate and reliable providers would mean less work for both students and IT staff.
Nick Smither, on the other hand, talked mostly about internalizing all IT operations. In the past Ford had used many different contract workers and external providers of IT related services, but recently decided to internalize most of these processes. He said that this would aid in securing company data and then there wouldn’t be the need to rely on external resources.
I really enjoyed hearing Laura Patterson talk about what she does for the university and being able to draw some interesting conclusions based on my past experiences.