Qld Uni restructure could spill 50 IT roles

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Qld Uni restructure could spill 50 IT roles

But plans to create others.

The University of Queensland will restructure its information and technology services division for the second time in five years, “spilling” up to 50 positions.

The university's staff are currently weighing up the contents of an issues paper, released last week, which proposes a 14 percent cut to ITS’ 370 workers before the end of the year.

However, as with its prior restructure in 2011-12, the cuts are likely to be at least partially offset by the creation of a series of new roles.

Through the restructure, ITS is hoping to beef up its integration, architecture and governance teams after spending the past four years taking on a higher degree of responsibility for IT across the university.

“Back in 2011-12, [ITS] didn’t have the full breadth of responsibility for IT delivery across the university,” ITS director Rob Moffatt told iTnews.

“ITS now supports all the faculties - we didn’t before - and a good many of the other organisational units including research institutes in the university.

“We’ve moved … to deliver around 80-85 percent of the totality of IT to the University of Queensland on all its campuses.”

As more functions have been folded into ITS, Moffatt said several gaps had been identified in the division’s capabilities, which he hoped to address through the restructure.

However, there are also roles “across the board” that won’t exist once the restructure is complete.

On the chopping block

While some service delivery roles are likely to be affected, infrastructure support is expected to be the most heavily impacted thanks to a new “cloud-first” approach that would 'diminish that direct, on-premises responsibility for managing infrastructure'.

“With all new systems that we’ve developed, including web technologies, most of it resides in the cloud now in places like Amazon, Azure and so on,” Moffatt said.

UQ's public cloud arrangements presently hosts systems used for student administration, customer relationship management, research data and student email – “and we’ll be looking at moving staff email into the cloud in the future”.

“We’re examining the opportunities to put more and more into the cloud where appropriate rather than running it on-premise and supporting that infrastructure,” Moffatt said.

“In certain instances ... it is more cost effective to have it on-premise but that’s not the norm any more.

“The default is go to the cloud and only bring it on-premise or continue to support it on-premise as a last resort.”

Consultations on the restructure will continue for around another month before being put to the university’s professional staff change committee in mid-November.

While the initial proposal is a reduction of 14 percent of ITS, Moffatt said it was "early days in the consideration" of that figure.

The net effect at the end of the process could be far less. In 2011-12, 23 roles were spilled but 19 new positions created, although that restructure was largely functional, creating a more service-oriented division rather than product-oriented.

Moffatt said his aims with this restructure were similar.

“That’s exactly the case here. We are spilling roles – and quite a number – but there are a lot of opportunities for people,” he said.

“I’m pretty excited by the opportunity it affords to the university.”

ITS isn’t the only administrative function facing a restructure.

UQ is also seeking an up to 25 percent reduction in the cost of delivering finance and human resource services by the end of 2017, “particularly by streamlining processes, systems and service delivery".

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