University of Alberta
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Virtual IT Budgeting Model (Version 1.0)

Paul Sorenson
Vice-Provost (Information Technology)
January 27, 2005

This release of this document is the beginning of a process to develop a workable model to manage IT budget allocations on a campus-wide basis using a consolidated (virtual) budget. The goals of this approach are to:

  1. Understand better how (and how much) we are spending in support of information technology systems and services.
  2. To identify those systems and services critical to our operations and to ensure that these systems and services are sustainable on an ongoing basis.
  3. To identify opportunities for major improvements to existing systems and services and for the creation of new systems that can provide efficiencies and cost saving and/or improved services to our University community.
  4. To allocate and reallocate budget resources to the units that need them. The goal is to have very little budget residing in the Vice-Provost (Information Technology) Office; however, this office with the assistance of the IT Committee will review annually the components of the consolidated (virtual) IT budget.

As a starting point I have identified below four types of information systems. It is assumed that each of these system types has some level of associated support services and therefore whenever I use the word information system it is assumed to include associated support services. I have identified in the columns three areas in which funding is spent in support of information systems. The appearance of a "Y" in the cell of the table means two things:

  1. these are the budget items that I feel can be effectively managed and reviewed in order to achieve goals 2) and 3) above, and
  2. budget for these items will be allocated/reallocated as part of the consolidated (virtual) IT budget through the Vice-Provost (IT) office in partnership with the units that have been or will be allocated the associated funding. All proposed allocations/reallocations would be reviewed by the IT Committee before final approval.
Information Systems Funding SW Licensing HW Renewal Support Personnel Budget Allocated to
Mission Critical IS Y Y Y  
Enterprise-wide IS Y Y *  
Faculty/Dept./Unit Based IS Y      
New, shared initiatives * * *  

* Typically, short-term, one-time funding

The previous description of the model needs more work and some of the critical things that must be done are:

  1. Define the review and allocation processes that go with the model.
  2. Define how this consolidated (virtual) budget will be managed in relation to the overall University budget.
  3. Gain the support and approval of this model from EPC.

Below is an instantiation of the model to provide some examples that can be used to help understand the model and as a basis for further discussion about the model. NOTE: this table does not represent all of the information systems that would be considered in a final instantiation of the model and the placement of the information systems that are given may not be accurate.

Information Systems Funding SW Licensing HW Renewal Support Personnel Budget Allocated to
Mission Critical IS        
  - Network Support Y Y Y CNS
  - Computing Support (e-mail, web access) Y Y Y CNS
  - Financial & Payroll Y Y Y AIS
  - Human Resources Y Y Y AIS
  - Student Info System Y Y Y AIS/RO
  - Research Accounting Y Y Y AIS/RSO
  - Learning Management System Y Y Y CNS
Enterprise-wide IS        
  - Common Computing Labs Y Y * CNS
  - Smart Classroom Support Y Y * CNS
  - EAM Y Y * F&O
  - Fund Development - BSR Y Y * VP (Ext)
  - Budget Planning - Cognos Y Y * RP
Faculty/Dept./Unit Based IS        
  - Microsoft Licensing Y     CNS
  - Oracle Licensing Y (CR)     CNS
  - Other Site Licenses Y (CR)     CNS
New, Shared Initiatives - IS        
  - Wireless Campus * * *  
  - Portal Development * * *  

* Typically, short-term, one-time funding, CR = Cost Recovery