Message from the VPIT-CIO

By | March 2, 2020
A headshot of Ravi Pendse, U-M VPIT-CIO

Greetings everyone! I hope you are having an amazing day.

It’s been a year since I introduced ITS’s five areas of focus that have defined much of our work to support our vision to be a leader in the appropriate use of technology among our peers and beyond. Since that time⁠—and in partnership with many of you⁠—we’ve refined and put structure around these areas and made progress toward our goals. ITS remains focused on these areas, and I’m pleased to share a few highlights of recent work, below.

  • Elevate the customer experience – Our goal is to work as a cohesive team to deliver the best customer experience possible, across the lifecycle of our services. A project is underway to replace our IT Service Management tool with TeamDynamix and optimize our internal support processes. Learn more about our progress and plans to offer the tool to campus in the future.
  • Provide appropriate IT security and privacy in an open university society – We are faced with new examples of why we need to appropriately protect institutional and personal data on a daily basis. Thanks to your partnership, more than 130,000 people on all three academic campuses and Michigan Medicine are now using two-factor authentication to protect university and personal data. Additionally, we are in our last year of the phased approach to aligning technology on campus with the Information Security Standard Practice Guide (SPG 601.27) that was revised in 2018.  
  • Support Data-Informed Decision Making – Understanding where our data is and engaging in better practices to manage it, use it, and protect it is critical to the university. The Michigan Insights oN Demand (MIND) Program is working on several initiatives to make better use, understand, and gain insights from institutional data. While there are many interesting projects in this area, one example that I would like to call out is the Student Data Dashboard Project, which is working to create transparency in what student data we collect, how it is used, and how it is shared.
  • Deliver Intuitive Research Computing Solutions – Data and computation are at the core of all research activities. Our goal is to support world-class research and teaching using frictionless interfaces. We are working with our partners in schools and colleges to continue to improve our research compute, storage, and data science offerings, and we launched a new computing cluster, Great Lakes, at the beginning of this year to better serve the university’s growing and specialized research needs. 
  • Build a Transformational Network and Systems – The data network is a technical foundation for teaching, learning, and research at U-M. ITS Infrastructure is working with input from the UMNet Governance Group to grow and transform the network to meet the university’s academic, research, and clinical needs. With capital funding, we are investing in our fiber footprint and increasing our network speeds by as much as 100 times. Additionally, we are working toward replacing the 34-year-old analog telephone system with a cost-effective Internet Protocol (IP) solution. 

You can see all of the projects associated with each area of focus on the ITS website. Each area is a significant amount of work, and it is with the support from the entire Michigan IT community that we have the privilege to bring these creative solutions to life for the university to use. 

It is with the support from the entire Michigan IT community that we have the privilege to bring these creative solutions to life for the university to use.

I am inspired by our community’s passion for using technology to overcome obstacles and support our amazing faculty, students, and staff. I am looking forward to witnessing this creativity on display later this week at the Hacks with Friends event. There is still time to register to attend. Thank you to everyone who is dedicating their time to invest in the community and create novel solutions. I am interested in hearing your ideas on how to carry the momentum from the event forward into our daily lives. 

I would love to hear from you, so reach out anytime.

Best regards,


Ravi Pendse PhD
Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
University of Michigan