Meritide Delivers Successful Business Systems Assessment for University of Minnesota

Meritide performed a Business Systems Assessment (BSA) for the University of Minnesota – Extension. They have realized benefits including greater functionality of existing applications with shortened development times, and increased knowledge at the support level with metrics to measure service levels.

Client Success Story

Business Problem

The University of Minnesota Extension reached the conclusion that business needs were not being met by existing technology and infrastructure. The University identified a number of critical areas including the need for better management of project delivery, connecting the separate silos of technology that had grown over time, a plan for how technology could be more effectively applied to their business problems, and improving the management of their network infrastructure and application development process.

The Dean’s Leadership Council recognized that there had been an underinvestment in IT and determined a new examination was needed.

Meritide's Business Systems Assessment (BSA) Solution

To address the situation, the Information Learning Technology (ILT) Steering Committee was created and charged by the Dean to develop both short term and long term goals and directives for ILT. Following an information gathering period with Extension staff and consultation with IT leaders and professionals outside of Extension, the steering committee hired Meritide to assess the current status of their technical infrastructure, and application development capability and environment.

Meritide was selected for the project because we offered an approach that clearly demonstrated our understanding of Extension’s problems along with an ability to develop a solution. Throughout the selection process Meritide showed technical competence and communication skills with business users, and Extension liked Meritide’s “advisory role” approach where Meritide wanted to partner with Extension’s IT team to develop a solution, rather than “starting over” as other firms proposed.

Meritide performed a Business Systems Assessment for Extension. Representatives of Meritide met with ILT Steering Committee members to understand the requirements and challenges the organization faced. Our team members defined potential technology solutions and matched talent/skills and experience to the defined challenges. The Meritide team separated the challenges into connected phases to deliver immediate value and create credibility while learning the culture, business, and management environment of Extension.

As part of the BSA Meritide addressed operations, applications and the alignment of ILT with the business needs of the University. The phases included in-depth information gathering and review of processes, technology infrastructure, services objectives and metrics, project management methodology, and finally recommendations for bringing the IT organization in alignment with the needs of Extension.

The Meritide Blueprint methodology was used for improving operational processes and blended the utilization of current systems/software with 3rd party tools and components, including open source software and custom software development (if/where required). This approach resulted in recommendations that could be implemented with systems and software already installed at Extension.

University of MN Benefits from Meritide

The Business Systems Assessment revealed concerns and issues with the core mission of ILT, network operations and the application development environment.

Among our findings, the project review revealed overlap among the applications and inconsistency in development practices, deployments, technologies, and architecture. Meritide’s specific recommendations included leveraging enterprise application functionality for things like integration and analytics and reporting in a way that would provide functionality for multiple applications from a common system base while at the same time reducing the inconsistencies and overlap. These recommendations were implemented and have allowed for greater functionality in applications and shortened development times.

As well, the operations review included recommendations for a Help Desk application staffed and managed appropriately to meet the needs of Extension’s users. The implementation of the help desk solution has resulted in staff available to answer and log calls, improved client communication, competent technical support, and increased knowledge at the support level and performance metrics to measure service levels.

About University of MN Extension and Meritide

University of Minnesota Extension discovers science-based solutions, delivers practical education and engages Minnesotans to build a better future.

Meritide’s mission is to help our clients apply business process and technology to their business – appropriately.

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