The UW System’s Common Systems Review Group (CSRG) was created in 1998 to provide oversight and leadership for large information technology systems used by all or most of the fifteen institutions in the University of Wisconsin System.  By 2007 the CSRG assembled a portfolio of seven major common systems.  CSRG then hired Strategic Initiatives, Inc. in 2007 to help it develop a long range plan, or information technology roadmap, to enable better decisions about adopting or rejecting new applications, to understand how ongoing applications might fit together to offer the best value for the investment, and to demonstrate how large cross-institutional IT projects might enable the UW System to better achieve its long-term business goals.

Mission Statement for CSRG

The Common Systems Review Group (CSRG) has the responsibility for setting the strategic direction for the selection, acquisition, implementation, upgrading, and termination of foundational enterprise systems that are essential to supporting the mission of the UW System.  Such common systems generally involve usage across all of the UW System institutions, but we will include in our strategic consideration any enterprise system that has the potential to benefit the UW System, regardless of the number of institutions currently using the system.

Recognizing that the UW System consists of a broad array of institutions sharing a common strategic direction, CSRG will ground its strategic choices in the key performance indicators chosen by the System to measure progress toward the desired future.  Impacting our key performance indicators through strategic choices will require that we have a current understanding of how changes in any of the following four components will impact our progress:   1) common data availability, definitions and structures, 2) shared processes, 3) the staffing necessary to provide the needed processes, analyze data and information, and make good use of the data output, and 4) the tools that make shared data and technological systems possible and effective.

The impact of our choices on the people the UW System serves as well as the staff who are required to implement, maintain, and utilize these common systems will always be among the primary considerations in our deliberations.   We will also need to understand the difference between the needs of the System administration for information and processes, and those of each individual institution within the System, with the understanding that our goal is to support all components of the UW System as we make progress on our key performance metrics.

Operating Principles

The co-chairs for the Group will be the Vice President for Administration and the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs.  The Vice President for Finance and the System CIO will be ex- officio members of the Group, with the Vice President for Finance serving as the Chair of the Budget subcommittee.  Each Chancellor shall have at least one representative on the Group, with each member appointed having a position as either a Provost, CIO, CBO, or Senior Student Affairs Officer. In no case will 50% or more of the members hold any one of those titles.  Support staff for the Group will be determined by the co-chairs, and may come from the System administrative offices or a one of the other units within the UW System.

CSRG will not have the responsibility for managing the ongoing budgets for the operations of common systems, but it will oversee the allocation of System funds to support exploratory initiatives, pilot projects, and other strategic investigations that provide input to CSRG in their work to make strategic decisions regarding common systems.  Once a common system has been adopted for System usage, the unit overseeing the common system will have the ongoing budget for the common system operation incorporated into its base budget.  CSRG will, however, consider the effectiveness and impact of the entire range of common systems in its strategic evaluations.

Current Common System Roadmap Objectives
  • To help maintain or improve quality, increase access, and reduce cost per student, technology investments
    must enable UW System institutions to help accomplish the following:
    Deliver high quality education to students wherever and whenever they desire it.
  • Improve knowledge management and data driven decision making to better facilitate student access
    and learning
  • Add measureable value to faculty, staff and students by “cutting red tape,” improving service, and
    enabling all faculty and staff to work more efficiently and effectively.
  • Improve business process to benefit faculty, staff and administrators across all institutions.
  • Reduce the risks inherent in supporting legacy systems with their use of technology that few
    professional IT workers understand, and that require large investments in programming to keep
    current through planned replacement and solid change management processes.
  • Safeguard information system and data with best practices in security and privacy.