IT Services Operating Plan

IT Services Operating Plan

A Message from Our CIO

Having now spent a full year in the role of CIO, I am confident in the capabilities of our team to partner with and support the Queen's community in achieving the University's strategic goals. I am proud of what we have already accomplished together and look forward to ongoing and new collaborations to build upon those foundations. I hope this more dynamic version of our Operating Plan will provide both the flexibility and level of detail necessary to keep ourselves and the community informed and on track about our progress throughout the year.

Marie-Claude Arguin

About Our Operating Plan

The purpose of our Operating Plan, published annually, is twofold. It provides direction to all IT Services staff members on the departmental priorities for 2022-23; and it informs our external stakeholders of the key activities being undertaken by IT Services during the current fiscal year.

Target Audiences

We invite all members of the Queen’s community to review our Operating Plan, published by the CIO & AVP (ITS), to provide transparency and accountability on the activities to be undertaken and prioritised by IT Services during the current fiscal year. Through this Plan, our Directors are empowered to allocate resources to sustain existing services and to undertake new initiatives identified and prioritised by our stakeholders to serve the needs of the Queen’s community.


This plan focuses on what will occur during the current fiscal year; however, the Activities, Accountabilities, and Schedule portion includes work that may span beyond the current year. Although the detailed resources required to complete the opportunities have not been allocated for all items in that section, the activities have been included to facilitate planning at all levels.

Queen's Strategy

In 2021, Queen’s released its new strategy which encompasses the mission, vision, and values of Queen’s through six identified strategic goals. IT Services’ own mission, vision, values, and drivers are well-postured to support and deliver on the university’s key priorities.

More detailed information on the strategic goals is available on the Principal’s website.

Principal's Website

The table below demonstrates the alignment between Queen’s strategic goals and IT Services’ drivers.

Queen's Strategic Goals Mapped IT Services Drivers
1 | Aiming to increase the university's research impact

An icon representing research intensification. Links to a description of the research intensification driver.

Research Intensification

2 | Advancing the student learning experience

An icon of a graduation cap representing the student experience. Links to a description of the student experience driver.

Student Experience

3 | Growing the interdependence between research and learning

An icon representing research intensification. Links to a description of the research intensification driver.

Research Intensification

4 | Strengthening the university's global engagement

An icon representing research intensification. Links to a description of the research intensification driver.

Research Intensification

5 | Deepening the university's relationship with the local, regional, and national communities

An icon representing research intensification. Links to a description of the research intensification driver.

Research Intensification

Icon representing digital agility and resilience. Links to a description of the digital resilience and agility driver.

Digital Agility and Resilience

6 | Improving Queen's organisational culture

An icon with a ribbon representing operational excellence. Links to a description of the operational excellence driver.

Operational Excellence

Our Drivers

Our drivers help us to stay aligned with the larger Queen’s strategy. Proposed initiatives and projects should align with our drivers to achieve both IT Services’ and Queen’s goals.

An Icon representing the student experience.Queen’s students’ lives are enriched and deepened by their learning journey, by experiencing an extraordinary sense of community, and by a desire for a better humanity, while also growing the knowledge, professional skills and digital literacy for the workplace.

To be achieved through:

  • Timely insight though integrated analytical data into their progression and pathways;
  • Easy-to-use and seamless integration of learning tools and campus life resources;
  • Student-centric service design and delivery across the institution with self-service, on-demand, and customised services and resources for different personas’ needs;
  • Mobility and equity: anywhere, anytime, any resource, any device and any accessibility need met;
  • connected, participative, and informed through meaningful personalised notifications, customizable feeds and integrated web presence, contributing to a happy, healthy, home experience whether on campus or online; and,
  • outcome-driven adoption of teaching technologies with first-rate support for faculty.

An icon representing research intensification. Links to a description of the research intensification driver.Queen’s researchers are empowered to pursue opportunities and to conduct impactful research through digital support services closely connected with research success.

To be achieved through:

  • Enhancing and integrating faculty, graduate and post-doctoral supports across the institution with a research-centric view;
  • Facilitating access to world-class computing services that advance research outcomes, collaborations, and impacts;
  • Facilitating interdisciplinary collaborations;
  • Promoting research at Queen’s; and,
  • Creating a dynamic environment for all researchers.

Icon representing revenue generation.Queen’s fully capitalises on its opportunities.

To be achieved through:

  • Reinforcing enrolment strategies through data-driven decisionmaking; through building quality, well-managed constituent relationships, and through presenting a modern web presence;
  • Assisting advancement efforts with high quality data on all Queen’s constituents’ engagements across the institution and throughout their lifetimes;
  • Enabling the expansion of on-campus, remote, online and hybrid delivery of exceptional teaching and learning experiences for credit and non-credit courses, including revenue administration automation and efficiency; and,
  • Supporting reporting to funding organisations through automation of performance metrics.

An icon with a ribbon representing operational excellence.Optimising and transformative measures continuously support a culture of high performance across all levels of the University.

To be achieved through:

  • Fostering equity, diversity, inclusion, indigeneity and accessibility by design through the thoughtful implementation of digital resources;
  • Active community engagement that recognises the University as a human institution that exists for a planetary good;
  • Including digital literacy and profiency planning and activities throughout our digital journey;
  • Facilitating informed decision-making through the development of business intelligence capabilities, including data governance, data literacy, data integration, data analytics and AI;
  • Continuous improvement through the ongoing evaluation of betterment opportunities, through process re-engineering, and by seeking synergies across Queen’s;
  • Modernising service delivery to respond to the journey toward a pervasive digital curriculum.
  • Supporting reporting to funding organisations through automation of performance metrics.

Icon representing digital agility and resilience. Queen’s has achieved a dynamic state of continuous evolution within its digital environment, seamlessly adapting to change and encouraging its community members to pursue opportunities.

To be achieved through:

  • Continuously evolving the digital environment to fulfill the University’s aspirations as they emerge:
    • Modernised core capabilities and robust infrastructure set the foundation for Queen’s digitalization journey;
    • People are skilled, connected across communities, united around a common understanding of Queen’s values, vision and goals; and
    • Adaptive governance is in place to allow for rapid innovation while maximizing value for the institution.
  • Mitigating cyber risks by cultivating risk-informed communities, maturing cybersecurity practices, ensuring regulatory security compliance, practicing responsible asset management, and enhancing continuity planning.

Mission, Vision, Values, and Principles

Our mission statement describes our purpose and overall intention. Our vision provides a vivid mental image of where we imagine ourselves to be in the future, while our values and principles are the beliefs and philosophies that drive the culture of our department.

To strengthen student success and research impact through enabling information and technology services.

A Queen's community that is empowered and enriched by evolving digital technologies, and experiences first-rate service.

  • We are professional, curious, forward-looking, and open to new ways of working.
  • We are responsive and transparent to the community, and demonstrate awareness of their business needs.
  • We exercise leadership at all levels and build strong stakeholder relationships.
  • We collaborate effectively with people of diverse perspectives and experiences, and create safe space in which to share ideas.
  • We adopt an informed and risk-aware approach to timely decision-making.
  • We continuously invest in ourselves to grow competences.

The following are IT Services' design principles:

  • Student experience comes first.
  • Institutional outcomes before technology.
  • One identity.
  • Enter data once.
  • Intuitive, accessible, and secure.
  • Self-service and automation.
  • Fiscally responsible.

CIO's Priorities

IT Services has processes in place to ensure that all of the work we take on, whether large or small, supports the strategic goals of the University and adds value to the community. However, every year there are always a handful of initiatives that "rise to top" as priorities for the CIO. This may occur because the delivered solutions are foundational or transformational, or address a particularly high visibility or thorny problem, or require significant investments - or in some cases, all of the above. These are the initiatives that fall into this category for the current fiscal year.

IT Services is leading a multi-year endeavour to establish an enterprise-wide Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) ecosystem at Queen’s. Queen’s leadership expects this transformative initiative to facilitate a “constituent-centric” experience and to ease administrative burdens for end-users, while vastly improving the student experience, constituent relationships and data-driven decision-making.

The project commenced in 2020 with multiple stakeholder engagements, which culminated in the successful mapping of five constituent journeys:

  • Graduate Recruitment (School of Graduate Studies)
  • Student Success (Academic Advising as the core focus)
  • Partner & Corporate Relations
  • International Exchange Program (Inbound & Outbound Students)
  • Advancement

The journey mapping exercise involved discovering and understanding specific end-to-end engagements of constituents, and thus led to the development of personas, current state processes, gaps and barriers, and recommendations for future state architecture, implementation, and change management. These constituent journeys and findings will serve as foundational input to the solution implementation phase.

During this fiscal year, IT Services and key stakeholders will spearhead the evaluation and selection process of a vendor that will lead the Enterprise CRM ecosystem approach for Queen’s and conduct the design, implementation, and support of the solution. The first phase of the implementation will focus on onboarding key prioritized CRM capabilities across the constituent journeys.

Queen's implemented its PBX system over 35 years ago. The ability for Queen's to maintain and repair its telephony system is coming to an end due to a lack of parts, expertise, and vendor support. The Telephony Replacement Program will replace this core capability with modern technology to support current processes that rely on telephony services and to provide new capabilities in light of a shifting workplace environment.

Building on momentum gained during the COVID-19 response, Queen's will use the well-established Microsoft Teams platform to provide modern telephony services into the future. Teams is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solution. VoIP is a technology that allows you to make phone calls using an Internet connection instead of a traditional phone line and enables a number of modern unified communications capabilities. 

The first two phases of the program, which were completed in FY21/22, was focused on piloting the Teams Telephony solution with a small user base (~300 users) and the selection of an implementation partner (Telecom Metric Incorporated, or TMI). The university-wide implementation phase is now underway and will cover the planning, design, system architecture, installation, documentation, change management, training, and post-installation support for the new platform.


Following the completion of a network assessment in 2020, we have kicked off a multi-year program to provide a modern, high-performance, universally connected, safe, and secure campus network. Overall, the Network Modernization program is a group of projects that will transform the way we deploy, manage, and govern Queen’s network.

The first implementation phase marks the beginning of the rollout of modern network technology across access, distribution, and core layers of the IT network. The updated switches will offer higher speeds, new functionality, connectivity options, and management software.  The program sets the foundation of an updated network design and marks a change in the way networking services are provisioned and managed. The technology infrastructure of approximately ten (10) buildings that support research activities will be completed within the fiscal year.

Our cloud computing vision is to enable easy access to scalable, reliable, secure computing resources to the Queen's community. Faculty, researchers, staff, and students will be able to leverage this preferred platform to advance their work at an accelerated rate as compared to traditional on-premises computing.

Over the past two years, we have successfully established a Cloud Team that has built our cloud environment using the Microsoft Azure platform. We have configured the environment to handle sensitive data (including Personal Health Information), introduced cloud virtual desktop services, and migrated multiple workloads.

We will continue the mass migration of workloads to the cloud where it makes sense. We will also unify the toolsets used to manage our cloud environment with those used to manage the on-premises systems. As well, multiple new services will be extended to departments. First, we will offer a free web-customizable hosting service which will improve existing web server security, lower billing overhead, and accommodate the majority of simple-to-medium complexity web applications.

Following the successful closeout of the first action plan (Action Plan 2019-21) of Queen’s multi-year Cybersecurity Program, IT Services commenced an 18-month endeavour to mature the capabilities developed under that program. Overall, we have advanced our cybersecurity posture by expanding the adoption of multi-factor authentication and endpoint protection. We have also strengthened our cloud computing/storage environment, ensuring compliance with relevant standards. In addition, we completed the development of the scope of the next Cybersecurity Action Plan, which will commence in FY23/24, and we are engaging potential implementation partners to understand the associated costs.


In the first six months of FY22/23, we will continue maturation activities in the following areas: IT asset management, network perimeter protection, patch management, and identity management. Further, with respect to the next action plan, during this fiscal year we will finalise scope and costing estimates; seek funding and governance endorsement; and develop the associated RFP(s), with the target of signing agreements with partners by the end of the fiscal year.

An icon of a cybersecurity shield with a checkmark in the upper right-hand corner.

The past two years, though rife with challenges, also presented significant opportunities for change. In IT Services, it was pivotal to capitalize on these opportunities to provide more flexibility to our staff - and that’s what we did!  For example, we jumped headfirst into Queen’s remote work arrangement (RWA) pilot by supporting the fully remote option for nearly 90% of the department. Additionally, in response to employee feedback, members of IT Services worked together to adjust our organizational structure to enhance cross-directorate collaboration and boost efficiency. Finally, we are bringing back last year’s successful two-week summertime “no-meeting period”, which will also be implemented by other units across campus - making it even more valuable for everyone. 

A group of colleagues sit together around a laptop. They appear to be working on a project and are enjoying themselves.

The objective over this next year is to further expand on the workforce enrichment activities that were initiated over the past 12 months. Collectively, we will explore how to function at our best in this new post-pandemic reality. We will strive to formalize RWAs by incorporating lessons learned during the pilot to ensure that we optimize the mutually beneficial opportunities that this program offers. Next, we will work collaboratively to think beyond our traditional ways of working; we will challenge ourselves to find innovative and creative solutions, ranging from designing new, modern, and productive on-campus workspaces to suggesting original and adapted team building activities.  

IT Services’ employees at all levels will be heard, supported, and valued. We already have many of the ingredients necessary to build an environment in which people want to work and grow. This year, we will work hard to find the few additional elements that will truly solidify that environment, such as reviewing and improving our overall employee value proposition in ways that best suit the current market for talent.


Activities, Accountabilities, and Schedule

This section provides high-level direction for teams internal to IT Services to guide them in delivering the priority initiatives, projects, and activities, at the right time.

Just as importantly, it is meant to inform the Queen’s community of all the ongoing activities within IT Services. Such information-sharing has historically enhanced collaboration.

For the first time, IT Services is leveraging a web-based, dynamic tool to allow for updates to specific fields throughout the year. Also, newly approved activities will be added to the table quarterly. 

Activities, Accountabilities, and Schedule