May 07, 2007

Mike KusunokiMike Kusunoki (FEMBA '01) reaches for a small box of Japanese candies as he describes his rise from the UCLA Anderson computing help desk to his new role as CIO and Director of Anderson Computing and Information Services (ACIS). It is a well-deserved promotion for Kusunoki who joined Anderson part-time while studying math and applied science at UCLA.

He later spent several years behind the scenes monitoring servers, switches and routers. His most recent position was ACIS assistant director, technology services where he managed network support and security initiatives. Now, he will lead efforts to deliver information and computing services in support of UCLA Anderson's Strategic Plan.

Kusunoki has a technical mindset, loves gadgets and started building computers in high school. Still, he is pleased to be in a public-facing role again. "I got a lot of exposure to our customer base in the help desk environment and I'm comfortable with that," he says.

"Now, I need to be talking to people and increasing the communication that ACIS has with Anderson and the rest of the campus." Kusunoki also plans to expand the service component of his old job so that his successor spends more time with faculty, students and staff. The position is now entitled assistant director, educational support services and some of the job's technical duties have been reassigned.

"We need to align ourselves with the school's new strategic goals," he says. "We need to think about our work from a business perspective and be as efficient as possible in delivering services."

A whiteboard in his office is covered with long, neat columns of words mapping the present and future of IT service delivery at Anderson. Color-coded boxes identify ways of optimizing and changing how things are done. "We need to get more feedback from customers to see if we're moving in the right direction," he says, "and I think we'll be making more changes."

"Now that the school is focusing on new things like globalization," he continues, "we need to think about the ways technology can be used. How can technology actually move us ahead and add value to the learning experience and the research experience?"

One priority is to identify services with wide application across the school. At the same time, some business units and faculty members require highly specific services. "We are looking for solutions that are relevant across areas and disciplines," he says, "that's really our challenge."

Kusunoki says that keeping up with a changing information technology (IT) landscape is another priority. "In ACIS, we can't take our eyes off the ball," he says. "Things can change so quickly that it's very easy to fall behind or not react quickly enough.

"At the same time," he continues, "we have to raise the bar by thinking about how technology can be relevant at Anderson. How can it improve learning outcomes and research outcomes?"

Kusunoki hopes to develop new ways of measuring the value of information and computing initiatives in order to help plan future projects and justify the school's technology investments. "We're struggling with that," he says, "but I think we're going to figure it out. We need to show that technology can help provide a richer experience for everyone here."

About Anderson Computing and Information Services
Anderson Computing and Information Services (ACIS) supports the creation, acquisition and dissemination of knowledge through providing technological solutions and information competency skills. Our mission is to enable our faculty, students and staff to access, create, analyze, organize and exchange information necessary to achieve research and educational objectives through the delivery of quality, professional support services.

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