Strengthening the laboratory

Rob Roser

One of the first things I realized in my role as CIO is that information technology cuts across all parts of the laboratory. It is not only scientific facilities but also finance, procurement, communications and human resources that depend on IT services to do business. With that in mind, Fermilab leverages its IT expertise to create value and improve efficiency.

The job of IT is not simply to align with the business, but rather to partner with the business to drive innovative solutions forward. While it sounds simple, its execution requires teamwork. With all the advances in computing in recent years — mobile devices, clouds and large “pipes” to transmit customized data to a customer — IT is no longer just about “automating the paper.” It’s about rethinking the way we do business, in light of the emerging tools, to get information into the hands of those who need it in as straightforward a manner as possible.

This is where cooperation comes in. We in IT know about the technology, but you better understand the intricacies of how the lab does business and the constraints that we need to work within. Thus a successful IT endeavor is one in which the subject matter experts work side by side with the IT professionals to leverage technology, improve efficiency and provide capabilities to the lab that it does not currently enjoy.

One such project we’re currently embarking on is called the labwide budget and planning system, or BPS. BPS is a joint effort between the Computing Sector and the Finance Section. The goal of the BPS program is to develop and deliver an integrated budget and planning capability that will unite strategic and resource planning with budget formulation. We are engaging stakeholders from across the lab to put together a set of requirements that will meet the lab’s diverse needs. It is this team effort that will make the undertaking successful and useful to its many users.

Together, we will make Fermilab stronger.