December 13, 2021

Introducing a new mission and vision for ITaP

CIO Hyatt’s first order of business as head of ITaP, systemwide IT efforts: Establish organization’s strategic direction, celebrate team successes

To Ian Hyatt, taking the reins of a complex organization and effectively managing the critical and constant intersections between computers and people requires a strong foundation. That’s why defining the mission and vision for his team was the top priority when he started this summer as new chief information officer for Purdue University’s systemwide information technology and as head of Information Technology at Purdue (ITaP).

Hyatt was selected after a national search among candidates within and outside higher education. He succeeded Karl Browning, who retired after serving in the position since 2019. Hyatt reports to Chris Ruhl, chief financial officer and treasurer. “Karl’s leadership and stewardship of ITaP helped set the stage for creating the foundational mission and vision statements to chart the future direction of this complex and essential unit within Purdue,” Hyatt says.

Vital to the ongoing work and operations for all Purdue faculty, staff, students and visitors, ITaP provides primary end-user touchpoints ranging from the PAL 3.0 Wi-Fi network and computer application downloads to support for the research enterprise, and two-factor authentication for accessing servers and portals, even guidance for regular password changes.

Through ITaP, Hyatt leads IT operations at the academic level, the advanced research cyberinfrastructure that includes shared supercomputing clusters for intensive computational needs, and the high-speed networks linking laboratories and computing resources to connect the campus to national resources. As CIO, Hyatt also oversees IT efforts for the entire Purdue system.

“We are a big organization with a significant mission for the Purdue community. Having a mission and vision helps clarify things for personnel across all lines of the business on down,” says Hyatt, who joined Purdue on June 1. “It also helps others understand what it is we’re really doing and what we’re aspiring to do.”

Purdue’s systemwide IT operations consist of a substantial annual budget and over 1,100 employees, including 500 employees within ITaP. So, Hyatt gave primacy to creating these clear mission and vision statements given the size and complexity of his organization:

* Mission: ITaP provides the technology infrastructure, services, solutions and information security that support teaching and learning, enhance research, and enable faculty and staff to achieve their objectives while providing a positive student experience.

* Vision: To empower our students, faculty and staff with the technology to make giant leaps to advance knowledge, impact our state and make a better world.

The mission and vision statements build on three key operational pillars that Hyatt established for ITaP – people, processes and technology. And it’s no coincidence these are outlined in this order, particularly for an IT operation at a major, land-grant university addressing the complex priorities in learning, research and engagement:

* People: For leading ITaP in developing the skills and talents of Purdue’s workforce.

* Processes: For refining and improving processes toward operational excellence.

* Technology: For deploying the right technologies to solve the right problems at the right time.

“At the end of the day, the people are the key to everything that we do to be efficient, effective,” Hyatt says.

Top day-to-day priorities

Anchored by the Purdue System Cloud, the IT infrastructure spans three statewide campuses with high-performance computing complex supporting computational research. Hyatt also is charged with advancing integrated software solutions – such as SAP, SuccessFactors and Brightspace – along with building a robust information security strategy across the Purdue system.

While managing ITaP’s five core areas – cybersecurity, end-user experience, IT enterprise reporting, IT infrastructure services, and research services and support – Hyatt has focused most of his time since joining Purdue on three of those: security, end-user experience and research support.

Security rightly sits atop of that list, he says. But centralized IT tools that support Purdue students, faculty and staff in their day-to-day studies, instruction and productivity – under the area of Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) – also require constant attention.

Additionally, support of the research enterprise and facilities remains a critical role for ITaP in helping Purdue, as a Tier 1 research institution, deliver solutions to the major challenges of the day. Two timely, major applications of Research Computing include:

* Anvil, a $22.5 million supercomputer funded by the National Science Foundation.

* The recent launch of the Purdue Applied Research Institute (PARI), one of Purdue’s Next Moves, tasked with positioning the University to play an even larger role in the development and adoption of emerging technologies.

“Every day, we must really own those three areas,” he says.

Hyatt came to Purdue in this technology leadership role amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has presented daily challenges in managing the delivery of learning and research for a campus community of 55,000 students, faculty and staff that relies almost exclusively on technology in a demanding, dynamic virtual environment.

“What I’ve seen since coming to Purdue is that the University embraced it and continues to do so quite effectively,” he says.

Informed by best of private, public sectors

While Hyatt brings to Purdue the technology skills and management strengths garnered during his time in the private sector, his extensive career in the military also informs his leadership style. And during his professional career, he says, he has come to understand that military and private and public sector workplace environments are more alike than different.

At the same time, he is committed to seeing the different ways his ITaP team can advance the tremendous legacy that Purdue has built over its 150-year history, doing what’s necessary to maintain and sustain a university that’s now a model for a 21st century institution of higher learning.

I was amazed at the level of performance of Purdue as a whole and of its various schools and colleges,” he says. “I also was very pleased to see Purdue has been holding tuition flat for years, that it was really working hard to ensure that this was affordable education across the board.

Just the value of that was outstanding. The fact that Purdue ranks in the top 10 in so many different verticals – in engineering, in innovation. These things were very exciting to me, because I knew that the information technology organization should be a large part of helping deliver that capability and the success that comes with it.”

Over the course of this first year, Hyatt looks to elevate ITaP’s profile, highlighting, promoting and celebrating the successes of his diverse staff in their commitment to campuswide customer service: What’s up at ITaP? What’s happening in security? What’s new in end-user experience? What is Research Computing doing this month?

“This is the very beginning of things. The tip of the iceberg is to open the door with providing this information to everyone basically around our mission and vision,” he says. “The next phases will be celebrating our successes. We’re going to work hard to make ITaP visible and highlight the capabilities we have.”

Hyatt is getting his academic baptism through Purdue, having served over three decades as an executive and manager in the private sector and the military.

He held several executive positions at IGT Providence, most recently as vice president of global services, logistics and fleet since 2017. His extensive military career currently involves the role as State Command Chief Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and Rhode Island Air National Guard, where he has served since 1985.

Writer: Phillip Fiorini,

Faculty-Staff News

More News

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

© 2015-22 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Office of Strategic Communications

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact News Service at