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Consulting & Project Office (CPO)

Mission: To support, assist, and provide free consulting services to Northwestern University Departments to successfully deliver Information Technology (IT) projects.

Vision: "Repeatable success for every IT project".

The Consulting & Project Office is a department of Northwestern University Information Technology that provides expertise and value-added services in the following areas for support of Northwestern University Community:

Technology Acquisition Best Practices and Consulting

CPO provides insight and advice to Northwestern University Departments concerning tradeoffs and opportunities available for making prudent investments in technology to meet demands of customers and constituents.

This process includes complete vendor contract negotiation, execution, and support to ensure that NU Departments are adhering to University policies and procedures while leveraging existing contracts for terms and pricing. This process also ensures vendors follow NU policies and procedures.

CPO is the "bridge" to the Office of General Counsel for information technology contracts negotiation, execution, and processing.

Request for Proposal (RFP) Creation and Management

CPO assists in creation of all necessary RFP documents including needs analysis, assessment, vendor scoring, conducting vendor product demonstrations, etc.

We provide RFP development from initial concept to vendor selection using a common template. We cover all critical aspects required to properly screen suppliers or vendors. CPO facilitates the complete RFP process ultimately resulting in selection of a chosen vendor. We have developed business, user, functional, and technical requirements to evaluate proper alignment with the University's business objectives.

Project Management Services

CPO is a strategic and operational management group designed to reduce the risk of project failure and ensure successful project deliverables. The CPO aligns our customer's business needs, requirements, and goals with successful project deliverables and execution. We develop and implement a consistent and standardized process for any implementation.

CPO is flexible enough to work in any capacity or in any phase of a given initiative. Some of our project management services include:

  1. Project Guidance: Provide project management guidance to project managers in NU departments. We can provide detailed analysis of your current project plan and recommend best practices to ensure project success. Through our past experience and knowledge, we provide unbiased opinions and recommendations to guarantee project success. In this role, CPO provides project planning expertise to a department project manager.
  2. Project Assistance: We can help develop a project plan, a project schedule with work break-down structure, milestones, and reporting to guarantee successful completion of a project. In this role, the CPO is providing internal consulting and mentoring to the customer project manager.
  3. Project Support: We can answer questions about all aspects of the project management processes and facilitate questions on a particular software package or product.
  4. Complete Project Management: Do you have an IT project to complete but insufficient resources to support the project? CPO offers part time or full time internal project managers that can assist on any IT project. We can fully manage your project lifecycle from the project charter to status reporting to resource management to successful delivery of the assigned project.

Process Management, Improvement, and Optimization

CPO facilitates process improvement and assistance by identifying gaps in current processes and or redundancy in your current work environment. We use best practice analysis methods to identify and document work processes. We then map or suggest alternate processes to better align with the business goals for greater efficiency.

Last Updated: 16 February 2021

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