Dr. Latimer presented the recently approved committee representation for IT Governance. The Bozeman IT Council currently consists of the CIO (chair), Provost, VP Admin, VP Research, VP Student Success, Faculty Senate representative, and ASMSU representative. The 1MSU (four campus) IT Council will be comprised of the chairs of Bozeman, Billings, Great Falls, and Northern IT Councils.
ASMSU is creating a Student Senate IT Council to be up and running in Fall 2014. This is an exciting new council to collect student input about IT needs and we look forward to working with them. The chair of that committee will likely be the student that sits on the Bozeman IT Council, but ultimately that is for ASMSU to determine.
The IT Center is working diligently to get the Program Management Office (PMO) stood up, the project portfolio built out, and the necessary resource allocation data to support the IT Council. We have hired two positions thus far; a Program Manager and a Project Manager to help with this process. The PMO will be handling all OpenMSU projects. To help address the expected project backlog, the IT Center has awarded IT Professional Services Contracts to 10 national/regional vendors to help move along IT projects currently in the pipeline. We look forward to making substantial progress with the PMO in the coming months. Take a peek at current projects and their statuses at www.montana.edu/pmo.
The Electronic Document Management Workflow (EDMW) project will be one of the first projects implemented under the PMO. This will be a large step forward in reducing the amount of paper that we manually process and move around on campus. Not only will it allow for the electronic routing of forms for approval, it will also provide for electronic storage, easy search and retrieval, and archiving of electronic documents.
Wireless Upgrades Phase II
The IT Center will be starting wireless upgrades in a new batch of buildings this spring. We have wireless upgrade plans for Wilson Hall, parts of Reid Hall, Roberts Hall, AJMJ, and a few more buildings. These upgrades are planned to be completed by June 30th and more buildings will be planned for next fall. If there are any problematic coverage spots where it is difficult to access a wireless connection, please inform the IT Center.
The IT Center is working with Auxiliary Services to help them with numerous wireless upgrades to the dorms. The upgrades will be made this summer and throughout next year in both undergraduate dorms and Family & Graduate Housing.
The IT Center plans to drop support for the 802.11b wireless specification this summer. 802.11b is the original WiFi technology that is over 10 years old and has since been replaced by the more advanced and faster 802.11g and 802.11n specifications. Whenever a device using 802.11b enters a radio broadcast area, it immediately lowers the connection speed to 6 Mb of every other device talking to that access point. Out of the 1,934 devices connected on March 5th, only 2 were using 802.11b. This will benefit everyone else because they will be able to perform at much higher speeds.
The IT Center has put out a bid to get a redundant connection to the east and we are working through the final stages of procurement. This connection will cost about half of what we are currently paying and we will raise our bandwidth with the leftover money. We will keep our legacy connection going to Seattle, but drive the bandwidth to 0. If there is ever a failure in one of the connections, all traffic will seamlessly transfer over to the working connection.
Both the Great Falls and Havre campuses are running their network traffic through Bozeman’s connection. This decreases efficiency so we will try to get a local ISP for both campuses. For the same amount of money, they will be able to have more bandwidth for their campuses.
IPAM and IP (re) addressing
The IT Center is currently evaluating three responses to the IP Address Management (IPAM) bid and we expect to make a decision in late March-early April. During the initial deployment of the IPAM appliance, we will move all current DNS/DHCP information from our current legacy system to the new appliance. We will then begin working with the campus community to systematically move from building to building or department by department and transfer everyone’s machines from static addressing to DHCP. The IT Center will work with the distributed IT and user community to come up with an upgrade strategy that will be the least disruptive time for each department or building. This could be a year-long process.
A faculty visioning committee has been formed for Research Computing. A sister committee comprised of distributed IT and research discipline support staff, named the Technical Steering Committee, will be created to also give input into the visioning process.
Visioning Committee Representation includes:
Dewitt Latimer (Co-chair)
Gwen Jacobs (Co-Chair)
Tom Blake - Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology
Geoff Poole - Land Resources and Environmental Science
Arts and Architecture
Dean Adams - Art
Nathan Davis - Art
Education Health and Human Development
Fenqjen Luo - Education
Jeff Heys - Chemical and Biological Engineering
Clem Izurieta - Computer Science
Ross Snider - Electrical and Computer Engineering
Letters and Science
Brian Bothner - Chemistry and Biochemistry
Steve Swinford - Sociology and Anthropology
Deborah Keil - Microbiology
Jack Dockery - Mathematics
After discussing possible email solutions with various constituent groups across the MSU campus, the IT Center has chosen to launch a pilot project with Office365. If the pilot project goes well, this will lay the foundation for the eventual replacement of campus Exchange mail server.
VDI and App Virtualization
With the current BYOD trend, there is a substantial amount of corporate data sitting on personal devices. Virtual Desktop Integration (VDI) and App virtualization will let the university take any app to any device and protect the data associated with that app. Moreover, it will allow the IT Center and departments to cut down the number of applications they must keep on the local desktop and allow instead for those applications to be served up virtually. A pilot will be up and running shortly and the IT Center hopes to have something ready in the fall that everyone can use.
Talent Management Software
Recruiting and onboarding staff and faculty at MSU is a constant need and time-intensive process. Talent acquisition software automates the recruitment process through a user-friendly web interface that enables ease of use for applicants, recruiters, and search committees. Hosted talent acquisition software improves operational efficiency, decreases time to hire, and reduces frustration across the institution. After an extensive process to collect four-campus user needs, an RFP was issued and has since come back in for evaluation. After an evaluation by a four-campus committee, an Intent to Award was issued to PeopleAdmin; the leading provider of hosted Talent Management Software in higher ed. The target go-live date is this fall.
The IT Center has been working diligently on the recommendation (see blog post above) of the Login Simplification Taskforce that delivered their analysis and recommendation to the CIO last fall. To aid in our Identity and Access Management (IAM) strategy as well as our underlying directory infrastructure, the IT Center has formed a new Middleware Group. Work will commence in early April with an IAM workshop facilitated by Microsoft and leading into a proposed design and implementation for our IAM strategy.
We look forward to seeing you at the next IT town hall meeting on April 10th from 9:00-10:30 AM.