Eastern Illinois University information technology services. strategic plan. January,

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1 Eastern Illinois University information technology services strategic plan January, 2014

2 Introduction With the selection of emerging technologies as one of the six themes of the university s recent strategic planning efforts, Eastern Illinois University confirmed the important role technology occupies in higher education. This strategic plan for Information Technology Services was developed following in the steps of the university s strategic plan and to insure Information Technology Services is meeting the mission and goals of the university. Most universities, including EIU face many of the same challenges. As noted in the Educause Review for May/June, 2013, external forces, particularly technological innovations occurring in the consumer space, are shaping the strategic priorities of higher education institutions. Students and faculty expect to use their smart phones and tablets in their academic work and expect their institution s services to work as easily and effectively as commercial services. These expectations have led to a demand for anytime, anywhere, any device technology. Additional challenges are created by the density of devices on campus and the respectively increasing bandwidth requirements. For more than a decade, funding IT has continuously been recognized as one of the foremost challenges for IT leaders. This ever increasing challenge requires the staff of ITS to attempt to keep pace with the voluminous number of developments in technology while utilizing each university dollar earmarked for technology to its utmost. In keeping with the university s strategic plan, a five-year time frame is considered for this plan. With the rapid pace of technological developments, five years is an extended time. Technological changes, coupled with the availability of funding, staffing requirements, and alignment with the university strategic plan will impact this plan and the time frame of implementation. This plan should be viewed as a progressive plan, changing to meet the needs of the university. The goals and actions for the emerging technologies theme in the university s strategic plan are included in this strategic plan and have been further developed to include additional actions. Improving efficiencies of service has been added as a fourth goal with applicable actions accompanying it. 1

3 Mission Information Technology Services provides reliable and effective technology to empower faculty, staff and students at Eastern Illinois University in their pursuit of superior teaching, research, creative and integrated learning activities, and to facilitate the efficient administration of the university. Vision ITS aspires to empower Eastern Illinois University students, faculty, and staff by providing the most technologically advanced information systems and architectures available and outstanding service through superior dedication and excellence. 2

4 Goals University Strategic Plan Actions: Additional ITS Actions: Goal 1: Make targeted investments in our technology infrastructure. Assess the trends in demand for learning technologies and the university s ability to respond to the growing demand for ubiquitous learning (anytime, anywhere, any device). Develop a new technology investment plan that outlines the infrastructure investments required for continued support of best practices and innovation in learning technologies. Address identified infrastructure needs (e.g., expanded wireless access, off-site data disaster recovery), with support from consultants as needed. 1. Collaboration with IPATHE for co-locations, necessary equipment, and services for disaster recovery. Members of ITS staff have been involved with IPATHE, the Illinois Partnership to Advance Technology in Higher Education, since its inception in Collaboration with the group will allow ITS to effectively utilize both EIU s resources as well as other state universities resources to provide backup data storage sites. Continued collaboration with this group may provide future benefits and services in other areas of ITS. 2. Additional phases of edge switch/network replacements. The university has been functioning with network equipment originally installed in Life expectancy of the original equipment was seven years. The networking staff of ITS has successfully maintained the equipment beyond the expectations, but continued long-term reliance on unsupported equipment is not a sustainable practice. The university is now in year two of a four-year phased replacement plan. During FY14, the Internet facing equipment is targeted for replacement. 3. Replacement for MARS, the university s monitoring, analysis, and response system for the network. This system is beyond the vendor s supported life-cycle for it. It is used to monitor incidents, measure threats, aggregate and analyze security logs. 3

5 4. Expansion of wireless in academic buildings. In keeping with the expectations of anytime, anywhere, any device technology, the wireless capabilities available in campus classrooms will need strengthening. As cited in a report published by the Educause Center for Analysis and Research, undergraduates own two to three Internet-capable devices. While laptops were still listed as the most used and most important device for academics, the number of students using smart phones and tablets for academic purposes has increased. Many students will have more than one device accessing the university s network concurrently. 5. Install, maintain, and update wireless access points across campus to ensure ubiquitous wireless Internet access. This action item bears a close relationship with the previous action. Beyond installing additional wireless capabilities, the current equipment is original to the 2004 network upgrade. The technology utilized in wireless access points has evolved to allow a single point wider coverage and increased capacity. Replacing the existing wireless access points will advance the university towards ubiquitous learning. 6. Further development of virtual application deployment and desktop management. The VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) environment offers the university several benefits including: reduction in costs of faculty/staff desktops and laptops, efficient maintenance of the desktop environment and university-licensed software, and the ability to better manage licensing of university purchased software. An objective with virtual deployment is to move toward virtual computer labs, allowing students the ability to access university-licensed computer applications via the Internet, facilitating a ubiquitous learning environment. 7. Facilitate access to information and services from mobile devices including assessment, development of mobile apps, and mobile device management. With an increasing number of students and faculty choosing to use smart phones and tablets for academic purposes, both the availability and management of mobile apps as well as the management of mobile devices increases in priority. 8. Implementation of 802.1x. Moving to the standard for passing authentication over the local network will allow for increased security and allow network administrators increased flexibility to secure communications between authenticated and authorized devices. 9. Provide university-wide solution for storage and file collaboration. Faculty and staff have utilized various means for storage and file collaboration, often using third-party services, subjecting the university to unnecessary and perhaps unknown risks. A university-wide solution would support the safety and security of university data in addition to the provision of a common platform and tool, increasing familiarity, usability and effective collaboration. 4

6 10. Investigate and assess need for information management and Business Intelligence (BI) environment. University faculty and staff currently utilize numerous reporting tools, databases, and methods for reporting. A business intelligence environment has the ability to transform large amounts of unstructured data into information that can provide current and historical views. At a minimum, benefits of a BI environment should include ease of reporting, analytics, and data mining. 11. Assess and implement an identity management solution. The university s current method of identity management is complex, cumbersome, and subject to frequent changes. University enterprise effectiveness would be streamlined by an identity management solution that would assist with administration of identification, authorization, and access. A successful solution will necessitate the development of a standardized methodology for determination of user ids and provision of access. 12. Evaluate and prepare for implementation of Banner 9. Ellucian is releasing the next major upgrade of Banner module by module. As each module is made available, an evaluation by applicable ITS and university staff will be required to determine the benefits and changes for the university in addition to an implementation schedule. Due to the changes in platform by Ellucian these upgrades will require training of ITS staff, possible rewrites of systems developed surrounding Banner, extensive testing and involvement of university staff. 13. Assess need for a university portal. A portal would bring together information from diverse sources, i.e. Banner, PAWS, Panthermail, Facebook, and Twitter. Ease of access, consolidated location for information and increased productivity may be realized. 5

7 University Strategic Plan Actions: Additional ITS Actions: Goal 2: Increase transparency of technology funding. Develop a dashboard that provides summary data on technology expenditures. Analyze current technology funding model, determine systemic inequities. Explore alternative models for administering technology funding and expenditures, and adopt changes that enhance end-user support and reduce overall costs. 1. Research methods used by each college/department for technology funding and planning. Clearer comprehension of the method used by each department to plan and fund technology will provide ITS staff the ability to better provide assistance and support the technology. 2. Consider methods of cost reductions (bulk purchases, university-provided standard equipment, etc.). The university currently achieves a reduction in pricing with a volume purchase of equipment from select vendors. The bulk purchase process has been refined and will continue to be improved. To assist the university in maintaining current efficiencies, ITS will continue to examine other cost reduction methods. Several universities provide university-standard equipment as a means of reducing costs. 3. Review sources of ITS funding, forecast availability of funds for prioritized infrastructure projects. Funding information technology strategically continues to be one of the top ten IT issues as surveyed and reported by Educause. Further, many IT organizations are considering moving to service or activity-based costing to allow for an understanding of the cost of services for an institution. Substantial infrastructure updates will be required for the provision of an anytime, anywhere, any device environment and the continuing support of the university s mission. 6

8 University Strategic Plan Actions: Additional ITS Actions: Goal 3: Centralize and standardize select technology services with clear and uniform policies and procedures. Complete a comprehensive inventory of technology assets. Review and refine the core set of standardized technology services provide by ITS. Review and assess the effectiveness of the current administrative structure for technology to provide core services and support specialized technology needs with minimal duplication of effort. 1. Inventory assets, utilizing System Center Configuration Manager or other appropriate tool. An inventory of computers in the university domain, including the hardware configuration and software installed on each system will allow ITS to be proactive in the management of hardware and software licensing. 2. Develop service catalog. The number of services provided by and supported by the staff of ITS continues to grow. A service catalog will act as an effective communication tool, describing the services ITS offers to the students, faculty and staff of EIU. This action item and the next (ITIL) operate in conjunction and will assist in addressing the University Strategic Plan action of review and refine the core set of standardized technology services for this goal 3. ITIL IT Infrastructure Library. Utilizing the best practices detailed in ITIL and the service catalog developed in action item 2 of this goal should allow ITS to better align technology with the university s needs. The focus will be on the university community s perspective of how ITS supports the university s needs and mission and how the university could utilize IT. These practices allow for the establishment of baselines and measurements of improvement. 4. Standardize project management methodology and processes. Each area of ITS is constantly planning, documenting, tracking, and completing projects utilizing various tools. Standardizing on one project methodology will enable ITS staff to effectively communicate both within ITS and with university faculty and staff external to ITS. 7

9 Goal 4: Continue to improve efficiencies of service both internally to ITS and externally to the university community basing IT service decisions on collaborative planning, providing excellent, accessible, and efficient service. This goal is in addition to the three previous goals developed for the emerging technology theme of the university strategic plan. The objectives of this goal are: Provide ITS staff education and opportunities to stay current with technology trends and research. Provide effective communications with the university community. Effectively utilize limited resources. Annually distribute to the university community an ITS strategic plan that has been evaluated and revised as necessary. Encourage colleges and departments to include the staff of ITS in their technology planning. ITS Actions: 1. Continue improvements in bulk ordering process, availability of information regarding recommended equipment. This action item, regarding only the bulk ordering process, operates in conjunction with action item 2 for Goal 2. Each year university staff closely involved in the process has met prior to ordering and after the order is complete to evaluate the process and determine improvements. Further improvements to the process will result in improved communications with university faculty and staff and increased financial savings for the university. 8

10 2. Research alternatives for provision of warranty work, student PC repair. For the nine years preceding and continuing with FY14, the university has contracted with a third party to provide warranty work on university provided machines used by faculty, staff and in computer labs. Additionally, the third party was allowed to provide a repair service for student machines at the students cost. With the increasing cost of the service, an alternative method may be able to provide comparable service for a lower cost, saving university resources. 3. Complete transition of authentication from OID to AD. With the implementation of Banner, OID (Oracle Internet Directory) was selected as the authentication tool for the university, validating net IDs. The number of systems utilizing authentication has increased, while the functionality of OID has not. Utilizing AD (Active Directory) places the university in an improved position for authentication with systems external to EIU as well as offering the university added functionality for authentication and the management of university resources. 4. Research alternative methods to obtain training for the staff of ITS. As with other universities, EIU is facing the conundrum of an ever increasing need for training of technology staff, consistently increasing training costs, and decreasing university funding. The staff of ITS presently employs online training when reasonable. The ITS relationship with IPATHE may allow state universities to collaborate on selected training efforts. Exploration of additional means for technology training is and will remain a continuing effort. 5. Establish career advancement paths for IT custom classifications. Due to the specialization of IT services and the antiquated titles and descriptions in use by the State Universities Civil Service System (SUCSS), many of the positions currently utilized by ITS align with a SUCSS custom classification. This program uses a comprehensive general title for the position with a specialization factor suffix. The path for advancement with these positions is neither specific nor easily identifiable. To recruit and retain outstanding staff members, an identifiable path for career advancement is vital. 6. Complete redesign of ITS web pages. User information, particularly for a technology related department, should be readily accessible via web pages. As focus and technologies have changed, ITS web pages have not kept pace. Easily found and accessible user information will result in improved communications with the university community, including information for prospective students. The appearance of ITS web pages should be consistent with templates and formats developed by the university s marketing and web teams. 9

11 7. Complete and implement service level agreement process. The proliferation of departmental servers has resulted in numerous servers on campus without appropriate support mechanisms. The development of a standard service level agreement allows the departmental staff and ITS staff an understanding of the responsibilities of each and insures valuable university data is properly stored, maintained, and safeguarded. Among other stipulations, the university s Internal Governing Policy number 103 requires service level agreements. Adherence to IGP 103 will result in reduced technology and resource costs for the university. 8. Establish baseline measures, create benchmarking criteria and assess the effectiveness of key ITS services. The staff of ITS currently uses various statistics for denoting accomplishments, allocation of staff, and alignment of resources. The use of benchmarking and efficacy measurements may allow comparison with other universities in addition to contributing to effective communications within the university community. 9. Research viable issue tracking systems for the university, allowing expansion of system usage. The issue tracking system currently employed was adopted by the university in the mid-1990 s, prior to the establishment of the Center for Academic Technology Support, instructional support specialists, and departmental servers. Technology and the university s uses of it have matured beyond the capabilities of the system. A system compatible with the distributed technology support environment in use at EIU would enable reliable analytics and knowledge sharing. 10. Complete and implement ITS communication plan. A communication plan will standardize the delivery methods used, message content, and audience included for each type of communication needed for system outages and informational messages, resulting in improved communications with the university community 11. Develop requirements and research alternatives to current Pinnacle system. The Pinnacle system utilized in the Telecommunications area of ITS has not been updated for an extended period of time. The system does not include all the functionality necessary to be effective and satisfy standard practices. 10

12 Approvals ITAC Approved by ITAC on February 7, 2014 Assistant Vice-President, Information Technology Services (signature) (date) Vice-President for Business Affairs (signature) (date) 11

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