Information Technology Strategic Plan /23/2013

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1 Information Technology Strategic Plan /23/2013

2 Unit Mission Statement: Information Technology Shared Services is dedicated to providing unparalleled service and support to the UC Davis College of Engineering community. To accomplish this mission, we strive to meet the current and future technological needs of faculty, students, and staff; actively research and incorporate new technologies; and provide the highest level of support to our clients, while conducting ourselves in a manner consistent with the highest standards of professionalism. Unit Self-Assessment The College of Engineering has historically delivered IT through a distributed, heterogeneous service model. Deep budget cuts and staff reductions in years prior to 2012 forced the College to rethink how IT services should be delivered to meet the needs of the faculty, staff, and students during periods of uncertain budgets. Aging infrastructure, lack of coordination, and reduced funding created a backlog of serious technology-related issues for the College during those years. Dealing with these problems and meeting future challenges related to a host of emerging technology issues required the reorganization of CoE IT services. This reorganization was planned as a multi-year process guided by the annual CoE IT Strategic Plan. In , IT staff members within the College were organized into tier 1 support located immediately in each Department and tier 2 support spanning the entire College. The goal of this reorganization was to create efficiencies across all Departments while improving overall services to the College. IT staff within the College are highly competent and dedicated professionals. The transition to the new management structure was carried out in a seamless fashion with minimal interruption of service to the College. College-wide IT staff members meet annually to develop a comprehensive list of strengths and weaknesses. The resulting SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats), attached as Appendix A, informed all of the recommendations contained in this report. Standards of Excellence Information Technology Shared Services will measure its success through a variety of qualitative metrics such as the use of client surveys, analysis of our aspirational peer schools, and performance of our achieved short-term and long-term objectives. Faculty and staff feedback will be extremely important as we identify and address critical college-wide issues. IT Shared Services Goals 1 of 7

3 Information Technology continues to play a transformative role in education and research. Prospective and current students, faculty, staff, and alumni expect that universities perform at a high level of technological competence. It is important to constantly improve the technological performance of the college on behalf of these constituencies. To affect the changes necessary to propel the college forward, Information Technology Shared Services must continue to focus on the following goals: Enhance the overall service to our clients Strive to promote positive interoffice collaboration throughout the College of Engineering by leveraging existing and new technologies Research and implement new technologies in teaching and research Facilitate positive interactions with students to assist with recruitment and retention efforts The unit proposes to advance these goals by annually identifying a series of immediate (6-month), short-term (18-month), and long-term (3-year) projects. Each project will address a weakness or threat that has been identified in the attached SWOT analysis. Project phases may span multiple years depending on scope and complexity. The following list represents a prioritized list of projects that the IT Shared Services has identified for the academic year. Immediate Projects (target completion date: 6 months) Helpdesk and Tier 0 Support System In the college adopted a Helpdesk system that funnels all IT support requests through a common platform. This helps improve IT service delivery across the college and allows for a comprehensive analysis into common trends and themes. Through this single system that is used college-wide, the IT can easily coordinate the appropriate level of service and dispatch the corresponding personnel. In , access to the Helpdesk system will be expanded to include web and phone interfaces. A searchable knowledge base will be created from user requests. A Service Catalog will also be posted to streamline Helpdesk support while reducing staff training and empowering users to find some solutions on their own (Tier 0). CMS In the college adopted the Wordpress Content Management System (CMS) to allow non-it personnel to easily edit website content through a standard interface. This CMS allows the content experts (faculty, department heads, and marketing personnel) to develop and maintain content for websites as easily as editing a simple document. Since content experts have greater access to their data, the information can be readily updated without the delay of relaying requests through a Webmaster. Overall, this will create a much better end-user experience as the information that is delivered on our institutional websites is timely and relevant. 2 of 7

4 In , IT staff will work to transition existing websites into the central CMS. In addition, IT will work with faculty and staff to ensure appropriate training is available through a mix of online and in-person training methods. Furthermore, IT will develop a common set of templates to facilitate rapid website deployment. This will allow faculty and research groups to quickly deploy new websites while incorporating best practices for web development such as ADA compliance and standards compliant coding. CoE Computing Cloud In the college purchased a series of connected servers to act as a computing cloud. The goal of this purchase was to provide a cost-effective, scalable replacement for aging hardware across the college. Many production systems such as departmental webservers, file servers, and application servers were running on hardware that was no longer supported by the manufacturer. Additionally, many of the critical systems lacked redundancy with automated failover. In the process of migrating programs running on old server hardware into the College cloud will be completed. Redundancy will already be part of the cloud, so all of these services will immediately benefit from increased reliability and stability. As duplicate systems are transitioned and ultimately eliminated, the College will see significant savings in terms of hardware costs and staff support time. Consolidated Firewall In a goal was identified to revise the college security posture to provide enhanced network security while reducing administrative workload. A number of networks within the college did not have a VLAN firewall configured. Furthermore, many other networks had firewalls that are configured in such a way that reduced their effectiveness. As discussions surrounding network security evolved in , IT Shared Services partnered with IET Communications Resources to design and pilot the next generation of the campus network. In , the new network security system will be rolled out and end-users in the college will be moved into the new networks. The coverage of the system will be comprehensive, including all faculty, labs, instructional labs, and the CoE Datacenter. Network Enhancements - Old wiring, unmanaged wireless, and aging networking equipment together reduce the network performance across the college. Some buildings have newer wiring/equipment while others still have category 3 wiring (limiting network performance to 10 Mbit/s). Network wiring in older buildings should be upgraded to the latest standard of category 5e or even category 6/6a. IET has consistently delivered a reliable and well received wireless network called MoobileNet. This wireless network should be deployed across all of the college to enable all members of the community to reliably access the network from mobile devices. 3 of 7

5 Short-Term Projects (target completion date: 18 months) Comprehensive Security Assessment Network and computer security is essential to ensuring all technology operations of the College continue unimpeded. Security vulnerabilities create potential risks to institutions information, reputation, and ability to deliver programs. A comprehensive security assessment is needed to identify potential weaknesses and risk mitigation strategies. The outcome of this assessment will inform future investments in hardware and staff time. Consolidate Instructional Labs Computing staff have a tremendous amount of expertise running instructional labs across the college. IT will leverage this expertise and develop standards for running labs. These standards will include hardware life-cycle management, authentication, authorization, software distribution, and student staffing. Remote Access --- Departments currently use a variety of methods for connecting into Engineering networks and services from outside of the physical college. This is an area that is a target for security breaches and is difficult to administer. However, it is important to find a secure solution so the customer population has easy access to resources from outside the physical college. IT will determine the best-of-breed Virtual Private Network or other remote technology and implement college-wide. Research Support Efficiencies gained in all other areas will enable IT staff to focus on more complex issues that have direct or indirect benefit to faculty research. In addition to infrastructure improvements such as data storage and network, IT will be available for support of programming, specialized webs sites, version control systems, cluster support, etc. IT will work with faculty to define specific services and rates appropriate for direct charge, and assist faculty with including these in grant proposals while remaining competitive. In all, this effort will provide faculty with more responsive expertise, rather than inconsistent support or outsourcing and losing the revenue potential. Long-Term Projects (target completion date: 3 years) Video Conferencing / Distance Education Distance education introduces new opportunities to extend the exciting research and learning happening here at UC Davis beyond the traditional classroom. New advancements in technology make providing electronic access to our courses affordable. Online Education Tools Online education has emerged as a focus point for more effective teaching styles in higher education. Many faculty members desire to experiment with different styles of online education to determine the best approach that enhances the student outcome. Hardware and software is needed to support the 4 of 7

6 development of online classes in the college. A survey will be conducted to identify the most common tools currently used for online education and instructions on how to access these tools will be prepared for the college faculty. Hardware and software will be purchases as needed to support these goals when they are not available from another UC unit. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Understanding who our customers are and their relationships with the College and each other is critical to the success of the organization. A CRM will allow the College to begin tracking and understanding these relationships so that critical business decisions can be made. A CRM system will enable the College to connect prospective students with alumni in their area of interest. It can also provide insight into the faculty research areas for external affiliates. The CRM system becomes a central tool for building relationships with our constituents. Service Catalog IT must clearly identify the services which are provided either internally or externally to the College. A catalog will not only articulate which services are provided, but also clarify which services are beyond scope and should be delivered elsewhere. Database Cleanup The College maintains several shadow databases using nonstandard database tools. A comprehensive analysis will need to be completed in order to determine the best migration strategy for each of these systems, especially focusing on the availability of outside services that meet the information needs. Next Steps This strategic plan represents a framework for future college-wide IT efforts. While not specifically a work plan, it does provide an outline for projects that IT will focus on. Additional planning will be needed for each project to determine the scope of work, impact to stakeholders, and project budget. Many of these individual projects will be multi-year/multi-phased as necessary to successfully deliver new services, while ensuring continuity of service to existing systems. IT will continue to engage the community throughout the implementation of this plan to re-evaluate college-wide priorities ensuring IT continues to meet the needs of faculty, staff, and students. 5 of 7

7 Appendix A Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) Analysis STRENGTHS Desktop support is generally well received Computer classrooms are generally run really well Student assistant management Unix/Linux system administration IT Staff are extremely technically competent IT Staff enhance faculty research IT Staff have a good understanding and use of OpenSource Systems WEAKNESSES Reduced IT staff Expensive Tier 1 support model No inventory Poor inventory management Old networks and self-management of networks Poor wireless networks No formal training program No auditing Inconsistent auditing Inconsistent patching / no patch automation Poor application development No website consistency Systems have single points of failure Poor interdepartmental communication Helpdesk software isn t great Many duplicated services across different departments Old databases that are not maintained or poorly maintained Poor equipment lifecycle management Cybersafety compliance is poor Poor firewall management OPPORTUNITIES Consolidation of computer classrooms Application Virtualization Simplify licensing COE Undergraduate labor Standardize/Outsource Printing Partner with faculty research (deliver services internally) Develop website content management system (potentially use BME WordPress) Develop an IT Knowledgebase for user self-service Consolidate database access Consolidate data storage and archiving for administrative and research data Consolidate server rooms across college (repurpose space) 6 of 7

8 THREATS Old applications (no support/poor support) Data loss from single copies of data with no backup Equipment without vendor support could fail Service outages due to old hardware / non-redundant hardware Unauthorized access to systems due to poor firewalls 7 of 7

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