The System Enterprise Application Committee meets at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday.
Dee Childs spoke to the Texas A&M IT Forum about her listening tour and priorities for early 2017. For those of you outside of ITAC, here is a recap of that presentation:
Top 10 Observations in the first 100 days:
10: Death by e-mail – There are too many e-mails coming into our inboxes from too many sources. We do not have a good campus policy for filtering email messages, as opposed to opting in to everything or opting out of everything. Therefore, many faculty and students opt out.
9: Loss of data in Blackboard system during Spring semester 2016 caused some loss of confidence in the system. Mostly noise I think, but needs to be watched.
8: Students do not go to our web sites first when they need information. When asked how they find out information about our services, etc., students said they first go to google.com and search. If they cannot find the answer in Google, they probably won’t find it. If anything, students want more mobile apps for things they use often. They mentioned wanting more app functionality in Howdy, an app to see their print allocation in the OALs and for the MaroonLink app to integrate with eCampus.
7: Learning management systems – also from students – they do not understand why faculty use so many different learning management systems. They do not care about learning management systems, they just want faculty to use the same thing so they do not have to go to so many different places to see their grades (#1), and #2, to see assignments and resources.
6: Faculty cannot untangle the landscape of IT and IT assistance on campus. They claimed there are too many offices and phone numbers, and they don’t know where to go to get information or help for a variety of things. I think the signal/noise ratio is higher on this one, but still not too troublesome given local IT support are the go-to providers. Still, for faculty, as well as for students, it should be one-stop instead of multiple hops to get the information and resources they need.
5: What is the future of student computer labs? How much should we spend on computer labs, or will students bring their own laptops? Should we consider a virtual lab environment such as the Virtual Open Access Lab TAMU already provides to replace typical desktop computing labs? The President is really in favor of this approach, with the recognition that we must meet the challenge for students who cannot afford to purchase their own laptops. We simply do not want to disenfranchise students because of an inability to purchase a laptop. I think it would be a potential project for this group to look at a campus-wide laptop initiative with options for financial assistance for those who cannot afford laptops.
4: Faculty are subject to a lot of periodic/regular reporting, as well as irregular/one-time requests for data from the Provost’s office and for tenure review and promotion, SACCOC, and other accreditation activities and bodies. Technology could assist with this in terms of better analytics and a document repository. As a campus, we need to determine how we can obtain better analytics tools and resources available at an institutional scale for both business and academics.
3: Data Storage is a problem for everyone. Storage is a separate problem space from compute resources. The University Libraries has a valid case for more storage, as well as researchers. We, as IT staff, can be more vigilant in having data retention policies. More centralization will also help this.
2: The campus network. There is no campus-level funding model for recapitalization of the campus network. As such, we have an aging network infrastructure that inhibits large data flows for scientific applications, and is not currently architected for cyber security protection of DoD, or Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI).
1: IT security is the number one concern from the deans and most faculty I spoke with. We have a very compliance-intensive environment with regulations and rules. We can expect even more compliance requirements coming from the federal government. This will place a strain on our infrastructure and ability to meet requirements in a timely fashion.
Top priorities for the first part of 2017:
- Continue listening tour and engaging the campus in dialogue.
- Develop a formal IT governance framework that is inclusive of the many voices on campus to guide strategic decisions and strategic investment from a campus level. Socialize the need for IT governance during my listening tour.
- Begin work on a new funding model for providing baseline, common-good IT resources and services (for example, email, network operations, Help Desk, and basic virtual server infrastructure) without having the transaction cost load of billing departments.
- Complete the new data center and provide a service portfolio that serves the campus for the next 1-3 years while we build a strategic plan.
- Begin architecture of a DFARS compliant enclave in the new data center.
- Develop a Business Continuity and DR plan for Texas A&M IT.
- Develop a Data Breach Incident Response plan for Texas A&M IT that the campus can use as a template.
- Begin to understand what academic and business analytics are required and how we might build both infrastructure and human resources to meet these needs.
System-Wide Contracting News
Current System-wide Contracts
- Access Data provides members with preservation hold software (in annual assessment)
- Banner COE provides members with Banner-related services (discretionary)
- Cisco SmartNet (discretionary)
- Diligent provides board portal functionality for all members (discretionary)
- Docusign provides members with electronic signature and related workflow capabilities (discretionary)
- Duo provides two-factor authentication for all members (discretionary)
- Examity provides members with on-line proctoring services under a one-year master contract (discretionary contract)
- Hootsuite enables members to manage social networks, schedule messages and measure social media from a dashboard (discretionary)
- Modo Labs provides mobile application development support (discretionary)
- ProctorU provides members with on-line proctoring services under a one-year master contract (discretionary contract)
- Proofpoint email filtering and data loss prevention tools (in annual assessment)
- Security Operations Center (in annual assessment)
- Siteimprove checks web pages, every five days, for spelling, grammar, broken links and accessibility. The cost is 54 cents per web page per year. Any member interested in adding this service need to contact me directly. (discretionary)
- Syncplicity licensing is available for all members (in annual assessment)
- WebEx is available to all members. Faculty/administrators can obtain licenses at the low cost of $1.44/month/license. (discretionary)
- WebQA is the TAMUS approved Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) solution for all members (in annual assessment)
System-wide Contracts Under Development
- Comevo will provide members with online orientation software services (discretionary contract)
- Qualtrics will provide members with software to manage the entire customer experience – from surveys, to insights and to action. A proposal has been distributed for review.
Workday (Project Helios)
- Unit testing of our second prototype (Prototype 2) finished. Preparations for System Integration Testing are underway.
- Prototype review sessions this week focused on Talent and Performance. The final Prototype 2 review sessions resume January 3 with Payroll and finish January 4 with Safety Incident Tracking.
- Project leadership met with the entire System Offices IT shared services team to review a draft of a post go-live ongoing support model that included Workday.
- No trips scheduled this week.