Office of Information Technology Annual Report to the Chancellor - 2010-11
INTRODUCTION PROGRAMS DIVERSITY INITIATIVES STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCERNS FOR THE FUTURE UNIVERSITY STRATEGIC GOALS
Strategic planning was the driver of NC State’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) Priority Roadmap for fiscal year 2010-11. In an economic downturn, OIT was presented with both challenges and opportunities as it strived to manage its day-to-day operations, while meeting regulatory requirements, improving existing services and delivering critical new ones to the campus community.
Focusing inwardly, OIT streamlined its organizational structure and internal operations to reduce complexity and redundancies and to improve its overall information communication technology (ICT) services. Externally, OIT partnered with other campus IT organizations to initiate a new IT Governance structure that will strategically align campus’ IT objectives with the University’s mission - essentially defining the future direction of IT on NC State campus.
Formed in 2007, the Office of Information Technology provides campus-wide computing, information and communication technology services in support of the university's academic and administrative goals. With a staff of 260 people and a budget exceeding $48 million, OIT is led by Dr. Marc Hoit, vice chancellor for information technology (VCIT) and CIO. OIT is organized into eight units: the Center for Virtual Computer Lab, Sam Averitt, vice provost; Communication Technologies, Greg Sparks, director; Enterprise Application Services, Gwen Hazlehurst, director; Infrastructure, Systems and Operations, John Black, director; Outreach, Communications and Consulting, Stan Martin, director; Security and Compliance, Mardecia Bell, director; the newly created Shared Services, Eric Sills, director; and Technology Support Services, Susan Klein, director.
Scope of Services
Managing an IT environment on a campus the size of NC State continues to be a complex task. To improve the use of IT as a driver for change for the university, OIT initiated a three-phase strategic planning process. The first phase was the development of a Strategic Operations Plan (SOP) in the fall of 2008, which focuses on how OIT teams work together as an organization. Last fall in partnership with other campus IT organizations, OIT initiated the second phase – improving IT Governance. The final phase will be to work collaboratively with the university to develop an NC State Strategic IT Plan.
A new inclusive IT Governance model for the university began to emerge this fiscal year – bringing OIT and college/departments IT efforts together like never before! This new structure will allow university IT to focus on five strategic areas: strategic alignment, value delivery, resource management, risk management, and performance measurement.
A major highlight of the IT Governance structure will be the formation of the IT Strategic Advisory Committee (ITSAC). Representing major functional activities on campus, ITSAC will focus on strategic alignment of IT with the University’s mission and goals. The new structure plans include the IT Leadership Committee (the Chief Financial Officer, the Provost and the VCIT as chair); the General Advisory Councils (the Faculty Advisory Council, Staff Advisory Council and the Student Advisory Group); several Advisory Committees in connection with specific projects or programs; and the Campus IT Directors, who will vet infrastructural and architectural decisions and recommendations from the various committees to the VCIT. The IT Governance structure is expected to be fully formed during the fall of 2011.
During this fiscal year, OIT also embarked on a reorganization and numerous projects to increase its operational effectiveness and efficiencies. Highlights include:
- Budget and Reorganization - In the spring of 2011, in preparation for state of North Carolina budget cuts for fiscal year 2011-12, OIT implemented a 6% budget reduction, a loss of $1,389,290 in state appropriated funds, which included funding for 15 full-time positions. Simultaneously, OIT implemented organizational changes to eliminate some service redundancy and improve its ability to enhance existing services and deliver critical new services. A new unit, Shared Services, was created from the merger of staff from several different units. OIT Technology Support Services underwent some restructuring to provide a more effective support network of tiered services. These organizational changes also afforded OIT the opportunity to further blend the cultures of the former academic and administrative computing units so that the organization can better operate within cross-functional teams, and become “One IT.” Every OIT employee was affected by the organization changes.
- Project and Portfolio Management – OIT renewed its commitment to employ project and portfolio management to prioritize and manage its complex projects and to enhance team collaboration in the new organizational structure.
- Google Apps @ NC State – Embracing the spirit of “Collaboration, Communication and Education,” OIT completed the migration of all student email accounts to Google Apps @ NC State. This move has produced a “win-win” for the university, providing significant cost savings and access to a suite of popular collaboration tools for students, with 7.5 GB of storage space. OIT has begun moving employee email accounts to Google Apps. Once the employee migration is complete, all NC State students, faculty and staff will be on a single email and calendaring system!
- We’ve Got (Voice) Mail! – This spring, a new campus voice mail system was rolled out to campus, consolidating the antiquated voice mail systems of Main Campus and the College of Veterinary Medicine into one feature-rich system. In addition to the traditional telephone interface, the new voice mail system allows campus users to access their voice mail via an email client.
- OIT participated in the successful kickoff of the National Collaborative for Bio-Preparedness (NCB-Prepared) project to create a comprehensive bio-surveillance system to analyze and detect biological hazards.
- eProcurement – As part of the Joint Enterprise Services (JES) partnership, OIT implemented PeopleSoft eProcurement and the components of the PeopleSoft Finance System needed for electronic purchasing for UNC-Chapel Hill. JES leverages the strengths of both institutions to provide robust services at reduced costs.
- Identity and Access Management (IAM) – OIT started a number of initiatives to improve user access to enterprise resources on campus. Major initiatives begun include the planning of an identity management system, implementing an enterprise directory, automating password management, implementing group/role management, extending Shibboleth authentication services to various applications, extending authorization services provided by Security Access Request (SAR) and migrating from Novell to Active Directory for directory services.
- Destiny OneCE – OIT began the implementation of the university’s first enterprise system for the management of non-credit courses. This required a partnership between the McKimmon Center and various colleges on campus.
- Archiving and Retention – Google’s Postini Message Discovery was implemented to help university employees comply with state laws regarding the retention of public records, particularly email. Postini archives business-related email of those employees using the centrally supported email systems.
- Web Hosting Services – With an anticipated rollout of July 1, 2011, OIT’s new Web Hosting Service will provide campus units a more cost-effective option to host their web presence and will increase their flexibility and speed of deploying dynamic, database-driven website applications. AFS-based Web services support will continue to be offered.
- Managed Windows Desktop Service – OIT has rolled out the new business model for the managed desktop service that provides a standard Microsoft Windows-based workstation for use by university departments and computing facilities. This new business model was created through a zero-based budgeting process that provides a sustainable model for providing the cost of a supported workstation. Currently used by 3,000 NC State employees, the new environment will be based on Windows Active Directory, will use the Windows 7 operating system, and will significantly enhance OIT's ability to manage and support client workstations at scale.
- Virtualization – OIT and Information Technology and Engineering Computer Services (ITECS) partnered to create a VMware infrastructure service that provides hosting of leased virtual resources to run IT support groups’ dedicated system images. Using VMware virtualization, both OIT and ITECS have realized significant cost and energy savings through smaller server room foot prints and reduced hardware management time.
- Data Center Facilities – Already at full capacity (in terms of space, power and cooling), the two campus data centers were improved to support required growth. In Data Center 1, OIT implemented an “island of improvement” to allow optimization of a small portion of the room to gain efficiencies from virtualization and higher rack densities. The cooling doors project implemented in Data Center 2 also allows higher rack density by providing focused cooling capability at the rack level. To facilitate further growth, OIT will need to undertake projects to add additional capacity.
- File Services Project – This project will provide campus users networked file space that can be accessed from any computer without the need for specialized software. Provisioning for the initial set of administrative customers will be completed at the beginning of the third quarter of this year, with a general rollout to follow.
- PeopleSoft Upgrade to 9.x – The upgrades for Financials and HR to version 9.1 are in progress as is the SIS 9.0 upgrade. All upgrades will provide improved user interfaces and vendor support for changes to regulations in addition to other enhanced system functionalities. Target implementation date for Financials 9.1 is April 2012 and HR 9.1/SIS 9.0 is October 2012. In addition, Asset Management will be implemented within the Financials 9.1 system as part of the Financials 9.1 project and an upgrade for the Tools version of the Portal is planned for October 2011 along with the integration of Shibboleth with the Portal.
Special Program Reviews, Studies and Plans
- New Payment Card Merchant Services Regulation – Outlined procedures for campus entities to obtain and manage merchant accounts and to ensure compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).
- Email and Records Retention Regulation – Updated to include computer systems backup.
- 2010 OIT Risk Summary Report – Identified risks with associated mitigation strategies for a more secure, robust, efficient and effective central IT environment.
- Financial Audit – Coordinated successful closeout of the Information Systems portion of the 2010-11 State Auditors Financial Audit; there were no findings.
Other major achievements and milestones
Making NC State “business as usual” better – Addressing IT Challenges and Opportunities
- Student Information System (SIS) – New Academic Advising provides real-time integration between the degree audit and student registration systems. The implementation of the new Financial Aid module will allow the decommission of PowerFAIDs in early 2012 for an annual costs savings of $30,000.
- Active Directory – Windows and Novell server and management infrastructure is being transitioned to the campus Active Directory. This improves efficiency, enhances security, and will reduce costs. Completion is anticipated by June 30, 2012.
- SCCM – OIT is collaborating with other campus units to provide a desktop management and inventory system to thousands of NC State's computers by deploying Microsoft's System Center Configuration Manager. Completion of the first phase, which includes a comprehensive hardware and software inventory, is expected in the third quarter of 2011.
- Mainframe Decommissioning – Migrated all mainframe-based legacy Financial Aid processing to the UNC-CH mainframe to facilitate the decommissioning of the university’s 25-year-old mainframe, resulting in annual savings of $500,000 in maintenance costs.
- HR Benefits Upgrades – Integrated the Human Resources System with benefits vendors to provide paperless benefits enrollment and eligibility verification for employees.
- Imaging Systems – Completed conversion from current Imaging Systems (DocBox and Documentum) to Singularity for an annual costs savings of $20,000.
- SAS Implementation – Development of a pilot data mart is underway for an annual cost savings of $60,000, and conversion to the SAS ETL (extraction, translation, load) tool from Informatica is almost complete. The ETL tool will facilitate importing and exporting data between databases at a cost savings of approximately $50,000 annually.
- AudioVisual Purchasing – Assisted with the creation and maintenance of the audio video convenience purchasing contract, which allows all university departments to streamline the AV purchasing process while providing competitive pricing.
- Software Licenses/Maintenance – Consolidated or terminated with savings of $366,500.
- Apple iTunes App Store Volume Purchasing Program – Implemented to allow campus the ability to purchase, create and distribute apps for iPhone devices.
- Combined Pricing Initiative (CPI) – Implemented the UNC Combined Pricing Initiative in partnership with Purchasing and college IT staff, reducing computer prices and total cost of ownership through standardization.
Upgrading university’s ICT infrastructure
- World IPv6 Day – NC State participated in World IPv6 Day on June 8, 2011. IPv6 is the latest Internet Protocol that is expected to resolve a shortage of IP addresses for the foreseeable future. NC State will move to the IPv6 standard over the next several years.
- Wired Outlets and Ports – Wired outlets grew from approximately 34,000 to over 36,000. Available wired network ports grew from approximately 63,000 to almost 67,000.
- CAT6a Wiring – Rapidly finalizing new CAT6a wiring standard known as UWS3.0 with support for 10Gb/s to the desktop.
- IPTV Pilot – Continues in preparation for migration from legacy cable television for students. Students subscribing to campus cable TV will have access to additional channels from their computers.
- Activesync Mobile Service – Implemented to synchronize GroupWise email and calendar. As of May 2011, there were 685 users.
- GroupWise – Added nine post offices to the GroupWise email environment to handle the continued growth of both customer base and mailbox growth.
- Data Center Network – Developed new data center network architecture capable of 40Gb/s throughput with implementation underway.
- “NCSU-MAX” SSID – Added for enhanced instructional use of wireless networks.
- BlueCat – Purchased as an IP Address Management (IPAM) replacement product for QIP.
Responding to security risks and enhancing ICT access management
- HEOA Compliance – Implemented Red Lambda as the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) compliant solution for automatically handling wireless network copyright infringement notifications.
- Copyright Infringement Notifications – Increased to an average of 211 per month (up from 148) with a peak month of 413. Nomad wireless notifications doubled; the new average is 135 per month.
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards – Annual volume of PCI DSS payment card transactions approaches one million, resulting in higher audit category for compliance. PCI DSS monthly compliance monitoring for credit card merchant accounts also increased from 175 to 216.
- Public Record, Litigation Hold and eDiscovery Requests – Increased from 15 to more than 18.
- Security Computer Misuse Incident Investigations – Averaged 59 per month (up from 51). The highest number of incidents handled in a month increased from 71 to 87.
- Security Incidents Reviews/Exercises – Assisted with approximately 20 incident reviews and resiliency tests/exercises to improve internal operational efficiencies and the ability to streamline processes to campus.
- Emergency Preparedness Roadshows – In collaboration with the NC State Business Continuity department, communicated restoration time frames for the central IT environment via the “Emergency Preparedness Roadshows.”
- Splunk – Implemented a central log collection and management tool that analyzes collected data from applications and troubleshoots problems and security incidents with applications.
- High Performance Computing (HPC) facilities use – Students and researchers from 26 departments in six colleges used HPC services during this fiscal year. More than 12.5 million processor hours (a 25% increase) were used by 117 projects and 435 users.
- HPC Cost Savings – The 12.5 million processor hours of HPC cycles would have cost $4.25 million from an external service, compared to the approximately $700,000 annual base funding for OIT HPC services.
- OIT HPC Cluster – Added Graphic Processor nodes to the OIT HPC cluster to advance scientific computation.
- Shared Research – Participated with UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University on project funded by TUCASI to develop methods to share research data between institutions. This work also allowed a prompt response to the National Science Foundation data management plan requirement.
- SAS – Successful setup of SAS Business Intelligence software suite cluster.
- NetApp 2040 filer – Replaced older NetApp units at MCNC, providing greater use of hypervisors.
- VCL Hardware Refresh – Acquired newer model blades with higher memory that can run more VMs per blade, reducing overall hardware at MCNC.
- Apache Software Foundation – Donated two Apache VCL releases - VCL 2.2 in September 2010 and VCL 2.2.1 in April 2011 to the Apache Software Foundation. VCL 2.3 will be released this summer.
Improving technology support
- NC State Help Desk – Adding a Call Center group, staffed primarily with students, to handle calls for the Help Desk service and escalate unresolved calls directly to the Support Center for additional support.
- The OIT Walk-in Center – Continuing to see steady growth in the number of students seeking help with a 15% increase in help requests this fiscal year.
- KBox – Installed a desktop management and inventory tool for Windows workstations, and now maintaining that service for use by the NCSU Libraries. KBox is used in OIT labs, classrooms and with workstations as the managed desktop environment is transitioned to a Windows 7/Active Directory environment.
- Casper Suite – Purchased in partnership with many units on campus to more effectively manage the university’s growing number of Apple devices.
- Mediasite – Started the process of rolling out Mediasite, a classroom capture solution that is being offered in partnership with DELTA. OIT and DELTA started a pilot with five classrooms and will deploy an additional 40 recorders over summer 2011.
- ClassTech – Added 26 rooms to the ClassTech inventory, now totaling 140 supported rooms. In addition to the new “110” classrooms, ClassTech provided audio-visual consultation services for an additional 79 campus projects.
Fostering collaboration, community and learning with ICT
- Computer Security Day 2010 – Annual initiative held to increase security awareness on campus; included five one-hour Lunch and Learn presentations on Main and Centennial Campus during National Security Awareness Month (October 2010).
- UNC CAUSE 2010 – Led partnership with four universities to co-host this year’s highly successful conference in Wilmington. UNC CAUSE promotes and facilities cooperation, information exchange and technology leverage between the 16 campuses of the UNC System in all areas related to information technology.
- VCL Use - Provided support for multiple research projects/papers within the College of Engineering and provided support for Computer Science cloud computing class. Granted 55 students the ability to create environments, with the students generating more than 450 different VCL image revisions, based on different cloud computing technologies.
- Free Training and Workshops – OIT Lunch and Learn series offered 14 informal sessions to staff and faculty on various technology-related topics; free hands-on training offered on 36 software and technical topics throughout the year.
- Student and Employee Orientation – Conducted 17 presentations and 19 Info Fair sessions as well as produced the Computing@ NC State newsletter for students and their parents during the 2010 New Student Orientation to educate students about ICT resources and acceptable use. Conducted 23 presentations for new employee orientation.
- iTunes U at NC State – Migrating existing “public content” to the new Apple iTunes U site manager. The old iTunes site is now dedicated to “private” content and requires NCSU authentication. NC State has been partnering with Apple for almost four years to publish an increasing variety of video and audio content.
- OIT News – Published monthly e-newsletter for staff and faculty. Posted regularly online and on OIT Twitter with more than 1,510 Tweets for @ncsu_oit.
- Wolfpack Sports TV – In a continuing partnership with Campus Recreation and Athletics, rechristened WolfBytes Sports as Wolfpack Sports TV. The cable TV channel sports a new Web site that highlights Wolfpack Sports video coverage and allows intramural and club sports teams to add information about their games, tournaments, etc.
- Web Design and Content – Streamlined the posting of informative content to the OIT home page and other OIT websites. Web redesign services provided for more than a dozen units across campus.
- Optical Mark Reading (OMR) – Processed approximately 200K test/quiz sheets.
- Software - Provided 9,311 downloads (up from 8,600 last year) of major software titles to students, faculty and staff.
In January 2011, OIT hired a new IT accessibility expert to support the university's commitment to equitable access to opportunities for students, faculty and staff with disabilities. The University IT Accessibility Services coordinator works in partnership with accessibility experts and colleagues at NC State and other institutions to educate Web developers, content providers, faculty and others on best practices and proactive solutions to ensure the accessibility of the university’s IT resources.
OIT also supports the university's commitment to create a diverse and inclusive campus community in terms of gender, disability, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity. Currently, of OIT's 260 staff about 32% (84) are female and 68% (176) are male, and approximately 79% (205) identify themselves as White, 12% (31) as African American, 6% (16) as Asian, 2% (6) as Hispanic, and 1% (2) as American Indian.
- Dr. Eric Sills was named director of Shared Services, and Greg Kraus was hired as the new university IT accessibility coordinator.
- Gwen Hazlehurst, Ron Jailall and Katrina Robeck received the 2011 Office of Information Technology/University Awards for Excellence. Also nominated were Sherwood Bryan, Adam Hobgood, Jason Myatt, Kevin Swann and Patrick Williams.
- 2010-11 Pride of the WolfPack Award winners included: Twanda Baker, Charles Brabec, Matt Domnick, Derek Engi, Brian Fontaine, Todd Gunderson, Terri Riley, Andrew Snedeker and David Van Emden.
- 2010-11 T.O.A.S.T. award recipients included Twanda Baker, Will Brocklesby, TJ Buffaloe, Debbie Carraway, Cheryl Cleveland, Marc Cloutier, Derek Engi, John Garrett, Alvin Gilmore, Rolf Grandstaff, Rhonda Greene, Kelly Harrelson, Carol Hill, Greg James, Kristina Kelly, Mohan Kodali, Andy Kurth, David Ladrie, David Mai, Kathy Mayr, James Nesbitt, Trish Palmer, Laverne Petit-frere, Jason Proctor, Ken Rich, Charles Walker, Joe Wells and Nick Young.
- Computing@ newsletter won the SIGUCCS Communications Award “best in category” for printed newsletter. Chris Donald was the publication’s designer and Charles Walker served as editor.
- Garrison Locke and Jason Austin were featured in The News & Observer's article, "New software helps users find local breweries.”
- All OIT managers participated in monthly Power Hour management skills training led by Tina Bennefield of Human Resources.
- Rick Brown is serving as president-elect for the Association of Higher Education Cable TelevisionAdministrators and is co-chairing the 2010 national conference.
- Marc Cloutier is serving on the BICSI NxtGEN Curriculum Process Development Subcommittee as well as the BICSI Ethics Committee.Jack Foster, Therese Burkhart and Yessy Mendoza-Tate presented at the 2011 Oracle Alliance (Higher Education User Group) Conference.
- Tim Gurganus received the SANS IT forensics certification.
- Dr. Gary Howell served as vice-chair for the High Performance Computing (HPC) 2011 Conference held April 3-7.
- Marc Kuh passed the ITIL Version 3 exam.
- Greg Kraus presented "Tools for Assessing Web Site Accessibility" at the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Fair at NC State in February 2011; “Designing Accessible Course Content” for North Carolina A&T University in April 2011; and "Creating an Accessible IT Culture on Your Campus" at the EDUCAUSE Southeast Regional Conference in June 2011.
- John Martin and Stan North Martin served as faculty/staff advisers for the 2011 Alternative Service Break program, a service-learning experience in which students and faculty advisers engage in direct service to a community.
- Neal McCorkle and Darren Farris served on the Institutional Review Board (IRB), a federally regulated committee, to help evaluate technical security and privacy issues in research involving human subjects.
- Yessy Mendoza-Tate continues to serve as a member of the Oracle General Ledger Product Advisory Group.
- Jack Neely coordinated the university’s third annual Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Fair in February 2011.
- Sarah Noell chaired UNC CAUSE 2010 held Nov. 8-10 in Wilmington. Jason Austin and Jen Riehle also chaired the program and publication sub-committees with major involvement from all of OCC staff.
- Dr. Eric Sills served as Exhibits Committee Chair for the SC10 conference in November 2010.
- Greg Sparks is completing the second year of a two-year appointment as chair of the UNC NetStudy working group.
- Bryan Stines presented at the annual SAS International Business Intelligence conference.
- Dan Tucker received the Certified Technology Specialist certification.
- Brennan Watson passed the Certified Technology Specialist – Design certification exam.
Improving work conditions of staff
OIT administered an employee satisfaction survey to assist in helping managers at all levels to identify more specific changes they may need to make to enhance the success of their team, unit and organization. The survey was one of the key initiatives of a draft plan that CIO Dr. Marc Hoit and the OIT Directors developed to address the top employee concerns raised as part of the March 2011 Town Hall meeting and manager's Power Hour closeout session. The survey also included several questions about overall satisfaction, OIT communications and the work of the Employee Relations team.
Enhance the success of our students through educational innovation
- Deployed last fall Google Apps Education Edition as the university’s official student email services, resulting in increased email storage and access to a suite of popular Google Apps collaboration tools. In addition to Gmail, students can access Google Docs, Calendar, Sites and Talk from their @ncsu.edu address.
- Coordinates the IT Student Advisory Group, a forum for students of all affiliations to share their thoughts and ideas about the way technology is implemented at NC State.
- Worked with the following vendors to ensure their products and the university’s deployment of them are more accessible: Oracle (PeopleSoft); Google Apps for Education; Blackboard (Elluminate); Sonic Foundry (Mediasite); and EQUELLA (digital assets management system).
- Worked with the IT Accessibility Advisory Working Group (ITAAWG), a subcommittee that reports to the University IT Committee, to set direction for campus accessibility efforts.
Enhance scholarship and research by investing in faculty infrastructure
- Partnered with Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering to provide monitoring capabilities essential to research.
Enhance organizational excellence by creating a culture of constant improvement
- Began IPv6 testing, participated in World IPv6 day, and received initial approval from ARIN for permanent IPv6 address space.
- Provided tools and training to campus Web developers for creating and evaluating websites for accessibility for the upcoming changes in federal requirements.
Enhance local and global engagement through focused strategic partnerships
- Partnered with the Contemporary Art Foundation in support of College of Design’s efforts with the Contemporary Art Museum (CAM).
- Assisted California State University at Fullerton in the setup of the VCL; worked with and guided IBM interns to develop provisioning modules for IBM cloud; and remains active in Apache VCL community mailing list.
- Participated in the AccessComputing initiative, a federally funded national research project to develop new and creative ways to assist people with disabilities to transfer into college and into the workforce. Coordinates a new Accessibility Interest Group through the Access Technology Higher Education Network (ATHEN) to address the accessibility of Google Apps. This partnership involves IT Accessibility experts from many higher education institutions across the country.
- Coordinated a new Accessibility Interest Group through the Access Technology Higher Education Network (ATHEN) to address the accessibility of Google Apps. This partnership involves IT Accessibility experts from many higher education institutions across the country.