Cox Infrastructure Project Update

As part of the IT Initiative and overall vision for IT Shared Services, several operational services will be unified within the existing University services. This will allow the local Academic Leads to focus on IT vision, strategy and best practices in partnership with the Dean and their faculty. The following Cox services are designated for unification: networking and security appliances, wireless, VPN, and Active Directory.

Network maintenance has been underway for several weeks upgrading the various network switches and Wireless Access Points throughout the buildings. The team has also reviewed many of the servers hosted in Cox to determine the migration strategy.  Several services were decommissioned as they were no longer in use.  We have also completed the testing phase of migrating the Cox workstations to the SMU domain.

We are now ready to begin the migration of the Cox computers to the SMU domain.  This will allow Cox faculty and staff to login to their workstations using the SMU ID and password thus eliminating the extra set of credentials.  Each individual will be notified of the date of their scheduled migration.  Cox faculty and staff should NOT attempt to login with their ID prior to the migration date. 

Additional instructions will be provided with the migration schedule.  For more details on the Cox infrastructure project, visit http://www.smu.edu/OIT/Projects/CoxInfrastructure.

 

 

Shared Services Update

It’s been eight weeks since the announcement was made regarding IT Shared Services.  Since that announcement, IT has been working diligently to transition and establish the road map to meet the critical objectives of this new service model. OIT has identified the following critical milestones for IT:

  • Integrate the infrastructure for Cox, Lyle and Law
  • Unify the ticketing system for tracking and managing customer requests across all IT groups
  • Establish the two governance councils
  • Design and implement a distributed desktop support and classroom support framework
  • Implement an e-forms tool to help further expedite processes across campus
  • Establish an ERP Steering Committee and begin streamlining the ERP processes
  • Complete the transition of individuals into the new Academic Technology roles

The timeline for each of these items can be viewed on our website.

On September 28, we completed the unification of the ticketing system.  Requests are now entered into the same application and can easily be transferred to the appropriate support personnel.  We will work on several changes to the customer request portal (help.smu.edu) to provide a more robust support experience including live chat with the Help Desk staff, and access to the knowledge base to help resolve issues quickly.  Stay tuned for more information on these upcoming changes!

During the month of October, the IT Leadership team will meet with the various Deans, VPs, and leaders throughout campus to share the vision for Academic and embedded support.  In addition, several Open House meetings will be announced where faculty and staff can visit with the IT Leadership team and learn about the vision and plans. Please join us if you are able!

 

Classroom Support Enhancements

In addition to upgrading the technology equipment in several classrooms, we are also working on a few new processes to provide quicker response to classroom calls as well as keep faculty informed of maintenance issues in their classrooms.

Emergency Response:

  • We currently have 4 full time staff on the AV/Event Support team.  These individuals are currently serving as first responders to classroom calls.  They also have a team of student workers and the OIT Desktop Support team to assist as backup.
  • As we implement the shared services model in IT, there will be embedded desktop support technicians throughout campus.  These individuals will be responsible for providing quick classroom response due to their location.  They will continue to be dispatched from the Help Desk, but can provide a quicker response time as they will be in near proximity of the classrooms in their area.

Classroom Maintenance

  • When classroom technology fails and requires maintenance, the AV team will first attempt to install temporary equipment in the room that day to be used until the room is unoccupied for maintenance to occur.  Carts are being compiled with the necessary equipment and will be stored in various buildings on campus.
  • The AV team is implementing a notification process to alert any faculty that are teaching in an impacted classroom of the technology issue and if temporary equipment is available.  The faculty will be notified via email throughout the fulfillment of the maintenance activities.
  • A webpage has been built which will automatically display a list of any classrooms that are currently under maintenance as well as a status of these rooms. The information is available at www.smu.edu/BusinessFinance/OIT/classroommaintenance
  • We are also in the process of implementing new management tools to provide reporting, health checks and possibly even remote capabilities for the classroom equipment.  As these tools are implemented, many issues can be prevented or resolved quickly without dispatching a technician.

Finally, we realized that our instruction sheets in the classroom were not updated following the upgrade of equipment in several rooms.  We are working on new instructions and will ensure that these are accurate and available in all classrooms quickly.

We will continue to look for opportunities to improve our classroom response service as it is a critical component for instruction!

A Sneak Peek at New Technology Services

OIT Technology NewsThere are several exciting new services that will be available to the SMU Community during this Academic Year.  The following are a few projects that are underway to deliver new technology to the campus community.  Each of these will be highlighted in various blog posts and newsletters over the next several months.

Box (File Storage replacement for Locker)

BoxLocker.SMU and Bstore.SMU will be replaced by a popular file storage solution, Box.  Box was selected for the replacement service as it will offer unlimited storage for all faculty, staff and students in addition to providing a robust and more user-friendly interface!  Box is a cloud-based system that allows you to store documents online so you can access, manage and share them from anywhere (including your mobile devices).  This project has just launched, so a timeline will be provided in a future update.

Canvas:  New Learning Management Tool

CanvasAs announced by the Provost, Blackboard will be replaced by Canvas for the next academic year.  OIT is working closely with the Center for Teaching Excellence and the Office of Assessment and Accreditation to coordinate the transition to Canvas.  Many faculty have begun using Canvas this semester as a pilot group.  All faculty will have the option to transition to this new platform for the Spring semester.  Blackboard will be decommissioned in June of 2016. Workshops, migration options and other resources will be made available throughout the semester to ensure a smooth transition to Canvas.

LyndaCampus: Online Training for the SMU Campus

LyndaLynda.com offers over 2,000 self-paced training classes on a variety of applications.  Click here for more details about this service.

Duo (Two Factor Authentication)

Duo provides two-factor authentication before accessing various applications or content. This requires both your SMU credentials and a quick verification process that can be completed with the click of a button on a mobile device.   OIT is currently reviewing the list of applications to select the appropriate ones to integrate with this extra security component.  Our intention is to protect the most sensitive information first, such as direct deposit information and other financial information.

Unified Messaging (New Voicemail for On Campus Phones)

Unified MessagingWe are currently in the pilot phase of the new voicemail replacement project.  During the summer, we migrated approximately 75 accounts to the new system.  We will begin the campus wide implementation during the month of October.  This new service will deliver voicemail messages straight to your email mailbox.  A speech-to-text transcription will be included in the email message along with the actual audio file.  In addition, users can call into the voicemail system to retrieve messages as well as access email, calendar appointments and more.  If an individual calls your number but does not leave a message, a missed call notification will be delivered to your email as well.  All of these features (and more) can be controlled from the options menu within webmail.smu.edu.

Power BI (Business Intelligence Application)

Power BiThe Power BI service was recently enabled via Office 365 for faculty,staff and students. This online service enables you to find and visualize data through dashboards, shared reports and more.  To activate Power BI, you must login to office.smu.edu with your @smu.edu username and account password.  Select the Power BI icon to begin the activation process.

We look forward to bringing these new solutions to the SMU Community during the upcoming academic year.