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IT Strategic Plan 2012-2020

IT maps

A strategic plan looks forward to new goals and strategies, but it is helpful to understand the current situation before planning the future. The ‘IT maps’ are a reflection of the current state of IT on the UM campus, broken down by service layer. A model for the breakdown of service layers within IT is shown in the figure below. This excerpt from the University of Wisconsin/Cornell University model shows the percentage of each service layer that is typically managed centrally, in a shared governance structure between central and distributed IT, and in a totally distributed manner. The primary use for this model was to determine the service layers that would be mapped by the strategic planning committee.

IT service layer model

Service layer modelModel developed by University of Wisconsin and Cornell University

Not all of the layers have been mapped at the time of this report but it is expected that this activity will continue over time in order to understand the full IT commitment on campus. The layers that have been addressed are:

The IT strategic planning committee worked with the campus sectors to identify their IT resources by service layer.  All of the information collected was self-reported by the sector and may be underreported if organizations were not asked or did not respond to the committee’s survey.

The abbreviations in the IT Maps refer to the following sectors:

  • AA - Academic Affairs
  • A&F - Administration and Finance
  • SA - Student Affairs
  • R&D - Research and Development
  • IT - Central Information Technology organization

IT personnel bar chartDistribution of enterprise IT employees

IT personnel pie chartPercentage distribution of IT employees

IT personnel

Definition: IT personnel are those that are in some significant way associated with IT operations.

UM enterprise IT follows a distributed model with 50 percent of IT personnel reporting to central IT. Academic Affairs has the next highest percentage of IT staff with 26 percent and the highest percentage of student IT workers. The Academic Affairs staff include those who are associated with research computing activities as the Research and Development office only pertains to the Office for Research and Sponsored Programs.

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Campus network
Campus wired network

Campus wireless
Wireless coverage 



The campus network is funded and managed entirely by central IT. The figure below shows the status of the campus building upgrade project, a project that has been underway for a number of years. The intent is to provide a minimum of 100mb to the desktop in all campus buildings. 


Central IT also manages the wireless network and access on campus. The funding model for wireless, however, is distributed. In the last year buildings that were upgraded were also equipped with wireless coverage, funded by the building upgrade project. School/college or organizational requests for wireless are currently funded by the requesting party.

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Data centers mapDistribution of data centers on Mountain and College of Technology East campuses

Data Centers

Definition: a room or facility dedicated to servers.

The figure below shows the distribution of the twenty-three data centers on campus. The two largest facilities are managed by central IT and are located in the basements of the Social Science and Liberal Arts buildings. 

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Servers bar chartDistribution of servers by sector

Servers pie chartPercentage of servers by sector


The number of data centers does not clearly reflect the level of computing associated with each sector. The server count shown below indicates that Academic Affairs manages 45 percent of the servers but sixteen separate data centers versus central IT which manages 41 percent of the servers in three data centers. The size of the distributed data centers are therefore much smaller, and in some cases no larger than a big closet.

Servers for research computing are included in the Academic Affairs count as the Research servers are for the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

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Enterprise applicationsEnterprise application systems by sector

Enterprise Applications

Definition: software that is cross-departmental, large in scale, and vital to the operations of the university or of a smaller scale but tied to UM’s ERP, Banner.

Enterprise applications are purchased and managed by all sectors on campus as shown in the figure on the left. The most far-reaching system is Banner with its human resources, financial, and student data. Banner is managed by central IT and overseen by a campus-wide advisory group, ModSquad. IT also manages the campus directories which provide authentication and authorization services for nearly all applications. Besides the systems shown in the figure, there are numerous sector-specific applications.

There are three MIcrosoft Exchange systems on campus, one run by central IT with the majority of the users, and two run by Academic Affairs personnel in the School of Business Administration and the College of Forestry and Conservation. A wide variety of email clients are used on campus with Outlook being the most prevalent.

Central IT has implemented the Central Authentication Server (CAS) software for single sign-on. At this time the majority of the systems used by students are accessed through CAS including CyberBear (self-service interface to Banner), Moodle, UMConnect (Live@Edu), Academic Planner, wireless, electronic library resources, and others. Employee systems are partially accessed through CAS and efforts are underway to ‘casify’ more systems where appropriate.

Off-the-shelf application software which is used by most sectors, such as Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office Suite, SPSS, ESRI GIS software, and others are purchased and managed in different ways. Adobe products are purchased on an individual departmental basis, Central IT purchases and distribute MS products, SPSS is managed by the College of Arts and Sciences, and ESRI products are purchased and distributed by the College of Forestry and Conservation.

At this time there is no acquisition oversight by either central IT or a campus governance group. 

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Computer labsNumber and distribution of computer labs by sector

Computer Labs

Definition: a room with computers dedicated to academic purposes

Academic Affairs manages the majority of the computer labs with a total of sixty-five labs housing 1,357 computers. The majority of the AA labs are dedicated to specific subject areas with the exception of the library computer lab which is open to all students. Central IT manages three large labs, only one of which is truly open to students at all hours. The IT lab in Liberal Arts is fully scheduled for teaching and the smaller IT labs in Fine Arts is dedicated to that department. Student Affairs manages several small labs in the various residence halls. Not included in the number below is the new computer lab at the Bitterroot College Program facility in Hamilton, currently managed by the BCP staff but supported by central IT.

A recent review of the campus computer labs was conducted by a joint employee-student committee, who published their findings in November, 2011. The committee surveyed over 1,000 students in order to understand their satisfaction with computer labs on campus as well as their concerns. The full report can be found in Appendix E, but in summary the committee reported the following:

  • The communication about computer lab services on campus is lacking or confusing
  • There is an expectation of the student user that the quality of the labs should be consistent
  • The mixed purpose labs cause confusion for users in determining availability

Overall students report a 56 percent level of satisfaction with lab hours and 40 percent level of satisfaction with software access.

What has yet to be studied is the level of support, both financial and staff, that is associated with each lab. While it is clear from the lab survey that there is inconsistency across the labs, it is less clear whether this could be addressed through more collaborative management or whether additional resources are required.

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Classroom technologyClassroom technology project status

Classroom Technology

The campus adopted a classroom technology project in 2009 to upgrade or install new, standard technology in classrooms. It is expected that all classrooms, other than those managed by non-participating schools/colleges, will be completed by 2015.

Equipment replacement is an explicit part of the funding model so the classrooms will continue to be upgraded over time. This model, which provides central funds but distributed, collaborative oversight and implementation, has been very successful. At this time 64 classrooms are equipped with the standard technology suite with two more to be completed by the end of 2012.

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Help desks
Distribution of help desks on Mountain and College of Technology East campuses

Help desks

Definition: a place that provides IT support and services.

Eight help desks have been identified on campus but the nature of these facilities has not been clearly identified. The Central IT helpdesk provides a broad range of services to students and employees while others may be limited to specific services or applications such as Moodle. Additional work is required to establish the suite of services provided by each facility.

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Desktop support

Definition: IT personnel that provide individualized services at the requester’s place of work

Desktop support has not been explicitly mapped in the sense of identifying specific resources dedicated to that activity. Central IT has recently offered a desktop support model through which any requesting party can pay for yearly desktop support. At this time, the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and the Provost’s Office are taking advantage of the new support model. Other than this small, centralized offering, desktop support is widely distributed with a wide range of support levels. It is suspected, but not documented, that many departments have little or no consistent desktop support.

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