Minutes - October 2013

October 8, 2013

Members present: Allen Szalda-Petree, Mariah Williams, Matt Riley, Manu Saumuela, Roger Maclean, Jesse Neidigh, Judy Fredenberg, Tony Jablonkski, Art Held, Mark Grimes, Loey Knapp, Mark Pershouse, Erika Noble, John Greer

Members excused: Aaron Heiner, Eric Reimer, Sandi Nelson

Members absent: Jennifer Sauer

Ex-officio members and staff present: Barb Seekins, David DeVolve for Joe Hickman, Gordy Pace

Call to order

Matt Riley called the meeting to order at 3:32


Mariah Williams moved that minutes from the September 10th meeting be approved. Roger Maclean seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously

UM minute – IT focus

Mariah Williams reported that ASUM getting a new website for first time in 7-8 years. The site will be on Cascade content management system using the new UM templates

Jesse Neidigh reported that Student Affairs IT is almost done building web application for VA assistance that ties in with Banner, . . . Phase 1 is done.

Art Held reported that the UM Foundation just adopted new analytics tool called Logi Analytics. He said it is much better than Crystal and costs about ¼ as much.

Reports of standing committees and Tech Partners

Communication committee

Chair Roger Maclean reported that the committee met the previous week and went back through IT operational plan to look at what has been achieved and celebrate those things, and then look at what is in process and the ranking and priorities of that; and finally, what are the other things that need to be done or need to be add to the plan for FY14. The committee looked at all of the goals from the strategic plan and identified what the group felt were the priority goals were for this year, and also identified the priority action items. The group is bringing this to the IT Senate as a recommendation, but want to engage in discussion.

Architecture and Infrastructure committee

Chair Tony Jablonski reported that the committee met Oct. 7. The primary agenda item was issues raised in Tech partners around wireless. The committee determined that they needed to do a better investigation into finding what the complaints are and then looking to see if current wi-fi plans fits with all of the expectations of various campus constituencies. A big chunk of the process is information gathering. The committee will then make a recommendation about how funding might be allocated differently to address specific pain points. The committee is scheduled to meet again in two weeks.

Enterprise Applications committee

This committee was just formed at the previous IT Senate meeting. Chair John Greer reported that there was nothing to report yet.

Tech Partners

Antony Jo reported that wi-fi authentication issue took priority at last meeting. Matt asked if Tech Partners is represented on the infrastructure committee. Tony confirmed that there is representation - Eric Tangedahl and Robert Logan for example -- as well as Antony. Antony also reported that there isn't good reporting and sharing of information across help desks on campus. Erika Noble said that the students in IT Central just met on that and will start pushing out information to STAP students via a blog. Antony started a group to try to address the issue. The group includes Lorrie DeYott, Joe Allred, Robert Logan and Jay Bruns. Finally, the Tech Partners board is rotating in January. An announcement will be made to Tech Partners soon. Matt Riley suggested that at future meetings, IT Senate should look at incentives for creating better communication among campus help groups.

FY14 IT operational plan discussion

Matt Riley thanked the communications committee for the work done on the draft plan. We’re still working with strategic issues from IT strategic plan. He presented the UM IT strategic issues next to the UM 2020 strategic plan and pointed out that we want to think about how we relate IT issues and progress with UM 2020 plan. We may also have some impact from decisions coming from budget and planning committees around resource allocation and cost savings.

The communicati0ns committee has gone through and considered goals and activities and highlighted goals we think should be higher priorities. Today, want to focus on goals side, and then we can go back and see if we have time to look at activities side.

1.  IT infrastructure 
in support of University strategic goals

Goals and discussion

  • Building a data center: the state has assigned a project manager. It will likely be a midsummer commissioning of new space. That’s adjusted back because of length of time to get state project manager. All of the most important computing that needs to be up 24x7 will go there. 25 percent of the space can be used for other things, i.e. high performance research computing and data storage. This is a high priority project this year.
  • Core network infrastructure - wireless connectivity is key activity here. The other things have been addressed to some degree, although we’ll be able to show some progress in other core network areas.
  • Downgraded priority of security environment – Loey pointed out that the goal refers to a particular system that is very expensive.
  • Investigate cloud computing - this process is happening at all times - not necessary to prioritize it as a goal.
  • Meet ADA standards - This has to be a high priority. There are several actions happening already behind this goal. There is a group presenting at Educause, and there is a draft policy that Lucy France has been working on. Matt suggested that we needed to raise understanding in IT Senate around this issue.
  • Provide identity management services - already some things happening. Lacking a strategy for this that aligns a cloud-based strategy with a campus strategy. We don’t know what we can to technically. Working on technical plan.

2. IT enterprise: structure, governance & funding

Goals and discussion

  • Matt reported that what we're working through IT Senate governance comes first before organization. We may be able to meet organizational goals if we get the governance right. 
  • Funding model – Matt pointed out that the central IT funding model is changing behind the whole resource allocation model for the University. How does this affect the rest of campus IT? We don’t know what that is right now. It either provides a model for others, or simply provides something transparent for them to see. What we want is to have that central IT funding model available for all to see.
  • IT policies – We may not need to prioritize them here because there is already a cabinet level activity around policy that is inclusive of IT policies.

3.  IT for teaching, learning and research

Goals and discussion

  • The first goal under this issue related to working with academic affairs and research to develop a vision for computing in their areas. There was a question from the communications committee as to whether this was a priority goal. Loey Knapp suggested that this is a huge issue and wondered how can we not address this. It’s a recruitment and a retention issue. Matt suggested that we might be mixing things that don't mix. There’s been clear progress in research computing area that is unique and separate. Maybe should be broken into two goals. The last activity under this goal—collaborate with academic affairs to assist in retention and advising efforts—is critical.

John Greer suggested that Academic Affairs and Research should set their own vision. Judy Fredenberg argued that research and academics are very intertwined. We always trying to fix a problem rather than looking at this strategically from a broader perspective. Worry that our strategic emphasis has been made without all the players at the table. Matt said he thinks it does make sense for the Senate to have a vision for the research community around what resources are available. That vision may not be appropriate to academic affairs.  He asked if there were any objections to take a stab at rewriting this goal and prioritizing it. The activities are succinct, but the goal doesn’t make sense. 

  • Involving sector expertise - already done a lot of this.

4.  IT for institutional admin, decision making and innovation

Goals and discussion

  • Align enterprise computing systems with University and MUS strategic goals and policies.  Matt suggested that we need to rework the activities side
of this goal.
  • Implement IT service delivery processes to achieve broad understanding of IT responsibilities and service levels while maximizing the customer service experience. There were questions about what service level agreements are and what ITIL is. Jesse Neidigh explained that an SLA is like a contract of shared expectations. The ideas is to bring some consistency to service delivery across campus. Matt concurred that it is about consistency and what are the agreed norms for IT. He suggested that maybe the goals and activities need to be communicated more clearly. Maybe bury “ITIL” and focus on the concept. Jesse suggested that anyone who wanted to draft new activities or edit existing activities for this goal do so and send it to the communications committee.
  • Align electronic business processes to maximize investments in enterprise level software and human resource capital. Matt suggested that we would get some definition for this goal from other committees formed around the University budget. Loey pointed out that workflow is a generic thing that is used in many applications, but we’re building it into specific applications. We don’t have a strategic approach to workflow management and we’re not using the tools we bought from Ellucian (Banner). Matt said we are bringing in Ellucian to do an assessment process with UM.
  • Establish a multi-campus approach to computing systems to ensure strategic alignment and to provide bulk purchasing opportunities. Matt pointed out that we want to make a priority out of consolidating licensing across UM affiliate campuses.

5. IT to enhance the student experience

Goals and discussion

  • Assess current technology offerings to students, identify gaps in technology offerings on campus. Study and predict the expectations of future students and cutting edge technologies. Matt said this is a goal we want to focus on for many reasons. We started the process last spring with the student survey. Jesse pointed out that the survey wasn’t a gap analysis, but instead an exercise to have students help the IT Senate prioritize strategic initiatives.
  • Guided by the results of this research, UM will take steps, such as allocating funds and prioritizing projects, to meet the expectations and ensure accessibility to all students. The transparency of this process is critical to its success. Matt pointed out that it wasn’t one of the priority goals, but perhaps it should be. It wasn’t that this goal isn’t a high priority, but rather, could we get to it this year? John Greer said that it’s tough to have the word “accessibility” in the goal and not make it a priority. Since it doesn’t mean disability accessibility in this context, it was suggested to change the word to “availability.”

Matt invited people to share any additional opinions on the operational plan between meetings. We will bring the draft plan back to the next meeting and see if the group is prepared to formalize it as our operational plan.

Meeting adjourned at 5:04

Minutes submitted by Gordy Pace