Presentation on theme: "Information Technology Strategic Plan"— Presentation transcript:
1 Information Technology Strategic Plan UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND EASTERN SHOREInformation Technology Strategic PlanOctober 2000
2 Strategic Plan Contents Executive SummaryI. IntroductionII. Mission and Vision Statements for the Office of Information Technology and Outreach (OITO)III. Key Information Technology Issues in Higher Education: An overview of the key IT issues, trends, and challenges within most universities.IV. University Functional Areas: A description of UMES’ functional areas, their goals, and high level IT concerns.V. Instructional Computing: An assessment and recommendations regarding the University’s instructional technology capabilities, including student labs, “smart” classrooms, and other instructional IT tools.VI. Research & Outreach Computing: Assessment and recommendations regarding the systems necessary for research and outreach activities,including systems planned for the upcoming Applied IT (AIT) Center and the two UMES radio stations.VII. Administrative Computing: Assessment and recommendations regarding the UMES Administrative systems: Student Information System, the Financial Management System, and the Human Resource System.VIII. Infrastructure & Communications: Assessment and recommendations regarding essential UMES’ infrastructure and communication systems, including the campus network, , and remote access.IX. Technology Management & Support Services: Assessment and recommendations regarding management considerations, including organizational structure, customer relations, planning, policies and procedures, training, funding and support services, to guide effective and efficient UMES IT operations.Appendix 1--PwC Qualifications and RoleAppendix 2--Comparison of IT Resources at Peer Institutions: A comparison with similar four-year institutions of IT resources such as support personnel , desktop computers, and instructional technology to that existing at UMES.Appendix 3--Long-Term ERP Solution: A description of the advantages and evaluation process to implement an Enterprise Resource Planning system that will replace and integrate the core administrative computing systems.References
3 Executive Summary The Plan This strategic plan provides UMES with a high-level review of its Information Technology (IT) resources and proposes strategies to meet existing and future demands. The plan is based on factors such as UMES’ current and planned functional needs, its current IT environment, and available yet rapidly changing IT technologies. As a “living plan,” implementation of its strategies and recommendations will be monitored and modified as necessary by the UMES IT Steering Committee.Role of TechnologyTechnology is having a dramatic, long-term impact on higher education as it transforms institutions into networked computing environments.The rapid growth of the Internet and local area networks has altered the technological landscape and patterns of interaction among faculty, staff and students.Faculty members are adopting new instructional tools such as course Web pages, “courseware,” and a host of other innovative applications.To expand student populations and accommodate logistical issues, universities are also leveraging technology to offer distance education curriculums and supplementary courses.Along with the opportunities that technology provides, universities are challenged with maintaining a modern infrastructure, retaining skilled IT personnel , and effectively implementing instructional technology within budget limitations..As more users become dependent on networked systems, obtaining benefits from the applications will require greater coordination and cooperation between individuals and units.
4 Executive Summary Information Technology’s Mission and Vision The mission of the Office of Information Technology and Outreach (OITO) is to provide cost effective, state-of-the-art information technology services that meet the needs and expectations of UMES faculty, staff, students, and research/outreach customers.The vision of OITO is to be the premier provider of information technology services in Maryland’s Eastern Shore region by being customer focused, being knowledgeable about business requirements, providing uniform and integrated technical services, developing highly skilled and proficient staff, and delivering quality services.
5 Executive Summary continued Critical Success FactorsThe success of this strategic plan rests on a number of key factors identified by successful information technology planning operations in higher education and industry. These factors include:Clarifying the purpose and direction of information technology and its contribution to the university’s visionStrengthening the role of academic leadership in guiding university information technology priorities and requiring that administrators at all levels and for all functions are held accountable for monitoring and measuring the impact of technologyDeveloping structure, policies, and procedures that focus effectively on end usersBecoming increasingly strategy drivenDeveloping career and training paths for IT staff to attract and retain staff with a high degree of technical capabilitiesStrengthening mechanisms for providing faculty and staff counsel and advice for information technology planningImproving access to and coordination of instructional and research tools and methodsOptimizing benefits to be derived from administrative systems by utilizing the power of such additional tools as web portals along with the redesign of processes, policies, and organizational structure.Providing for easy access to, sharing of, and management of information among the university’s administrative systems
6 Executive Summary continued Proposed StrategiesThe summary sections that follow provide an overview of the plan’s proposed strategies for five areas: instructional computing, research and outreach computing, administrative computing, infrastructure and communications, and technology management and support services. After a brief discussion of the strategic area content, each summary section contains a list of findings, associated recommendations, and page numbers for detailed descriptions. The recommendations are grouped by level of strategic impact (high, medium, or low) on realizing the University’s IT vision. The grouping evaluation did not consider factors such as cost, ease of implementation, dependencies, or appropriate implementation order.Instructional ComputingAlthough UMES has an excellent general use PC/Student ratio, the University should increase student access to these computers during peak times and provide at least one 24/7 lab.Although currently not available to students, faculty or staff, UMES should offer periodic IT training in standard desktop software applications (e.g., MS Office)UMES’ “smart” classroom complement includes four classrooms with permanently affixed equipment along with a range of portable equipment that is not equally available to all programs. The University should develop a more coherent, strategic plan for the purchase, development, and use of instructional technology, including smart classrooms, as instrumental to its continuing resident education programs as well as to its planned distance education initiativesIf faculty are going to increase their use of instructional hardware and software for the traditional resident education program or for distance education, UMES should encourage faculty involvement by developing a faculty instructional technology fellows program and reward system, including faculty release time, financial incentives, and a participant mentoring programUMES should elevate the quality and training of student assistants for student PC labs
7 Executive Summary continued FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS (Instructional Computing):Findings1. Faculty access to “smart” classroom equipment is limited and often inconvenient2. UMES’ Instructional Technology Strategy is unclear3. Student access to general use computer equipment and internet access is inadequate at times4. No substantial IT orientation information is provided to students5. Many Library computers are oldDetail Page……… ………………….…. 41…..…...……...…......……… 41…... ……. …………….…...…….…......……… 41. …….....…… 41RecommendationsHIGH STRATEGIC IMPACT2a. Create realistic goals & plans for distance education…….…...3a. Expand hours of operation for general use computers ..……...5. Upgrade aging Library computers ………………………….....MEDIUM STRATEGIC IMPACT1a. Continue creating more “Smart” classrooms ………………….1b. Centralize portable equipment coordination and maintenance.2b. Continue efforts to develop faculty web pages using WebCT..3b. Facilitate a student computer leasing/buying program……...4. Implement campus-wide orientation programs ……………....LOW STRATEGIC IMPACT1c. Expand on IVN technology ……………………………..……..Detail Page4243
8 Executive Summary continued Research and OutreachTo support the start-up of the Applied Information Technology Center, the small research projects in the GIS lab, and the several Web projects in Cooperative Extension, UMES should:Invest in AIT personnel, including IT professionals and joint faculty appointmentsLeverage AIT and other lab grants and contracts to increase IT resourcesIncrease the University’s capability to provide in-house support for Web-related initiativesUMES should make significant IT investments and improvements in the campus’ radio station facility and the digital studio that:Protect radio station equipment and the University’s main cable systems from rain damageProvide backup for power outages or drive failures in the University’s digital studioUMES should install appropriate security measures to address the non-secured antenna yard that supports the radio station, academic program downlinks, and Comcast cable
9 Executive Summary continued FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS (Research and Outreach Computing):Findings1. A shortage of campus IT skills may impact future research opportunities2. No AIT Center equipment exists3. Faculty currently do not have Internet 2 access4. WESM infrastructure and support need improvement5. Cooperative Extension personnel typically use contractors for IT related projects6. The Digital Studio has minimal back-up protection7. The Digital Studio cannot censure phone audio8. The Antenna Yard lacks securityDetail Page…...……..47…...…...……..47………..…………………………….……………… …….…. 47...………...……………… …….…. 47...………...……………… ……...47………...……………… …….…. 47………………48RecommendationsHIGH STRATEGIC IMPACT1a. Hire several key IT professionals for the AIT Center ...……....1b. Create faculty joint appointments to the AIT Center..………..1c. Build-on IT support experience and successes ………..……..8. Restrict access to the UMES antennas…...………………..…..MEDIUM STRATEGIC IMPACT2. Leverage AIT grants/contracts to increase IT resources..….…3. Acquire full Internet 2 access …………………………………..4. Upgrade or replace the WESM facility ……….…………...…...6. Procure Digital Studio back-up power & hard drive systems...LOW STRATEGIC IMPACT5. Use UMES IT staff for Cooperative Extension projects………....7. Install an audio delay system for the Digital Studio…………Detail Page4950
10 Executive Summary continued Administrative ComputingThe new student information system, recently installed to address Y2K issues, fails to meet many of the University’s functional requirements and continues to generate numerous additions to the list of system change requests; in addition, there is relatively little integration among the University's student, financial, and HR systems. To address these issues, UMES should:Conduct a formal requirements analysis relative to SIS and develop a tactical plan for providing users with a system that addresses the University’s functional needsProactively target an integrated information system that meets UMES requirements and leverages efforts of similar USM universitiesWith insufficient staffing to support the University’s current administrative systems, UMES should consider using contractor services to supplement systems maintenance, especially for the SIS system.Because the available pool of IT professionals with MPE operating system (OS) skills is limited, UMES should conduct a cost-benefit analysis of switching to a UNIX-based OS.
11 Executive Summary continued FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS (Administrative Computing):Findings1. Key administrative systems are not integrated2. SIS functional requirements are not being met3. SIS information is not completely accurate4. SIS effectiveness may be reduced due to user screens and untrained staff5. The HP 3000E’s MPE operating system is unique at UMES6. The current number of outside phone lines for on campus students may be insufficient7. Some administrative functions still involve manual processesDetail Page………………...…….…......…….…..56…………………….………………………..56.………… ………………………..57..…......……… 57..……… ……………... 57...…...………...….…….…………..……………..……... 57RecommendationsHIGH STRATEGIC IMPACT1. Consider transitioning to a fully integrated ERP System...……2a. Conduct a formal requirements analysis relative to SIS ...……..2b. Participate in the USM ERP Project to replace the SIS..………3. Validate SIS data ……………………….………………...….…...4a. Verify that SIS users are properly trained…...….……..………....MEDIUM STRATEGIC IMPACT5. Investigate the transition to a UNIX-based admin. system.…..6. Provide sufficient outside phone lines for student calls……......LOW STRATEGIC IMPACT4b. Consider Purchasing COCO’s new user interface software…...7. Consider automating the travel and procurement processes......Detail Page5859
12 Executive Summary continued Infrastructure and CommunicationsSignificant deficiencies in UMES’s Local Area Network (LAN) include a lack of security, redundancy, and uniform server backup procedures. LAN enhancement strategies include:Implement network security, including device registrationMonitor network traffic and control bandwidth usage on a port by port basisIncorporate server and communication redundancy within the system networkImplement a central backup system with a backup management software packageTo increase the effectiveness and impact of for instructional, research and outreach, and administrative computing, UMES should:Establish one, campus-wide system for all students, faculty, and staff and institute and monitor account thresholdsDevelop both on-line and classroom orientations for new UMES faculty, staff, and students.As the power of the Internet grows and the importance of providing all students and University personnel with convenient access to its systems, UMES should combine all dial-up modem units into a centralized communications center, increase the number of dial-up modems, and get newer models with faster connection speeds. As the costs of maintaining direct dial-up connections grow, UMES should also explore alternative connectivity solutions, including Independent Service Providers (ISPs) with Virtual Private Network (VPN) if security is a consideration.
13 Executive Summary continued FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS (Infrastructure & Communications):Findings1. Adding wireless connections to the UMES LAN is cost effective and flexible2. IT staff cannot monitor and control network traffic3. Decentralized back-up processes are prone to errors4. A lack of internal security leaves UMES vulnerable to unauthorized network access5. Virus protection is not well supported in Student Labs6. Minimal redundancy exists for critical network connections7. PC rotations may provide faculty and staff with outdated equipment8. Many faculty and staff have their own desktop printers9. The UMES Print Shop cannot print in color10. Students and faculty rarely communicate together via(continued on next page)Detail Page.....….66… ………………………... 66….….………..…...…..….…...… 66……………..…………………….…...…. 66………..……...…….…......……... 66………………….…. 66…………….…..67……………..………....…...…. 67……………..…………………….….....…. 67………..……...…….…RecommendationsHIGH STRATEGIC IMPACT1. Continue expanding the campus wireless technology ….…….3a. Centralize network infrastructure & backup processes…….….4. Guard against unauthorized use of LAN ...……………..……...5. Correct all Student Lab virus issues…………………………….6. Incorporate redundancy for critical systems and connections...7. Closely monitor the age & capabilities of desktop equipment..10. Enable effective usage among faculty and students ….13a. Centralize the modem pools……………………...…………...…MEDIUM STRATEGIC IMPACT2. Monitor Network Traffic ………………………………...……..8. Transition towards network printers ………...……………..…...12. Consider an early upgrade of the utility manholes.………..…...LOW STRATEGIC IMPACT3b. Consider purchasing new backup management software ..…...9. Consider adding color printing capabilities at the Print Shop ..(continued on next page)Detail Page68697071
14 Executive Summary continued FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS (Infrastructure & Communications) continued:Findings11. accounts have no memory restrictions12. UMES utility manholes do not adequately protect University wiring13. Modem pools are decentralized and insufficientDetail Page..… …………………………..67…...……67……….. ………..……...…….…RecommendationsLOW STRATEGIC IMPACT continued11. accounts should be monitored………………………….13b. Consider alternative remote access services……………….…...Detail Page7071
15 Executive Summary continued Management and Support ServicesTo strengthen the effectiveness of the Office for Information Technology and Outreach, UMES should:Consolidate the academic, library, and residential life IT support staff into the Office of Information Technology and Outreach to create more effective resource utilization and project coordinationImplement an integrated annual IT planning and budgeting process which should feed regular tactical and operational planning and budgeting sessions throughout the year to ensure that planning goals and service levels are being achievedProvide a continuing professional development program to increase the IT skills of UMES personnel and strengthen the University’s overall IT quality (see Infrastructure section for staffing levels)UMES should develop or enhance critical policies and procedures in which it is currently lacking or deficient (e.g., Internet and computer use, security, common use of IT equipment, procurement, and minimum hardware/software standards).Although a comprehensive financial analysis of UMES’ IT operations was not performed, a high level review suggests that the Office for Information Technology and Outreach is under-resourced for the scope of its responsibilities. In addition to increasing in the Office’s annual operating funds, UMES should develop supplemental IT funding strategies, including:Corporate grants and externally funded researchCollaboration with other Institutions
16 Executive Summary continued Management and Support Services continuedUMES should reinvent its Help Desk model to address a number of problems that include limited support to students, procedures for recording, prioritizing, assigning, or monitoring “trouble tickets” that are fairly non-rigorous and not consistently applied, and no assistance after normal business hours. Solutions include:Centralized Help DeskImplementation of an improved problem tracking systemEstablishment of a trouble-shooting addressExtension of available Help Desk hoursThe Office of Information Technology and Outreach should strengthen its customer relationship management by improving communications with customers and soliciting customer feedback.The analysis of staffing levels and skills showed deficiencies in both the numbers of staff (see Appendix 2) and the specific skills sets required for UMES to operate a top tier, high quality IT operation. UMES should:Immediately increase its permanently budgeted staff level by 14 positionsDevelop a three-year staffing implementation planInitiate an integrated professional development and reward systems for all staff and student assistants
17 Executive Summary continued FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS (Technology Management & Support Services):Findings1. IT support personnel are not efficiently organized2. IT users perceive having little input into IT decisions3. IT support teams lack synergy within common skill areas4. Hiring and retaining IT staff has been difficult5. Academic computer lab assistants are not always qualified or helpful6. Administrative Computing staff lacks necessary experience and skills7. UMES lacks UNIX, Oracle, and wireless technology skills8. Overall, UMES needs additional IT staff9. IT Help Desk support provides delayed service to faculty and is not available for most students10. IT Support staff do not methodically collect, prioritize, and track IT requirements(continued on next page)Detail Page…...……………………… ………79…… …………………………..79………………………..79.. ……...………………………......…….79…….…......…….….79………………….….79…………………….….….….80….….80……..……………………..………80…… …………………………..80RecommendationsHIGH STRATEGIC IMPACT1. Place all IT support within OITO ….…………………………..2a. Create an IT Steering Committee ………………………..……..2b. Create a IT Change Control Board ……………………………..3. Create a centralized OITO support services organization…......4a. Create a three year staffing plan...……………..……………...…5. Hire Knowledgeable, Trainable, and Reliable Assistants…..…6. Prioritize and adequately staff Administrative Computing……7a. Hire or contract UNIX expertise ………...……….………..…...7b. Hire an Oracle expert…………………………………………...8. Make IT support staff adjustments …………………………….9. Create a centralized Help Desk with expanded hours.………...10. Prioritize Help Desk issues and provide repair time estimates.11a. Provide limited problem resolution during initial call…………12b. Provide a Help Desk web page for status and FAQ…………...13a. Manage customer expectations effectively…………………......13b. Solicit customer feedback regarding IT Services………………(continued on next page)Detail Page8285868789
18 Executive Summary continued FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS (Technology Management & Support Services) continued:Findings11. Help Desk Calls are rarely handled immediately upon receipt12. Help Desk communication is only available by phone13. No proactive IT customer relationship management processes exist14. Structured and Coordinated IT Planning does not occur regularly15. IT Support staff are not involved early enough in the design of new campus construction16. UMES lacks essential policy documentation17. IT Support personnel are not getting sufficient training18. User Training has not been a priority19. IT support is under fundedDetail Page………… ……..80………………………..80………..…...……80....………………….….81………………………… ……81………… …………………81…….………………….…….81………..81……… …..…81RecommendationsHIGH STRATEGIC IMPACT continued14. Conduct periodic IT Strategy Review Sessions………………...15. Ensure early coordination between IT & Physical Plant staff...16a. Create physical and information security policies……………...16b. Create internet and Computer Use Policies……………………16c. Create Policies for Common Use of IT Resources…………….16d. Modify IT Equipment Procurement……………………………16e. Create Minimum Standards for UMES LAN Connection……..17. Establish an OITO professional development & training unit..18a. Encourage participation for IT applications training………….19a. Create short & long term budgets using detailed IT planning..19b. Provide funding for additional IT Staff…………………………19c. Actively pursue IT research opportunities via the AIT Center..19d. Increase Collaboration with other USM Institutions…………..MEDIUM STRATEGIC IMPACT4b. Consider contractors for skills transfer or assistance to staff….18c. Require training………………………………………….(continued on next page)Detail Page8990919285
19 Executive Summary continued FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATIONS (Technology Management & Support Services) continued:FindingsDetail PageRecommendationsLOW STRATEGIC IMPACT7c. Hire a full time broadcast engineer …………………………….11b. Explore a consolidated USM Help Desk……………………….12a. Create a Help Desk account…………………………….18b. Develop a faculty instructional technology fellows program….Detail Page868790
20 I. IT Strategic Plan Introduction This document provides UMES with a high level strategy to guide the University’s Information Technology service delivery, projects, and programs over the next five years and beyond. It is intended to be a “living document” and will be modified and controlled as necessary via the UMES IT Change Control Board.AIT CenterBusiness PlanKnowledgeApplicableIndustryBest PracticesUMES ITSkillsAssessmentComparableUniversity DataAnalysisUMES ITInfrastructureSurveyUMES ITStrategyUMESStrategic PlanReviewUMESBusiness AreaRequirementsInstructional ComputingRecommendationsTechnology Mgmt. & SupportServices RecommendationsResearch & OutreachComputing RecommendationsInfrastructure & CommunicationsRecommendationsAdministrative ComputingRecommendations
21 I. Introduction Purpose This plan provides UMES with a high-level strategy to guide the University’s IT service delivery, projects, and programs over the next five year and beyond by:Aligning IT systems and support with the University’s instruction, research and public service missions as well as its administrative needsPromoting the cost-effective deployment and management of appropriate technology in support of faculty, students, staff, and other stakeholders of the UniversityThe University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) is currently at a transition point in its academic and outreach aspirations. Within the next ten years, UMES is targeting several ambitious goals to improve its professional stature and increase student population. Although many factors will affect UMES’ success, information technology (IT) generally, and the Office of Information Technology and Outreach (OITO) specifically, will play an increasingly significant role in University operations. In order to efficiently and effectively achieve its goals, UMES needs a strategy to tackle both current and future IT challenges.This plan is based on factors such as UMES’ current and planned functional needs, its current IT environment, and available IT technologies that will change over time. It is created and presented as a “living document” and will be monitored and modified as necessary via the UMES IT Steering Committee.ScopeThe following information technology service and infrastructure functions are contained within the scope of this document, regardless of the which UMES organization is responsible for them:IT organizational structures and definitions, their responsibilities, and associated staffing numbers and skills neededIT requirements analysis, planning, and fundingIT standards, policies, and proceduresAll procurement, installation, and maintenance services for campus computer software/hardware, phone systems, networks, and cable
22 I. Introduction continued ApproachThe following activities contributed to the development of the plan:Confirmation of objectives, scope, and approach with [deleted “applicable”]UMES administratorsInterviews with UMES administrators, faculty, students, IT staff members, and University System of Maryland (USM) administratorsStudent focus groupsReview of functional IT benchmarks for peer institutionsReview of UMES information regarding University infrastructure, organization, strategic planning, prior IT assessments, policies, and planned modernization (see reference section)Technical assessment of the University’s current IT capabilities and infrastructureDevelopment of short and long term IT strategiesApplication of knowledge and experience gained through numerous IT strategy engagements with other universities and corporationsUniversity of Maryland Eastern Shore: Understanding the University's history and current strategic direction is essential to identifying and prioritizing UMES’ IT requirements.BackgroundUMES, founded in 1886, is committed to a mission of instruction, research, and extension consistent with its role as an 1890 land-grant institution. It is the only research and doctoral granting institution on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, offering academic programs leading to BA or BS degrees in 26 disciplines in the arts and sciences, professional studies, and agricultural sciences. As a University System of Maryland (USM) member, it has collaborative agreements with other USM institutions, including nearby Salisbury State University.As an Historically Black College and University (HBCU), UMES makes educational opportunities available to all, regardless of race, gender, creed, or socioeconomic status.UMES is especially well known for its professional programs in computer science, business and economics, physical therapy, hotel and restaurant management, and poultry technology and management.
23 I. Introduction continued Background continuedGraduate programs focus on Eastern Shore needs and include: Applied Computer Science, Marine Estuarine - Environmental Sciences, Physical Therapy, Agriculture and Extension Education, and Toxicology. UMES also offers teaching and pre-professional degree programs.Faculty research competencies include computer applications and mathematics, agriculture, environmental and marine sciences, and allied health fields.Strategic DirectionUMES’ 1999 strategic plan calls for achieving Doctoral II status (under the previous Carnegie Classification system) and a Four-Year 3 status (Southern Regional Education Board Classification) within the next ten years.The University’s short-term goals and priorities are:Attracting and retaining highly qualified facultyIncreasing student retention and graduation ratesEnhancing interdisciplinary curriculaIncreasing sponsored researchDeveloping technology programs to serve regional needsIncreasing outreach activitiesThe University anticipates selected additional faculty appointments to several IT-related academic departments, such as the business, mathematics, and computer science disciplines, along with corresponding increases in research activities.UMES is creating the Applied IT Center to significantly increase UMES research, education, and community outreach activities via state-of-the-art technologies.UMES is actively planning for enhanced and supplemental academic program delivery via distance learning and instructional technologies.
24 II. IT Mission and Vision Statements Office of Information Technology and Outreach IT Mission StatementTo provide cost effective, state-of-the-art information technology services that meet the needs and expectations of UMES faculty, staff, students, and research/outreach customers. These services involve full life-cycle support of UMES’ academic, research, outreach, and administrative systems as well as the campus infrastructure. Additionally, technical guidance regarding campus network interfacing, instructional technology, UMES supplied software products, computer security, and available cutting edge technology is provided. In conjunction with the AIT Center, the Office of Information Technology has five broad areas of responsibility:Productivity: To enhance productivity and reduce costs by improving the accuracy, timeliness, and speed with which the University responsibilities can be met.Information Availability: To increase and improve information and data availability, thereby assisting the University’s staff in decision making and in providing services to the public.Environmental Responsiveness: To ensure, from an information systems perspective, the University is responsive to an environment that is constantly changing as a result of changes at the federal and state level in areas of laws, regulations, interpretations, and funding.Infrastructure: To augment and improve the infrastructure of the University’s information systems, including the technical architecture, the organizations structure, and human resource capabilities.New Technology: To evaluate new technology to determine if it will provide benefits to the University in achieving its business objectives.
25 II. IT Mission and Vision Statements continued University IT Vision StatementTo be the premier provider of information technology services in Maryland’s Eastern Shore region. UMES professionals will deliver effective, reliable, and timely solutions that will significantly enhance the UMES academic experience, reduce administrative burden, increase research opportunities, improve campus communication, benefit local communities, and increase University revenue and resources.The following goals support this vision:Significantly enhance UMES efforts to meet doctoral level II status requirementsIncrease student/faculty access to state of the art IT equipment and business opportunitiesImprove community outreach services via technologyAttract skilled university personnel and professional businesses to the regionThis IT vision correlates to the UMES’ 1999 Strategic Plan vision statement that: “Becoming a community whose state-of-the-art instructional and scholarly approaches are used for the creation, dissemination and application of knowledge is a major goal of the university. New Technology will be utilized to enhance the communication between faculty and students, provide facilities necessary for research, and enable students and faculty to communicate and collaborate with classrooms and researchers around the globe.”To realize our vision, mission, and organizational goals, the Office of Information Technology is committed to:Be customer focused;Be knowledgeable about business issues and requirements;Provide uniform technical features and characteristics that assure all organizations will be able to share information and integrate services within an environment that satisfies the appropriate level of security;Employ competent, well-trained staff; andProvide quality systems, service delivery and supports; and utilize internal staff as well as public/private partnerships to effectively provide services.
26 III. Key Information Technology Issues in Higher Education The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is not unique in its need for a strategic plan for information technology. Throughout higher education, institutions are finding that their IT-related demands and desires far outstrip their capabilities and resources. This section of the plan provides an overview of the key issues, trends, and challenges in information technology within the university. To some extent, UMES can take comfort in the fact that its peers and competitors face the same challenges. But before becoming too complacent, faculty and administrators should also be aware that whichever schools get mobilized early will enjoy a tremendous competitive advantage in both the delivery of education and in the preparation of their students to function in a technologically sophisticated working environment.OverviewHigher education is being transformed into a networked computing environment that virtually everyone at the University will utilize regularly. The rapid growth of the Internet and local area networks has altered the technological landscape and patterns of interaction among faculty, staff and students. The growing use of network applications such as electronic mail is the most obvious indicator of this change. Whereas used to be limited to a small group of researchers, today almost everyone affiliated with an institution of higher learning has an account, and some users have two or three accounts with different Internet service providers. In a relatively short period of time, these networked systems have become a critical part of the academic and administrative activities at most institutions.This network-driven IT revolution has the potential to change dramatically the relationships between faculty, students, staff, alumni and other constituencies. Faculty members are adopting new instructional tools such as course Web pages, ‘courseware’ and a host of other innovative applications. Administrators are implementing client-server, Web-enabled, self-service information systems, and alumni are getting ‘vanity ’ addresses from their alma mater to show support and stay in touch. The rate of change in each of these areas is unprecedented, as new uses for information technology are developed.While some faculty members challenge whether instructional technology improves learning, others have widely embraced its enhancement capabilities. Students are continuously pushing the limits of the network and questioning the institution’s commitment to deliver a technologically advanced educational environment. As more users become dependent on networked systems, obtaining benefits from the applications will require greater coordination and cooperation between individuals and units.
27 III. Key Information Technology Issues in Higher Education continued Key Issues and TrendsDuring the next five years and beyond, universities should anticipate continued rapid growth in demand for networked information technology services. New demands are emerging for services in instructional technology, distributed administrative applications, and wide area network/remote access, to name just a few areas.The accompanying diagram captures three axes of IT issues needing to be addressed. First, there are functional issues such as instructional technology, research computing, and network infrastructure. Second, there are management issues such as governance, organization and funding. Finally, there are temporal issues of how rapidly to act and in what priority various needs should be addressed. Each of these axes is interdependent, and the planning process must provide a means to address them in context.Priorities & TimeframesLong Term ProjectsGovernanceShort Term ProjectsSupport ServicesResearchComputingComputingInstructionalComputingAdministrativeSystemsPoliciesFundingPlanningCommunications& Remote AccessManagementDesktop ComputersIssuesNetwork & InfrastructureFunctional Issues
28 III. Key Information Technology Issues in Higher Education continued Instructional ComputingUse of instructional technology is growing at a rapid rate. According to the 1999 Campus Computing Survey, more than 53% of college courses now use some form of instructional technology (e.g., course lists, educational software, Web pages, “smart” classrooms), compared to 44% in 1998 and just 8% in 1994.The development of instructional technology is occurring on such a wide scale that it is virtually impossible to track all of the activity. There are myriad efforts throughout the public and private sector to develop courseware, distance education environments, desktop video conferencing, and other capabilities to support learning. New “dot coms” are regularly being formed to support universities’ instructional technology needs.Implementation of the instructional technology will be a second challenge. Widespread implementation requires new infrastructure, additional training, and the means to protect intellectual property. Infrastructure preparation is a crucial element because technologies such as video on demand require relatively large amounts of network bandwidth.There is the potential for a comparable ‘support crisis’ during the instructional technology start-up phase over the next five years. Faculty members will require large amounts of support to learn and implement the new tools and techniques.Research ComputingResearch computing is heading in two seemingly contradictory directions – toward more powerful desktops and toward more shared systems. Increases in desktop power are making it possible for researchers to do more complex analyses on their personal computers or UNIX workstations. However, the continued development of the Internet is making collaborative work and shared applications more widespread. In order to remain competitive, researchers will need more of both resources.Administrative SystemsThe most significant change in administrative computing is the introduction of packaged client-server applications. This change from centralized mainframe processing to distributed computing will change university administration by delivering services directly to the end-users more efficiently, providing workflow capabilities, and giving managers real-time, online access to data.
29 III. Key Information Technology Issues in Higher Education continued The following describes the functional and management IT issues, as presented in the “cube.”Network InfrastructureThe key issues for network infrastructure are the continuing growth in demand for bandwidth (capacity) and reliability. Capacity is a crucial issue throughout higher education because of the implementation of new administrative systems using client-server architecture and the development of instructional technology applications. Additional loads are forecast from enhanced Web applications, desktop videoconferencing, and interactive distance learning environments, all of which are poised to become mainstream technologies. In addition to capacity, reliability is a significant challenge. Users are demanding reliable data service comparable to current telephone services, and IT organizations must seek ways to deliver it.Desktop ComputersDesktop capabilities will continue to increase with the growing requirements of the applications. Hardware and software are changing generally on 18-month cycles, and this pattern is expected to continue over the next five years. In addition, every class of students brings the latest hardware and software, putting pressure on the institution to provide compatible facilities. Because institutions have no control over these relentless upgrade pressures, many have begun to recognize these costs as a standard operating cost that is budgeted on an annual basis.Communications and Remote AccessThe trend in communication systems is toward ubiquitous access. This means users can access their files ( and document) from anywhere in the world at any time. This capability requires a remote access system that is linked to the institution’s file server system. In the past, many universities built proprietary remote access modem pools and provided free access to faculty and students. Now, however, there is a shift toward outsourcing this service due to the high cost of maintaining the rapidly changing technology.Communications systems are evolving rapidly from simple packages to more complex groupware products. is a basic component, but new capabilities for file storage and sharing as well as discussion groups are becoming core requirements in these systems.As universities increase their dependence on IT systems and users communicate more frequently via the internet, protection from destructive computer viruses and intrusive hackers becomes essential. Hence, support and infrastructure costs associated with this need have increased dramatically.
30 III. Key Information Technology Issues in Higher Education continued GovernancePresidents and other senior executives, citing IT utilization as a “top five” priority, are now participating on IT governance committees. Given the large amount of money being invested in this area, there is an increased desire to monitor and measure the results.Support ServicesSupport services are undergoing dramatic change throughout higher education in response to increased demand for new technologies from faculty, students and staff.New technologies and methods have forced universities to recruit and replace support resources to capture needed modern skills. This has been particularly true regarding transitions from legacy mainframe systems to distributed client-server systems.Most institutions have added specialists to their staff in instructional and research technologies.Many universities have also begun to outsource desktop support as well as finance and human resource systems support.FundingThe increased demands for IT services are driving a growing need for additional funds. The challenge is to determine the balance between the use of central and local IT funds.Generally, institutions are switching to an annual funding scheme that allocates a budget for IT to each unit to spend on desktop replacement and development efforts.Many four year universities have begun charging technology fees to their students. Such fees, averaging approximately $130 annually, have allowed IT organizations to keep up with technology demands while faced with limited budgets.PlanningTechnology planning is becoming a continuous process. Governing bodies are being called on to review and revise the IT plan annually. This requires a new attitude and approach to planning where ambiguities are accepted as characteristics of the rapidly changing environment.
31 V. University Functional Areas Development of meaningful short and long-term strategies requires identifying, the role, goals, and high level IT concerns of each major UMES functional area. This information was captured during numerous interviews with UMES faculty, staff, and students, an interview with key USM administrators, and analysis of UMES supplied documentation.UMES Functional AreasUMES IT Support PotentialIT Support PrioritiesIT Resources & SkillsAvailable TechnologyIT BudgetInstructionUMES Faculty, Staff, Students, and Community CustomersResearch & OutreachUMES IT RequirementsPrioritized IT Support & EquipmentAdministrationIT Services
32 V. UMES Functional Areas Development of meaningful short and long-term IT strategies requires understanding the role, goals, and high level IT concerns of each major UMES functional area. This information was captured during numerous interviews with UMES faculty, staff, and students, an interview with key USM administrators, and analysis of UMES supplied documentation. Below is a compilation of this information by UMES functional area.InstructionDefinition: Instruction of both undergraduate and graduate students is the core function of the university. This includes basic classroom, Interactive Video Network (IVN), distance education, computer lab, or other instruction that leads to a UMES degree, as well as the campus library.Strategic Plan Goal: As mentioned in the Introduction, the University’s strategic plan calls for achieving Doctoral II status and a Four-Year 3 status within the next ten years. To achieve this, UMES intends to add doctoral level programs and increase on campus research. Providing adequate IT resources is necessary to support these goals.IT Priorities: Based on interviews with academic affairs administrators, the teaching and learning IT priorities are as follows:Begin developing distance education courses and tools to augment existing degree programs. Hope to have one or two online degree programs within the next several years and may implement other institutions’ online courses as well.Ensure students and faculty receive proper IT training (general computer functionality, Microsoft Office training, and internet access and knowledge of user protocols, instructional technology support). Students should be computer literate upon graduating from UMES.Use cutting edge instructional technology during academic instruction (e.g., real time video and communication)Potential USM IT Requirements: The Board of Regents is proposing the following USM institutional requirements that relate to academic computing support:24 hours/7 days a week computer access for all students, regardless of financial means.Student access to appropriate software and electronic learning materials to complete course assignmentsNetwork access with adequate bandwidth and 24/7 access to the internet for students, faculty, and staffFaculty and staff access to appropriate computer technology in their offices or workplaces
33 V. UMES Functional Areas continued Instruction continuedaccess for students, faculty, and staffExplicit website policy incorporated into UMES technology policiesDevelopment of a training and technical support plan to cover student, faculty, and staff technology needsDevelopment of a technology plan that ensures modernization of USM IT assets (addresses staffing, maintenance support, upgrades, replacementsExploration and formation of institutional technology partnerships, where appropriate, to provide cutting edge information services incorporating e-business to students, faculty, and staff.High Level IT ConcernsStudents need more access to computer equipment and the internet.General IT orientation and training needs improvement.“Smart” classroom equipment is limited and often inconvenient.IT Help Desk requests result in delayed service to faculty and minimal service to students.
34 V. UMES Functional Areas continued Research & OutreachDefinition: Research and community outreach are considered important secondary functions at UMES. Research includes any grant or contract work associated with UMES, many of which are highly dependent on IT resources. Outreach includes all local/regional community service work that UMES performs. These services include support to local K-12 schools, management of Federal and State funds for regional business development, and operation of the UMES owned radio station WESM.Goals: Research and community outreach activities are envisioned to significantly increase over time. The recent decision to create an Applied Information Technology (AIT) Center for research and outreach education is indicative of UMES’ commitment to these functions.Research Goals: Along with the addition of Ph.D. programs, increased research is essential to UMES’ goal of becoming a Doctoral II university. Research also provides significant revenue streams to enhance the University’s overall academic budget and provide additional opportunities for faculty and students. As discussed in the AIT Center Business Plan, UMES is targeting IT related opportunities involving Geographic Information System (GIS), Remote Sensing (RS), and Global Positioning System (GPS) research as well as computer security work.Outreach Goals: As a Land-Grant University, UMES currently supports various community needs and is responsible for managing Federal and State grant/loan funding for business development in four regional counties. UMES plans to provide local K-12 teachers and students with instructional technology training, software training, network consulting, and possibly Application Service Provider (ASP) services.High Level IT ConcernsUnix Lab computers do not have any campus IT support.Faculty currently do not have Internet 2 access.A shortage of IT support skills may impact future research activities.WESM infrastructure and support need improvement.Antennas supporting outreach activities lack security.
35 V. UMES Functional Areas continued AdministrationDefinition: This function is essential to the effective management and reporting of University resources. It includes UMES’ human resources management, finance and accounting, and academic and student administration. Information used for the administrative function is critical for normal University operations, key management decision making, and required external reporting to USM, State, and Federal authorities.Goals: The general goal associated with the UMES Administrative function is to have a paperless environment and integrated information systems. Examples include electronic procurement and travel processes, integration of the financial management system with the student information system for billing purposes, and several student administrative improvements such as online class enrollment, grade inquiry, and curriculum tracking. Additionally, administrators are hoping for improved and automated reporting capabilities. Finally, enhanced alumni tracking/communication is expected.USM Planning: Several USM institutions have collaborated with Oracle to help create an improved student information system (SIS). The USM CIO strongly suggests that UMES participate in this effort. Although not currently part of the collaborative group, UMES is planning to participate.High Level IT Concerns:SIS functionality and data accuracy do not meet requirements.SIS users are not properly trained.Key administrative systems are not integrated.Most administrative functions still involve manual processes.IT Help Desk support provides delayed service to administrators and staff.
36 V. UMES Functional Areas continued IT ServicesDefinition: IT services include the procurement, implementation, and maintenance of all UMES IT resources. It also includes support to student, faculty, and staff owned computers when related to campus network connectivity or UMES related software. Depending on campus research and outreach activities, this could include support to external UMES customers as well. Support services cover issues related to communication systems, remote access , desktop computers, networks and servers, other functional area’s applications (e.g., SIS), and other IT related items.Goals: UMES is aspiring to improve its IT infrastructure, support capabilities, technical skills, customer satisfaction, and overall IT reputation. The University hopes that the AIT Center, along with increasing research and outreach activities, will attract and retain highly skilled IT professionals and promote state-of-the-art IT services. UMES is planning to renovate both Waters and Somerset Halls in order to centrally house and modernize the University’s IT support, research, and outreach facilities. The planned completion date is January IT administrators also plan to provide secure structured IT processes and controlled IT configurations while ensuring for academic IT freedoms.High Level IT Concerns:IT support personnel are not efficiently organized.Limited IT policy documentation exists.IT support is underfunded.Some IT personnel lack critical skills and few receive sufficient training.Due to backlogged service requests, IT support is reactive versus proactive.System requirements changes and trouble calls are not methodically collected, prioritized, and tracked.Coordination issues exist regarding new campus construction.
37 VI. Instructional Computing UMES has various instructional computing components that enhance students’ learning experiences. These components include “smart” classrooms, instructional technology tools, computer labs, and library resources. However, UMES is still challenged with increasing the available technology and ensuring its effective and efficient use. The following provides a high-level assessment of the University’s current instructional computing components and offers recommended strategies for future improvements.TodayFew Permanent Smart ClassroomsDysfunctional Sharing ProcessUnclear Instructional Technology StrategyLimited Lab AccessNo IT OrientationClassroom Technology“Smart” ClassroomsPortable EquipmentInteractive VideoInstructional ToolsFaculty Web PagesInternet CoursewareStudent ComputerResourcesAcademic LabsResidential Life LabsLibrary ResourcesMore Smart ClassroomsCentrally Coordinated EquipmentExpanded IVN CapabilitiesStrategic Distance Ed PlansFaculty WebCT pagesExpanded usageMore Student Owned Computers24/7 Student Lab AvailabilityCampus-wide OrientationFuture
38 VI. Instructional Computing UMES has various instructional computing components that enhance students’ learning experiences. These components include “smart” classrooms, instructional technology tools, computer labs, and library databases. However, UMES is still challenged with increasing the available technology and ensuring its effective and efficient use.Current EnvironmentClassroom Instructional Technology“Smart” Classrooms: UMES currently has four permanently set-up “smart” classrooms on campus, one of which is located in the library’s multi-media room. These classrooms have permanently affixed projection equipment, an instructor’s computer, and access to the campus LAN and internet. The library’s multi-media room also has desktop computers for 21 students. The Office of Information Technology currently has requests to permanently install computer projectors in five classrooms.Portable Equipment: The University owns additional leading edge instructional technology equipment, such as portable video and projection equipment, although it is not always where it is needed. Sometimes the equipment is located in a different building or floor, and is generally controlled and maintained within specific departments. When needed, portable classroom computer and projection equipment is usually transported and set-up by faculty members. Such inconvenience tends to hamper instructional technology use by faculty and potentially wastes valuable classroom time during setup. Some smaller departments don’t have easy access to any portable equipment due to minimal budgets and the lack of centrally owned equipment. Departments that have sizable budgets and/or grants tend to have plenty of equipment, but are likely not used effectively from a campus perspective.Interactive Video Network (IVN)Rooms: UMES has access to the USM IVN system that allows for teleconferencing and collaborative USM instruction. Hence, University students can leverage the expertise of other USM campuses while attending UMES. UMES currently has three IVN equipped rooms and two simultaneous IVN ports.Instructional Technology ToolsAlthough discussed in the Infrastructure and Support Services section, it should be noted that minimal interaction occurs between faculty and students.
39 VI. Instructional Computing continued Instructional Technology Tools continued:Faculty Web Pages: Some UMES professors have UMES web pages that students can access for resource purposes, but the vast majority do not. Additionally, these pages do not have a consistent look and have varying levels of content. The Office of Information Technology recently purchased WebCT course management software which should allow the University to set an instructional Web page standard for all courses. If implemented properly with UMES faculty buy-in, this product should allow non “computer gurus” to easily create course web pages that enhance their instruction.Internet Courses: Although several faculty have expressed interest in creating internet academic courses, only a few faculty members have successfully accomplished this. The Office of Academic Affairs is currently promoting an effort to create and implement Internet-based courses, which can be used for both resident and distance education. However, there are several unanswered questions such as: Who is the target audience and what are their needs; Why wouldn’t these students use courses from University of Maryland University College or other well established distance education institutions; Would they be motivated to learn from distance education courses; What distance education strengths and resources can UMES leverage? Has a cost-benefit analysis been performed?Academic Computer LabsResources: Aside from the Library’s computer resources, UMES currently has 16 academic computer labs on the campus. Several are considered general use labs where others are restricted to particular academic disciplines and classes. Most student labs have Pentium based personal computers with Microsoft Office 97 or 2000 installed, although some have special use software such as ERSI ArcView and SAS statistical software. These computers have Microsoft NT operating systems to ensure reliability and consistency. However, both students and IT staff note that Window’s desktop screens are inconsistent, many times in the same lab. UMES normally replaces all of their lab personal computers annually to maintain current technology. One lab has 16 Sun workstations with UNIX operating systems, housing some of UMES’ most powerful computers, and were purchased with both academic and research purposes in mind.Availability: It is estimated that less than half of the UMES students have their own computers, so they highly depend on University equipment. Although some labs stay open past midnight on weekdays, they remain closed on Sundays until early afternoon, students periodically get asked to leave due to unannounced instructional activities, and there is no general 24/7 accessibility. During peak academic activity (e.g., preparation for midterms and final exams), there are not enough usable computers available. Finally, students have complained that labs have poor virus protection, inconsistent software and icons, and insufficient printing capabilities.
40 VI. Instructional Computing Residence Life Computer Labs: Eight University housing complexes have small computer labs to supplement the needs of on campus students. On average, these labs have eight personal computers each for a total of 61 and have similar technology found in the academic labs. These labs are open till midnight, Monday through Thursday and on Sunday. Availability is significantly reduced on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Beginning with the Fall 2000 semester, all campus dormitories should have UMES LAN and internet access with direct connections. This should significantly improve performance in these labs and for students owning their own computers. Students have historically accessed the network with much difficulty due to a limited number of UMES modems.Library Resources: As a USM member, UMES has access to a central USM library information system to manage its own resources and gain access to library resources of other universities. UMES has 16 general use computers (25-33 MHz processors) designated for library searches using Telnet terminal emulators. USM is planning to replace its mainframe system in the near future, but the impact to UMES is not yet known. The UMES Library also has other personal computers used for instruction, internet searches, and database (e.g., Lexus Nexis and periodical indexes) searches. There is a multi-media classroom that has 21 computers, projection equipment, and LAN and internet access, and partial IVN capabilities. While faculty can reserve this room for instruction, librarians primarily use it to teach internet and library skills. The Electronic Resources Center has 20 modern computers with CD ROMs for database and internet searches as well as occasional instruction. Finally, the Library has approximately 13 other general use computers and a fully capable IVN classroom.
41 VI. Instructional Computing continued FindingsClassroom Instructional Technology1. Faculty access to “smart” classroom equipment is limited and often inconvenient: Numerous faculty members complained about the lack of instructional technology in UMES classrooms. Although such equipment exists, it is often located in other buildings or floors, controlled and maintained by specific departments, and usually set-up by faculty members. Aside from a handful of permanent smart facilities, most classrooms require faculty to transport and set-up computer and projection equipment. Such inconvenience tends to hamper instructional technology use by faculty and potentially wastes valuable classroom time during setup.Instructional Technology Tools2. UMES’ Instructional Technology Strategy is unclear: There appears to be a significant charge to create and implement UMES distance education courses. However, in the absence of a vision and strategy for instructional technology generally and distance education more specifically, such efforts consume considerable resources without fully understanding either the market or the competition.Academic & Residence Life Computer Labs3. Student access to general use computer equipment and internet access is inadequate at times: Students have complained that general use computer labs are not always available for them. Accessibility is not 24hr/7d, and students periodically get asked to leave due to unannounced instructional activities. During peak academic activity (e.g., preparation for midterms and final exams), there are not enough usable computers available. Additionally, remote access for students has been extremely difficult due to a short supply of UMES network modems.4. No substantial IT orientation information is provided to students: As students become oriented to the UMES campus, minimal guidance is provided regarding the IT services available on campus.Library Resources5. Many Library computers are old: Although housing some fairly modern personal computers, the Library has also has numerous 25 MHz and 33 MHz machines. Maintenance for such equipment will likely become more difficult in the near future.
42 VI. Instructional Computing continued RecommendationsClassroom Instructional Technology1a. Continue Creating More “Smart” Classrooms: UMES needs to create more permanent “smart” classrooms by either transitioning existing rooms or building new ones. New or existing portable projection equipment needs to be permanently affixed while the use of portable faculty or common use laptops would be optimal. Depending on perceived room usage, additional LAN connections (wired or wireless) for student participation should be considered as time and money permit.1b. Centralize Portable Equipment Coordination and Maintenance: Until such time as there are significantly more smart classrooms distributed across campus, all portable instructional equipment should be centrally coordinated and stored strategically around campus to assure wide accessibility and convenient movement between classrooms. The Library’s Media Services Department should establish a user-friendly procedure for borrowing this equipment, preferably on the Web.1c. Expand on IVN Technology: In order to encourage and facilitate campus-wide and community presentations, UMES needs more classrooms with IVN capabilities. This could be accomplished by providing mobile IVN capability. The Office of Information Technology should continue investigating inexpensive and efficient ways to deploy IVN technology via existing network infrastructure.Instructional Technology Tools2a. Create Realistic Goals and Plans for Distance Education Instruction: Although administrators should generally support faculty desires to create distance education courses, a detailed and realistic business case should be developed prior to committing significant financial or faculty resources.2b. Continue Efforts to Develop Faculty Web Pages using WebCT: With the recent purchase of WebCT software, more faculty should be encouraged to produce web “courseware” that supplements current instruction. IT staff should offer to assist at least one faculty member in each school to develop a WebCT prototype.
43 VI. Instructional Computing continued Academic & Residence Life Computer Labs3a. Expand Hours of Operation for General Use Computers: The hours of availability of the general use computer labs needs to be extended, particularly during the peak times (during midterm and finals weeks), and students should be able to depend on the labs being available during all announced hours. In addition, at least one lab should remain open 24/7 to meet pending USM requirements. Finally, all lab equipment should be set up according to consistent set up standards, including icons and available software.3b. Create or Facilitate a Student Computer Leasing/Buying Program: Based on pending USM requirements for 24/7 computer access for students, UMES realistically needs to facilitate a transition towards student owned computers. Initially, UMES should team with State (“digital divide” promoters) and commercial organizations to offer discounted computer equipment for purchase or leasing. Along with new equipment, refurbished computers that have new warranties and near cutting edge performance would suffice. IT staff should also consider prototyping an Application Service Provider (ASP) server with older computers to test user performance potential. If results are promising, older and very inexpensive personal computers could be considered. However, maintenance responsibilities beyond network interfacing and UMES supplied software issues should still remain with the students and their warranted manufacturers. To accommodate potential wireless LAN growth, laptop computers with wireless compatible PCI/MCIA cards should be considered in future student packages. Any computer buying or leasing program would likely have staffing implications associated with it.4. Implement Campus-Wide Orientation Programs: UMES should develop orientation programs that thoroughly introduce UMES’ IT services to all new students and faculty. Additionally, desktop application training should be available. However, as more and more students arrive on campus with desktop application exposure in high school, such training will become less needed.Library Resources5. Upgrade Aging Computers: Aside from the multi-media and Electronic Resources Center rooms, the library has some older computers that should be replaced in the near future. Maintenance of these older systems will likely become difficult in the near future.
44 VII. Research and Outreach Computing While research and outreach efforts have taken advantage of new and existing UMES computing systems, increased emphasis on IT assistance has begun. Although the newly established Applied Information Technology (AIT) Center will likely be the center of future IT research and outreach activities, other labs and facilities will also get IT support attention. The following provides a high-level assessment of the University’s current research and outreach systems and offers recommended strategies for future improvements.TodayNewly Established AIT CenterInternet 2 AccessLimitedWESM Facility ProblemsNo Studio Back-up PowerAIT Center ResearchGIS LabsAIT Center EducationWESMDigital StudioCooperative ExtensionResearchOutreachAIT Center Facility and PersonnelAccess to the Most Advanced NetworksLeveraged IT Support Expertise for ResearchUpgraded WESM FacilityNew Digital Studio EquipmentIncreased Support for Cooperative Ext. ProjectsFuture
45 VII. Research & Outreach Computing While research and outreach efforts have taken advantage of new and existing UMES computing systems, they have not been a predominant demand for UMES IT support. This is consistent with UMES’ prime focus of educating students and the minimal IT needs associated with previous research and outreach activities. However, with increased emphasis of these activities, particularly with the creation of the AIT Center, renewed focus on IT implementation will occur. The discussion below describes the current environment, findings, and recommendations associated with the research and outreach functions.Current EnvironmentAIT Center: UMES has plans to create an Applied Information Technology (AIT) Center to increase the University’s research and outreach activities using specialized IT infrastructure and expertise. Although no AIT Center infrastructure currently exists, Somerset Hall will house the Center’s staff and equipment once the building renovation project is complete in January During the next fiscal year, a temporary facility should be in place to house any anticipated IT equipment. The specific IT needs for AIT efforts are currently unknown, although the AIT Center Business Plan has specifics regarding future activities such as GIS and Spatial Analysis research work, computer security research work, K-12 technology assistance work, and community wireless technology implementations.GIS Labs: UMES has one dedicated GIS lab that supports several small research projects. This lab consists of three personal computers, three inoperable Silicon Graphics (SG) UNIX workstations, and two new SG NT machines. The PCs can only run ERSI ArcView software while the others run the more powerful ERSI ArcInfo software. Due to current and anticipated processing needs, another three SG NT computers are planned additions. As discussed in the Instructional Computing section, there are two student labs that have GIS software installed. One of these labs, consisting of personal computers, is occasionally used for outreach training of ArcView software. The other contains 16 Sun Sparc UNIX workstations and has the potential to provide exceptional GIS processing for research or outreach purposes.
46 VII. Research & Outreach Computing Cooperative Extension Projects: As part of its outreach effort to regional communities, the UMES Cooperative Extension is responsible for four separate web sites. These sites provide a variety of information including Maryland’s Eastern Shore businesses, counties, economic development centers, places to visit, outreach educational opportunities, and cooperative extension services. Thus far, the web page development has been performed by contractors, but UMES IT staff could perform this effort in the future if staffed appropriately. Only one of these Internet sites is maintained on UMES equipment. The UMES Cooperative Extension is also involved with assisting the Smith Island Crabmeat Cooperative, Inc. with economic funding and possible IT consulting. Finally, UMES is considering an Interactive Video Network (IVN) hook-up in the Henson Center for outreach activities.Campus Radio Station WESM: The radio station is located in a converted house on the UMES campus. The radio equipment appears to be adequate, but the station only has minimal support (1/4 FTE) via a contract engineer. The station also relies on several personal computers and telephones to conduct its administrative functions. Along with radio station equipment, the WESM facility houses the main cable system hub for the campus. The station manager noted that roof leaks allow water to drip onto the electrical equipment and none of the electrical or cable wiring is labeled. Also, the building is not designed to handle the station power requirements.UMES Digital Studio: Using its sophisticated digital studio, UMES develops both recorded and live television programs (e.g., Homework TV and Land of Books) which are broadcast on Comcast Cable. The studio equipment includes a Trinity Predator digital video editing unit, a large capacity hard drive unit, multiple cameras, and other associated equipment. However, the studio is not equipped to handle power outages, hard drive failures, or censure of inappropriate audio during live broadcasts.Antenna Yard: UMES has various antennas located near the WESM radio station that support Outreach and other activities. These include the radio station antenna, downlinks for academic programs, the Comcast cable dish, and others. The lack of security for this site makes it susceptible to malicious or accidental damage.
47 VII. Research & Outreach Computing FindingsAIT Center1. A shortage of campus IT skills may impact future research opportunities: No UMES personnel currently exist as AIT Center employees. Additionally, current UMES IT staff and faculty don’t have all of the targeted skills for perceived future AIT Center work. In the past, attracting and funding talented IT professionals to UMES has been very challenging.2. No AIT Center equipment exists: Although not necessary until performing on campus research, no specialized or desktop equipment exists for AIT Center activities.3. Faculty currently do not have Internet 2 access: Selective UMES faculty only have limited access to the Internet 2 and most have no access. Internet 2 membership consists primarily of large four-year institutions like UMCP, but it may be beneficial for future AIT work.Campus Radio Station WESM4. WESM infrastructure and support need improvement: The WESM building has roof leaks and is not designed to handle the radio station’s power requirements. Additionally, none of the building’s wiring is labeled. All represent safety issues that could destroy equipment or cause injury. Finally, the radio station needs more engineering expertise to support its operations.Cooperative Extension Projects5. Cooperative Extension personnel typically use contractors for IT related projects: Cooperative Extension personnel located at UMES rarely use OITO support due to historically unavailable or delayed IT services.UMES Digital Studio6. The Digital Studio has minimal back-up protection: While filming TV programs, the UMES Video Coordinator has insufficient back-up modes for power loss and hard drive failure situations. Power losses would cease filming activities whereas a hard drive failure would destroy previous filming.7. The Digital Studio cannot censure phone audio: During live broadcasts, UMES many times has incoming phone calls that are aired. Occasionally, a caller will use inappropriate language, but the Video Coordinator cannot currently censure it prior to transmission.
48 VII. Research & Outreach Computing Antenna Yard8. The Antenna Yard lacks security: Various UMES antennas are not adequately protected. Nothing prevents an individual from repositioning their alignment or maliciously cutting the wires that connect them to the campus technical infrastructure. This could result in the loss of cable, radio and other services to the UMES campus.
49 VII. Research & Outreach Computing RecommendationsAIT Center: While the AIT Business Plan provides comprehensive implementation strategies, the following highlights some key IT recommendations for the Center:1a. Hire Several Key IT Professionals for the AIT Center: In order to effectively jumpstart AIT Center activities, 2-3 key IT professionals should be hired. Their qualifications should include successful marketing experiences and solid technical skills in areas UMES desires to initially research (e.g., GIS, wireless, or computer security).1b. Create Faculty Joint Appointments: To bolster the skills needed to accelerate the Center’s research and outreach goals, the OITO needs to create joint appointments with research-oriented faculty in such fields as computer science, engineering, chemistry, and education.1c. Build on IT Support Experience and Successes: As IT support staff successfully complete campus implementations, such as Microsoft 2000 and wireless LAN installations, this experience should be leveraged for outreach and research opportunities. For instance, the OITO has considered providing local government, schools, and community organizations access to the Maryland Government WAN “ Network MD.” Based on previous wireless experience, UMES could assist these groups with a wireless solution for increased internet connectivity. Such work could fund an additional IT wireless expert and possible academic instruction on the subject. Additionally, UMES could leverage the wireless link for high speed Application Service Provider (ASP) services to community schools. This would allow the use of very basic PCs without any resident applications like the MS Office Suite.2. Leverage AIT Grants/Contracts to Increase Campus IT Resources: To moderate the growing IT budget, UMES should effectively leverage grants/contracts to acquire necessary modern IT equipment and hire additional IT staff.3. Acquire full Internet 2 access: In order to adequately promote and recruit for increased research activities, much of which will be IT related, access to the most advanced IT networks is essential. UMES should leverage its present research contracts and the startup of the AIT Center to justify full Internet 2 access via UMCP.
50 VII. Research & Outreach Computing Campus Radio Station WESM4. Upgrade or Replace the WESM Facility: Due to both safety and financial concerns, the WESM building should be properly upgraded to ensure leakage and power requirement issues are resolved. Current funding and a cost analysis of current/future radio station requirements should determine whether the WESM site requires modification or replacement. Additionally, efforts should be made to properly label the electrical and cable wiring located in this facility.Cooperative Extension Projects5. Use UMES IT Staff for Cooperative Extension projects: As the OITO becomes more proactive in its IT activities, particularly with AIT Center maturity, it should begin providing greater support to Cooperative Extension projects. Such projects could provide funding for additional IT staff.UMES Digital Studio6. Procure Digital Studio Back-up Power & Hard Drive Systems: As with most IT equipment, back-up systems should be in place to protect UMES work. In this case, the purchase of a uninterrupted power supply (UPS) and a hot swappable hard drive back-up system are appropriate back-up systems.7. Install an Audio Delay System for the Digital Studio: To prevent the airing of caller’s inappropriate language during live broadcasts, an audio delay system should be installed.Antenna Yard8. Restrict Access to the UMES Antennas: UMES should install appropriate security measures to prevent general access to these key campus links. Fencing perimeters should be based on practicality, anticipated future growth, and electronic emissions safety and interference standards.
51 VIII. Administrative Computing Administrative computing systems are essential to the efficient and effective operations at UMES. Along with business processes, these systems must provide University personnel with accurate financial, human resource, and academic management information to support critical planning, decision making, and obligatory functions. The following provides a high-level assessment of the University’s current administrative systems and recommended strategies for future improvements.TodaySIS Functionality & Data IssuesUnique MPE Operating SystemNon-Integrated Admin SystemsNo Automated Tracking SystemsManual ProcessesStudent InformationHousingFinancial AidiAmecs SystemFinancial MgmtPayrollHuman ResourcesTravel ApprovalsProcurementAlumni TrackingStudent SystemsFinancial & HR SystemsOther SystemsFormal SIS Requirements AnalysisSIS Data ValidationParticipation in USM SIS ProjectPossible Transition to UNIX SystemPossible Integrated ERP SystemTravel Approval SystemImproved Procurement ProcessFuture
52 VIII. Administrative Computing continued Administrative computing systems are essential to the efficient and effective operations at UMES. Along with business processes, these systems must provide University personnel with accurate financial, human resource, and academic management information. This information supports planning and decision making, meeting contractual/legal/ethical obligations, provides necessary control and oversight, and enhances productivity. The Student Information System, labeled by many as the “University’s central nervous system,” is considered a critical UMES system. The following provides a high-level assessment of the University’s current administrative systems and recommended strategies for future improvements.Current EnvironmentFinancial Management System: UMES uses the University of Maryland College Park’s (UMCP) FRS system to handle its financial management computing needs. Since this is currently a standalone system, all financial data is inputted by UMES personnel via desktops using WRQ Reflections terminal server software. In order to create financial reports, UMES administrators use a report writer application called ProWeb to access a UMCP-created Oracle data warehouse. Although not currently accessible, another report writer called Focus is obtainable from UMCP that directly accesses the FRS mainframe computer. Currently, there have been no requests for IT support regarding tailored financial reports.Student SystemsStudent Information System (SIS): Replacing a non Year 2000 compliant application, the SIS was implemented in December 1999 and has caused a significant backlog of support requests. Issues include lost reporting capabilities, data inaccuracies, and other functionality related problems. Developed by the Computing Options Company (COCO), the University’s SIS application is written in COBOL and runs on a HP 3000E mainframe computer with a MPE Operating System. Users access SIS via desktop computers and Reflections terminal server software, and they view ASCII menus that are tailored based on security profiles. Data is stored in a hierarchical “image SQL compliant” database that was supplied with the HP 3000E system. The SIS application contains the following modules of functionality: Grades, Degree Audit, Advisement, Curriculum Management, Admissions, Registration, and Housing. To date, neither the Degree Audit nor the Advisement modules have been used due to system problems. Since the current SIS only contains approximately half of the previous system’s reports, IT staff are developing a data warehouse to provide custom or user generated reports. UMES recently contracted with COCO to enhance their SIS product based on a list of unfulfilled user requirements. All of the COCO software modifications are expected by September 2000.
53 VIII. Administrative Computing continued Student Systems continuedStudent Aid Financial Evaluation & Recordkeeping System (SAFERS): This COCO application is fully integrated with the SIS application and resides on the HP 3000E system. Similar to the SIS, data is stored in a hierarchical database on the mainframe system. SAFERS contains the following modules of functionality: Student Need Analysis, Direct Lending and Award Packaging.Student Online Accounts Receivable (SOAR): This COCO product is fully integrated with both the SIS and SAFERS applications, and resides on the HP 3000E system. Application data is also stored in a common database with the SAFERS data. SOAR contains the following modules of functionality: Accounts Receivables Posting, Student Billing and Refund Checks.Housing Application: This is a newly developed COCO application that is fully integrated with the SIS and resides on the HP 3000E system. Different from the other COCO products, users view this application via a Window’s interface using a COCO tailored client-server application located on a UMES LAN server.iAmecs System: UMES has installed the RCI iAmecs system which provides an effective campus control and debit system for University personnel. The system components consist of a personal computer, application software, a MS Access 2000 database located on a UMES LAN server, various card readers, dedicated wiring that connects the computer and the card readers, and the campus ID cards. Each ID card has two computer strips that allow for electronic payment towards vending machines, laundry machines, copiers, dining hall meals, University Bookstore items, etc., as well as admittance to school facilities and activities (e.g., student government elections). Purchases that debit from Hawke Express Accounts are adjusted on the system database whereas vending machine purchases are reflected directly on the card’s magnetic strip. For account verification at the beginning of each semester, the system administrator imports SIS data onto the iAmecs database by running a UMES developed Access macro.Student Phone Management System: UMES is in the process of replacing its outdated student phone management system with a Bitek Telecommunications Management System (BTMS). This new digital system will include a primary management computer (NT Server with Oracle) and an accompanying web server to allow for improved student access to phone account information. Similar to the legacy system, the BTMS will enable on campus students to connect with one of 48 outside lines for local or long distance calls and appropriately debit their phone accounts. Although independent from the iAmecs system, students are able to add funds to their phone account via on campus vending machines using their ID cards.
54 VIII. Administrative Computing continued Human Resources System: This application was developed by the University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB) and resides on UMES’ HP 3000E system. UMB is responsible for all application maintenance, but UMES must make minor adjustments to integrate any UMB-supplied COBOL code updates. Users access the system via Reflections terminal software. UMES anticipates replacing this legacy system in September 2001 with the planned installation of UMCP’s HRS system.Payroll System: The current payroll system is provided by UMCP, but there is no UMES online mechanism to input payroll data. UMCP periodically provides UMES with payroll paperwork that either gets handwritten adjustments or simply signed-off. This paperwork is then returned to UMCP for system updates, and UMES maintains paper copies. This system will be replaced as part of the planned HRS implementation.Alumni System: UMES uses an alumni system that is provided by the USM. It is accessed via terminal server software and appears to satisfy UMES’ requirements.Travel & Procurement: Currently, there are no automated systems to handle these administrative functions.Summary Diagram: The diagram on the following page depicts the current Administrative Computing environment. It shows the minimal relationships among the various applications.
55 VIII. Administrative Computing continued The following represents the current UMES’ administrative computing systems environment.HP 3000E ApplicationsUMCP ApplicationsFinancialManagementSystemPayrollSystemHumanResourcesSystemHousingModuleSISOther ApplicationsStudent PhoneManagementSystemSAFERS /SOARiAmecsSystemAlumniSystem
56 VIII. Administrative Computing continued FindingsFinancial Management & Human Resources Systems1. Key administrative systems are not integrated: UMES’ current SIS is integrated with the financial aid, housing, and accounts receivable applications. However, the human resources and financial management applications are separate, non-integrated administrative systems. Administrative burden and accuracy would be significantly improved with an integrated solution. While the current financial management system and future human resource system are located at the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP), UMES should seriously investigate whether its administrative commonality lies with a large, Land-Grant institution or several smaller USM institutions.Student Systems2. SIS functional requirements are not being met: UMES’ current SIS application was predominately designed for and tested by two year colleges and was not completely adapted for UMES’ needs when implemented. For instance, problems have occurred regarding registration and billing when students have signed up for collaborative university courses (e.g., Salisbury State University courses). Another registration problem is the allowance of departments to easily override the maximum number of students for a given class. Also, UMES has a policy that credits students with their highest grade for classes attended multiple times, but the current SIS only credits the last grade received. There is also a backlog of requested administrative reports that the current SIS cannot currently produce but were provided with the previous system. Since the Degree Audit and Advisement modules cannot be used, numerous faculty have been forced to create their own graduation auditing and other student management tools. Finally, this system cannot produce a seal that should be placed on every UMES transcript. Some or all of these functionality requirements will be addressed in the contracted SIS upgrade expected in September Along with SIS issue resolutions, faculty and administrators also want to replace some existing manual processes. Currently, students must register for all classes at their respective academic department’s site, grades are still posted on instructor’s doors, and required University reports are being generated manually without computing system audits and verifications.
57 VIII. Administrative Computing continued Student Systems continued3. SIS information is not completely accurate: Most of the interviewed faculty had serious concerns about the accuracy of stored or calculated SIS data. For example, there have been sporadic problems of graduate students being changed to undergraduate status and billed accordingly. Graduate transcripts have included undergraduate grades as part of the graduate GPA. Transfer students have had their core classes shown as electives. Situations have occurred where two different people look at the same student information but see different data. There have been situations where students were mistakenly assigned or omitted from classes due to suspected SIS issues.4. SIS effectiveness may be reduced due to user screens and untrained staff: According to the interviewed faculty, SIS user training was minimal and not properly tailored. Additionally, the use of old style, non-windows like SIS user screens has made learning and usage more difficult.5. The HP 3000E’s MPE operating system is unique at UMES: In order to operate the HP 3000E system, UMES must have a skilled MPE staff member to maintain it. Since no other UMES system has this OS and fewer MPE knowledgeable professionals (compared to UNIX or NT) exist overall, maintenance risk and resource inefficiencies could exist.6. The current number of outside phone lines for on campus students may be insufficient: With approximately 1500 on campus students and only 48 off campus phone lines, there’s a reasonable likelihood that students will have to wait for phone service or use pay phones instead. Students with their own personal computers may also be drawn towards internet phone alternatives.Other Systems7. Some administrative functions still involve manual processes: Neither the travel approval nor the procurement processes have dedicated IT systems or applications supporting them. However, and some MS Office applications are typically used.
58 VIII. Administrative Computing continued RecommendationsFinancial Management & Human Resources Systems1. Consider a Long-term Transition to an ERP System: If the University successfully implements a SIS ERP application, UMES should consider transitioning towards ERP financial and human resources applications as well. While there are benefits to remaining allied with UMCP’s financial systems, the benefits of an integrated USM financial system could outweigh those regarding Land-Grant commonality. Also, UMES’ plans to implement the UMCP HRS should not necessarily preclude a strategic move to integrate its administrative system.Student Systems2a. Conduct a Formal Requirements Analysis Relative to SIS: Although some analysis occurred before and after the COCO SIS product implementation, a formal and in-depth SIS requirements analysis needs to take place. As a result, UMES will have an agreed upon, prioritized baseline set of requirements that will support future system upgrade or replacement decisions. Proper participation and review by UMES customers is essential to the development of meaningful requirements.2b. Participate in the USM ERP Project: Given the number of difficulties and complaints associated with the current SIS, UMES should proactively target an integrated replacement system that meets its requirements and leverages efforts of similar USM universities. The USM ERP project provides an opportunity to meet this target at potentially reduced costs. Early participation reduces the cost risk associated with any UMES unique requirements.3. Validate SIS Data: There were a number of complaints voiced concerning incorrect SIS data (e.g., ‘bad’ transcripts). Apparently limited or no data conversion verification occurred while phasing out the legacy SIS application. A determination as to whether the current SIS data is corrupted or if the new SIS simply displays calculation errors needs to take place.4a. Verify that SIS users are properly trained: Although prior training and experience has probably given SIS users their necessary skills, IT personnel should verify this. Additional or refresher training could be beneficial to users and prevent potential Help Desk calls.
59 VIII. Administrative Computing continued Student Systems continued4b. Consider Purchasing COCO’s Tailored Client-server Applications for SIS, SAFERS, and SOAR: Similar to the Housing application, COCO recently developed windows interface applications for the SIS, SAFERS, and SOAR products. UMES should investigate the short or long-term benefits of implementing these client-server applications, keeping in mind the cost of additional training and software as well as upcoming plans for SIS replacement.5. Investigate the Benefits of Switching to a UNIX based Administrative Computer: If UMES chooses an ERP system, it will likely be hosted on a UNIX platform. Since the HP3000E uses an MPE operating system, several IT staff members have considered a switch to UNIX. Prior to making such a decision, cost and support requirements should be carefully considered against any perceived benefits.6. Provide an Appropriate Number of Outside Phone Lines for On Campus Students: An analysis should be performed to determine the appropriate number of outside lines needed.Other Systems7. Investigate the benefits of automating the travel approval and procurement processes: To aim towards a paperless and more efficient administrative environment, consider automating these processes.
60 IX. Infrastructure & Communications As the demand for campus technology has increased, the UMES infrastructure has become a critical element of the University. UMES personnel use the internet, desktop applications, and shared files to perform their daily work. Therefore, it is imperative that the UMES infrastructure is technically current, accessible, well protected, and scalable. The following provides a high-level assessment of the University’s current infrastructure and communications systems and offers recommended strategies for future improvements.TodayNo Internal Network SecurityWater Sensitive CablingIndividually Controlled PrintersMinimal Usage by StudentsCritical Components Without RedundancyNetworkServersRedundancySecurity & Back-upTelephonesCableComputersPeripheralsApplicationsLocal Area NetworkCommunicationsDesktop ComputersMonitored & Secure NetworkRedundant Servers & Network LinksCentralized Servers & Back-upEarly Upgrade to Utility ManholesTransition to Network PrintersColor Printing CapabilitiesCommon ApplicationsFuture
61 IX. Infrastructure and Communications As the demand for campus technology has increased, the UMES infrastructure has become a critical element of the University. UMES personnel use the internet, desktop applications, , and shared files to perform their daily work. A lengthy failure of the campus infrastructure could result in significant wasted time and possible loss of information. Therefore, it is imperative that the UMES infrastructure is technically current, accessible, well protected, and scalable.Current EnvironmentLocal Area NetworkBasic Network Infrastructure: The LAN’s central hub is located in the Telecommunications Room at J. T. Williams Hall, and the network architecture is basically a star configuration that emanates from this building. Most of the campus buildings are physically “wired”, but some are receiving wireless LAN connections to avoid the high costs of digging up existing parking lots. LAN drops are available in most academic classrooms, and all campus dormitories and apartments should have LAN access in the Fall 2000 semester. UMES is also upgrading many of its primary network components such as the 3Com 9000 and A mix of LAN connection speeds exists between the hub and its interfacing servers. UMES dramatically improved its internet speed and bandwidth with the incorporation of a DS3 connection to Baltimore. However, since it passes through Salisbury State University (SSU), UMES must share some of the available bandwidth. Unfortunately, the IT Support Group lacks the skilled resources to restrict network bandwidth on a port by port basis. The existing UMES network is illustrated on the following page.Back-up & Restore: Most of the UMES campus computing devices are de-centrally located and maintained. Some, and hopefully all, of the IT support staff maintaining them are performing a local (or network) backup of the devices’ stored data. However, they may not be periodically testing the back-up data’s restore capabilities onto the original machines. It is also possible that a second set of tape backups is not being made in all cases. If not, there’s always the risk that a bad tape might fail the restoration process. It is also unclear whether all back-up media is stored away from the immediate area of the machines being backed-up. If, for instance, the damage to the machine is caused by fire, then the backup tapes will likely be destroyed as well. Finally, many of the UMES back-up tapes have handwritten labels and are loaded manually in the storage device. Such a process is prone to human error and may result in unidentified or mislabeled tapes.
62 IX. Infrastructure and Communications continued UMES Campus LAN
63 IX. Infrastructure and Communications continued Network Servers: Aside from the UMES1 server, which has Windows 2000, all of the primary campus servers have Microsoft NT 4.0 SP6 operating systems.UMES4Faculty and Staff File and Application server, primary DNS and DHCP serverCompaq 5500384 MB RAM63 GB Disk4 P Pro 200 CPUsRAID 5, UPSUMES1Secondary DNS server, backup server for Academic Computing areaGateway PII 266256 MB RAM6 GB DiskUMES3System Management Server running MS SMS 2.0 and SQL 7.036 GB DiskUMES5Faculty and Staff Server, running Exchange 5.5Compaq 5500256 MB RAM18 GB DiskRAID 5, UPSUMES6IT Resource ServerGateway PII 2666 GB DiskWBSERVER2Campus WebserverCompaq 25002 P Pro 200 CPUsBLAHNetwork Monitoring ServerBIRDStudent File Server?????? MB RAM?? GB DiskSCHOLARSStudent Server?? GB Disk RAID 5, UPS??????WILLIAMSSpecial Purpose Server (Access & Retention Program)
64 IX. Infrastructure and Communications continued Security & Virus Protection: Currently, UMES has a PIX FireWall that protects the network from outside entry. However, there is no internal security mechanism within the UMES LAN. Additionally, the UMES network administrators neither have the tools nor skills to monitor the network traffic. Regarding virus protection, most campus computers are installed with McAfee AntiVirus software, and they receive updated signatures on a regular basis. However, some student lab computers have Norton AntiVirus software.Redundancy: Due to the network’s starred configuration, all campus network lines represent single points of failure. Additionally, none of the critical servers (e.g. primary and servers) listed on the previous page have full redundancy. Primary system protection involves the RAID and UPS systems as well as back-up tapes.Desktop Computers and Peripherals: Although a comprehensive investigation of personal IT equipment capability was not conducted for this plan, sufficient interview information leads to a number of general observations. Practically all UMES faculty and staff have their own desktop computer systems, representing a mixture of modern and outdated student lab “retreads” as well as some new equipment. Student labs normally receive new desktop computers annually, and the replaced systems are given to faculty and staff for three years. This rotation, however, did not occur last year since new lab computers were not purchased. When provided directly to faculty, new desktop computers are normally paid for by grant or departmental funding. Most users also have their own printers and some have scanners and specialized equipment for research purposes.All students can get a UMES account upon request. Due to LAN security concerns, students have an system that is separate from faculty and staff. Although currently using Imail, which has been fairly easy to maintain but provides limited capabilities, students will soon transition to MS Exchange mail. However, because students often must use slow dial up connections to their accounts and UMES usually disables student accounts at the end of every semester, students have resorted to using a variety of commercial Internet Solution Providers such as AOL and Mindspring. The faculty and staff are on Exchange, but some do not use this medium of communication, and most do not realize that they can access their UMES Exchange mail account via the Web. The lack of limitations on the size of accounts has also left the system open to abuse. Since the faculty and students have separate mail systems, find and global address list functions cannot be used between them, although limited listserve workarounds have been created.
65 IX. Infrastructure and Communications continued Phone & Cable Systems: UMES recently installed a the NEC 2400 IMX phone system that handles both digital and analog phones. For voic , UMES uses the Active Voice Reparte` system which generally works as intended. All of the on campus student rooms and faculty/staff offices have telephones and voic . However, long periods of rain frequently result in inoperable phones, mostly likely caused by the flooding of utility manholes where junctions exist. Problems are also reported with radio interference on some telephone lines as well as delayed phone service requests for additional phone lines. The cable system, as described in the Research and Outreach Computing section, has its hub located in the WESM building. Comcast Cable transmissions are received via a satellite antenna and sent to all on campus student rooms and most classrooms. Classrooms and the Digital Studio also have return channels for broadcasting out to other viewers.Remote Access: There are three different areas that provide modems for remote dial-up capability, but they are all low speed, kbps units. The largest bank of dial-up modems only contains 14 units. Supporting a population of approximately 3000 students, 260 faculty, and 560 staff, these modems do not meet the needs of UMES computer users. During interviews, students voiced consistent complaints regarding computer modem inaccessibility. To improve this situation for half of the student body, IT support staff are providing direct LAN access to all campus dormitories and apartment buildings. In the near future, they are also consolidating and increasing the number of LAN modems available.
66 IX. Infrastructure and Communications continued FindingsLocal Area Network1. Adding wireless connections to the UMES LAN is cost effective and flexible: Due to the relationship of FibrePlus with the State of Maryland, competitive wireless rates appear cheaper and more flexible than traditional cable connections in certain circumstances. Characteristics include required digging of large concrete areas, connections to buildings with fewer network nodes and no primary server systems, and connectivity for laptop computers within the campus.2. IT staff cannot monitor and control network traffic: Currently, UMES Network administrators cannot monitor or control network activity due lack of appropriate tools and skills. With such a capability, IT staff cannot appropriately protect against high volume network activity that could impact all users.3. Decentralized back-up processes are prone to errors: Since no officially documented back-up procedures exist and back-up occurs in a decentralized manner, the likelihood of a successful restoration process is unclear. Periodic testing of system restore capabilities (using back-up data) may not be occurring. Creation of secondary back-up tapes is also not occurring in all cases as well. It is also unclear whether all back-up media is stored away from the immediate area of the machines being backed-up. If not, fire or water damage could potentially destroy equipment and their backup tapes. Finally, many of the UMES back-up tapes have handwritten labels and are loaded manually in the storage device. Such a process is prone to human error and may result in unidentified or mislabeled tapes.4. A lack of internal security leaves UMES vulnerable to unauthorized network access: Although UMES protects against external threats, nothing protects UMES from within the campus. Therefore, anyone with a laptop on campus can plug into and have access to the UMES LAN. This can pose a significant risk if someone with malicious intent wanted to target assets on the LAN.5. Virus protection is not well supported in Student Labs: While the majority of campus computers have McAffee Antivirus software, student lab computers have a mixture of antivirus software. Based on complaints during student interviews, lab computers with Norton Antivirus frequently have viruses due to a lack of virus signatures updates.6. Minimal Redundancy Exists For Critical Network Connections: If any one of the physical links between J.T. Williams and a particular building were severed, that building would no longer have LAN access. Also, without back-up servers for critical University systems, a major server failure (non including power or hard drive failures) would result in significant functionality loss.
67 IX. Infrastructure and Communications continued FindingsDesktop Computers and Peripherals7. PC rotations may provide faculty and staff with outdated equipment: While a three-year PC rotation is consistent with many other institutions, UMES faculty and staff receive equipment that is already one year old. Therefore, computers are typically four years old when swapped with lab machines. Also, no computer rotations occurred last year, making some users hold computers for five years.8. Many faculty and staff have their own desktop printers: Since many users have their own printers, much fewer network printers are available. This requires IT staff to maintain more equipment and provides users with less capable and slower printers.9. The UMES Print Shop cannot print in color: Whenever anyone requires a color brochure or large numbers of color prints, a drive to Salisbury is required.10. Students and faculty rarely communicate together via Although regularly used by most faculty and staff, is not an integral method of communication between students and faculty members. According to USM administrators, students typically use personal accounts rather than UMES provided ones.11. accounts have no memory restrictions: UMES personnel are never warned or limited regarding the size of accounts. If not properly monitored and controlled, server hard drive issues could occur over time.Phone & Cable System:12. UMES utility manholes do not adequately protect University wiring: It has been determined that flooded manholes have caused phone issues throughout the campus. These manholes allow for access to utility junctions.Remote Access13. Modem pools are decentralized and insufficient: One of the most noted student concerns was the inaccessibility of UMES modems. Unless attempted during odd or late hours of the day, students could not connect to the University modems via their personal computers. Difficulties have occurred due to an overall shortage of modems and the fact that modem pools are decentralized. Students currently do not have access to all modem pools. Finally, the UMES modems are slower than today’s 56 kbps. Standard.
68 IX. Infrastructure and Communications continued RecommendationsLocal Area Network1. Continue Expanding the Campus Wireless Technology: For those buildings on campus that would require expensive digging through existing parking lots, wireless connectivity should be considered. Also, wireless network access for both classroom and campus grounds use should be considered. Antennas could be placed on Nettle Hall that provide wireless LAN connectivity to the rest of the campus backbone.2. Monitor Network Traffic: Network monitoring tools, along with appropriate training, should be provided so that UMES Network administrators can monitor the campus network traffic and take corrective actions as required. With the new tools and skills the network administrators would be able to segregate the network into sub-nets where very high bandwidth tasks (network gaming) could be isolated from the rest of the campus backbone.3a. Centralize Network Infrastructure & Backup Processes: To the greatest extent possible, all computing machines and their related backup servers and storage media devices should be co-located in a Data Center. This will ensure that the same good high quality processes and procedures are followed for the backup of all the data stored in this central facility.3b. Consider Purchasing New Backup Management Software: The use of a backup management software package such as Legato should be utilized to automate the backup process and eliminate any need for human intervention once timing and schedule of each system connected to the backup server is configured . On occasion, new blank tapes will need to be loaded into the tape storage device while removing the full tapes to a remote location. A compatible tape storage device like a DLT unit will be able to read the bar codes on the tapes themselves and record what data is stored on each tape, eliminating the possibility of unlabeled or mislabeled tapes. A dedicated backup server is recommended to perform these tasks to provide a centralized view of the status and progress of any past or on-going backup/restore.4. Guard Against Unauthorized Use of LAN: UMES should implement some form of network security. LAN users should be required to register their device’s (e.g., laptop or desktop computer) network interface card (NIC) MAC address. This program would assure that all active LAN users would be known to the network administrators, helping to mitigate the unauthorized use of the LAN.
69 IX. Infrastructure and Communications continued Local Area Network continued5. Correct all Student Lab virus issues: IT staff should ensure that all UMES computers are virus free, and that standardized protective software (with up-to-date virus signatures)and virus cleansing procedures are in place.6. Incorporate Redundancy For Critical Network Connections: Single points of failure should be eliminated from the UMES LAN, assuming elements are viewed as a “mission critical” component of the Technical Infrastructure. One approach to resolving the current situation is to link the existing buildings directly to each other. In other words, link the points of the star emanating from J. T. Williams to each of their neighboring points. To protect critical servers and applications beyond power disruption or hard drive failures, targeted back-up servers should be installed. This will require a clustered NT server configuration for both UMES4 and both Exchange mail servers, as illustrated below.HA ClusterHA Cluster
70 IX. Infrastructure and Communications continued Desktop Computers and Peripherals7. Closely monitor the age and capabilities of desktop equipment: IT staff should assess the condition and capabilities of the desktop computer inventory annually. This could be accomplished by keeping good accounting records, auditing resources, and requesting feedback from UMES personnel. Results of this information, along with industry and UMES technology standards, should be discussed during annual planning and budgeting meetings.8. Transition Towards Network Printers: As new printers are requested, UMES should begin replacing older personal units with faster, more capable network equipment. This would improve the University’s printing options (including color), printer redundancy, fewer units to maintain, and better quality.9. Consider adding color printing capabilities at the Print Shop: UMES should assess the actual color copying needs of the University and then balance the costs and benefits against it. Given the recent drop in color printer prices, however, reasonably high quality equipment is much more affordable.10. Enable more effective Usage between and among faculty and students: UMES must increase its accessibility for all students so that faculty can confidently require and expect students to be on line at least once daily. To make communication more effective amongst students and faculty, students should be placed on a common Exchange server. This would allow for seamless address searches and creation of groups (e.g., specific course or academic department groupings). Student accounts should also remain active as long as the student is registered or pre-registered for the ensuing semester; all accounts should remain active over the summer. Newly graduated alumni should be provided with an additional six months of access and support.11. Accounts Should Be Monitored: UMES should institute two account thresholds, one to warn that the person is approaching the maximum storage space size and corrective action is needed (e.g., storing old mail to tape or to another storage medium) and the second threshold to disallow the sending of new until the storage space problem is corrected.Phone & Cable System:12. Consider an Accelerated Upgrade of the UMES Utility Manholes: Given the utility issues associated with manhole flooding, UMES should consider re-engineering them to ensure that either flooding can’t occur or won’t affect the utilities.
71 IX. Infrastructure and Communications continued Remote Access13a. Centralize the Modem Pools: All dial-up modem units should be combined into a centralized communications center to ensure ease of servicing, assessing system health, and servicing a dramatically expanded demand by faculty, staff, and students. UMES should also increase the number of dial-up modems and get newer models with faster connection speeds.13b. Consider Alternative Remote Access Services: As the cost of maintaining direct dial-up connections grow, UMES should consider using Independent Service Providers (ISPs) or setting up a VPN server to provide remote users with a local number to gain access to the UMES LAN. UMES does not presently have the number of remote users required to make such systems programmatically beneficial and financially feasible, but future growth in research and outreach program may make this a desirable approach in the future.
72 X. Technology Management & Support Services Leadership at all University levels share responsibility for understanding and promoting the role that technology will play at UMES. In order to achieve the University’s IT Vision, the following areas must be addressed appropriately by UMES administrators:Vision• IT Organization• Customer Relationship Mgmt.• Planning• Policies and Procedures• IT Training• Funding• Help Desk and Support ServicesIT Infrastructure & SystemsIT Requirements & Functional UseSupportManagement
73 X. Technology Management & Support Services Leadership at all University levels shares responsibility for understanding and promoting the role that technology will play at UMES. The University community is looking to the president, vice presidents, and deans to provide direction for an information strategy that will enhance UMES’ reputation, technical infrastructure, technical services, online research and scholarly communication, and administrative assistance. This can be accomplished by having an effective IT organization, superior customer relations, coordinated IT planning, documented IT policies and procedures, high quality user training, and sufficient funding.Current EnvironmentIT Support Organization: The newly established Office of Information Technology and Outreach (OITO) encompasses Information Technology, Outreach, and the AIT Center. This office provides the largest dedicated IT support group within UMES and maintains the University's academic computer labs, administrative systems, network and communication systems, web servers, and most of the desktop computer equipment. The two other units providing IT support--the library and residential life -- maintain their respective organization’s IT operations only. The following chart describes the high-level UMES IT support organization:Current Information Technology Support StructureUMES PresidentOffice ofAcademic AffairsOffice ofAdmin AffairsOffice ofIT & OutreachLibrary ITSupport StaffResidential LifeIT Support StaffInformationTechnologyAIT CenterAdmin ComputingStaffAcademic ComputingStaffInfrastructureSupport Staff
74 X. Technology Management & Support Services continued IT Support Staff & Skills: UMES has some talented and dedicated staff supporting the various UMES IT systems. However, many IT support groups are unable to handle the current and anticipated UMES IT requirements and therefore spend very little time on proactive efforts such as planning and system tuning. This is due to a combination of factors including a shortage of support staff, a lack of several skill sets, the de-centralization of IT staff, and minimal prioritization of services. Below describes the current IT support for the various functional areas.Instructional Computing SupportClassroom Instructional Technology: While the IT Help Desk may be called to assist with IT issues, there is no regular maintenance or central accounting for “smart” equipment nor any immediate support. IVN support is provided by one staff member who is responsible for all UMES network connections.Instructional Technology Tools: There is one IT staff member who maintains the web server full time and assists with some web page design. Another IT support associate teaches and assists faculty with instructional courseware design on a full time basis.Student Computer Labs and Accounts: There is one full time Instructional Computing staff member that manages and maintains three Kiah Hall student labs, several student servers, and all student LAN and accounts. There is also one Kiah Hall lab assistant position that is covered by four students this year. The remaining academic computer labs are supported by regular desktop support personnel.Residence Life Computers: One full time staff member provides IT support for all of the Residential Life computers. The eight Residential Life student labs currently have 25 student assistants that provide nearly 100% coverage, although past years have had as many as 32 students.Library Resources: Three full time IT personnel support the Library’s IT equipment, but only one has any significant IT skills or training.
75 X. Technology Management & Support Services continued Research & Outreach Computing SupportAIT Center: Since this center’s startup phase is just beginning, no dedicated on campus IT staff have been assigned to it. However, one instructional technology expert and one GIS applications expert are planned to join this unit in the near future. Additionally, plans are in place to hire 2-3 other IT professionals to spearhead the winning of new research grants and contracts.GIS Labs: As previously mentioned, UMES lacks the expertise to effectively maintain its UNIX computers. Only standard PC desktop support is provided via a Help Desk phone call. The GIS applications expert targeted for the AIT Center currently manages the GIS research lab.WESM: The radio station receives support assistance from a contracted broadcast engineer, but only provides funding for minimal support (1/4 FTE).Cooperative Extension Projects: Aside from minimal web hosting assistance, all Cooperative Extension projects currently receive contractor services.Digital Studio: There is no specialized IT support for the studio equipment, but most of it is covered by manufacturers warranties. One IT staff member provides the role of video coordinator.Administrative Computing SupportFinancial Management, Payroll, and Alumni Systems: The FMS and payroll systems are maintained by UMCP while the Alumni system is supported by the USM. However, UMES Administrative Computing staff provides any necessary interfacing support.Human Resources & Most Student Systems: The Administrative Computing unit has six IT positions dedicated to supporting the HP3000E, its operating system, and its accompanying applications. However, only two of these staff members are experienced IT professionals and one key position is unfilled. Of the two experienced staff, only one is adept with the MPE operating system and both have COBOL skills. The remaining three staff are junior programmers that require a lot of guidance and training, and are working on the SIS data warehouse project.iAmecs & Student Phone Management Systems: Both systems are primarily supported by excellent vendor maintenance agreements, but network and interface issues are handled by UMES Infrastructure staff. Additionally, database support is periodically provided by Administrative Computing IT staff.
76 X. Technology Management & Support Services continued Infrastructure & Communications SupportLocal Area Network: There are currently three full time IT personnel servicing the primary UMES LAN components: one server, one network (wired and wireless), and one web server/application support personnel. The Help Desk manager also assists with server maintenance and two students assist with network issue resolution. This group could use some training and assistance to provide a more controlled and secured network environment.Desktop Computers and Peripherals: Currently, three full time IT staff and 15 students provide assistance for most of the faculty and staff desktop computer equipment (approximately 1000 systems). They also provide support to several academic computer labs.Student accounts, as discussed in the Instructional Computer Support section, are covered by one Instructional Computer staff member. The faculty and staff mail system is managed and maintained by the full and part time server staff.Phone & Cable Systems: The phone and voic systems are currently maintained by two full time IT staff. However, these support associates are not qualified to troubleshoot problems regarding the phone switch. Although originally planned for support by the phone team, the cable system is currently maintained by the network staff.Remote Access: The one Instructional Computing staff currently supports the UMES modem pool.Common SupportHelp Desk: The help desk has one full time staff associate and a part time manager. The Help Desk manager is multi-tasked with server assistance and IT procurement handling along with normal Help Desk management responsibilities.
77 X. Technology Management & Support Services continued Help Desk: The IT Help Desk handles issues regarding computer hardware and software, network access, phone, cable, and . Its primary audience is faculty and staff, so very few students take advantage of this service. No assistance is provided for student owned computer hardware or software. The Office of Information Technology has provided a dedicated staff member to answer all IT Help Desk calls during normal business hours. After 5 PM, all calls are sent to voice mail. The Help Desk uses a tool called SupportMagic to record caller’s names, their problem, and the solution once determined. For Administrative Computing issues, UMES personnel call that IT department directly. The Help Desk has no structured method for prioritizing new and existing “trouble tickets,” and no estimated time for problem resolution is given Apparently, assistance is never or rarely provided at the time of the call. Finally, there is no mechanism for users to submit Help Desk messages via , which could be beneficial for transmitting troubleshooting data.IT Customer Relationships: UMES IT support personnel generally communicate with their customers via Help Desk calls or face-to-face interactions while correcting problems. IT executives and managers also receive feedback from their peers during campus meetings and from direct communications. As a means of providing additional information to campus users, the IT support group has an internet site that provides IT personnel contacts, /voic access procedures, computer lab locations and hours, and links to software vendors. As with many institutions or businesses, UMES customers are many times not appreciative or commending of their IT support services. This has occurred for various reasons such as late response times for problem resolutions and widespread issues surrounding the Student Information System.IT Planning & Coordination: To date, UMES has not produced any significant documentation regarding future IT requirements, future implementations, or general IT management processes. Although an IT management document was drafted in early FY00, it was never approved for use and has since been forgotten. Currently, there is no formal process for which IT requirements can be submitted, approved, and prioritized. Similarly, coordination issues exist between UMES facilities and IT personnel regarding new construction wiring and communications requirements. Aside from the 1999 UMES Strategic Plan, no long term IT planning document exists until now. However, in support of AIT Center activities, a business plan was recently created to guide future IT research and outreach education efforts. Additionally, a State funding justification document created for the renovation of two future IT buildings provides some insight into future IT plans.
78 X. Technology Management & Support Services continued IT Policies and Procedures: There are very few documented IT policies, processes, and procedures at UMES. Although none of the interviewed staff or faculty were aware of any IT policies, a “Mass ” policy does exist on the UMES web site. Student labs also have some posted rules regarding restrictions on eating and accessing potentially offensive web sites. There is also an established IT equipment procurement process with applicable procedures and administrative policies, although the paper-intensive process encourages credit card purchase of equipment below a certain level, which in turn can cause significant maintenance and technical assistance issues. To allow for home computer usage of Microsoft Office software, UMES has created a policy protecting Microsoft’s licensing agreements with the USM. However, there are no documented policies or procedures regarding physical and information security, various undesirable or illegal computer uses, common use of IT resources, or minimum hardware/software standards.IT Training & Professional Development: Overall, relatively little attention has been given to IT professional staff development. The current evaluation system and minimal training opportunities are not effectively developing the IT staff. Aside from academic courses, UMES has offered only minimal IT training opportunities to UMES faculty, staff, and students. User training has occurred when new software applications such as Microsoft Office 97 and the SIS have been implemented. However, based on interview comments, the SIS training was not properly tailored and the Microsoft Office training was not well attended. In either case, this training has not been considered for recently hired personnel. Students apparently do not receive dedicated IT orientation or Microsoft Office training unless it’s directly related to their syllabus. Although targeted to surrounding communities, UMES does offer web-based IT training on Microsoft Office, the Internet, client/server programming, and mainframe legacy applications for a $24.95 monthly fee.IT Funding: Funding is critical to the successful implementation and servicing of any UMES IT infrastructure. However, since there has been no enterprise IT planning documentation and minimal tracking of IT purchases, structured IT budgeting has been difficult. Having a newly appointed Vice President for Information Technology and Outreach should improve this situation. Thus far, UMES has been able to purchase many of the necessary hardware and software components to keep the University systems running adequately. However, funding for IT staff that maintain the University infrastructure has not kept pace. Although no analysis was performed comparing IT support funding and salaries between UMES and other institutions, such funding is significantly below that of commercial enterprises.
79 X. Technology Management & Support Services continued FindingsIT Organization1. IT support personnel are not efficiently organized: IT support personnel are currently stovepiped by the functional areas that they service. Three separate UMES organizations (Academic Affairs, Administrative Affairs, and Information Technology) provide dedicated IT services.2. IT users perceive having little input into IT decisions: There is a current perception that the faculty, staff, and student IT users do not have any input into the future direction of IT services. Users are particularly frustrated with late service responses and the decision to implement the current SIS.IT Support Staff & Skills3. IT support teams lack synergy within common skill areas: IT staff are currently located in several different buildings to provide easier access to their customers. For example, the campus servers are administrated separately by three IT personnel located in three different buildings. Such an arrangement tends to reduce team synergy and many times creates stovepiped and redundant efforts.4. Hiring and retaining IT staff has been difficult: Hiring skilled IT staff has been challenging due to heavy industry competition, UMES’ rural setting, and lower offered salaries. Additionally, as some IT staff become more skilled and valued, they tend to look elsewhere for better opportunities and salaries.5. Academic computer lab assistants are not always qualified or helpful: In the past, most student assistants were viewed as lab monitors since they provided minimal help to students and rarely corrected equipment or software issues. Additionally, some assistants have not safeguarded administrative passwords, which has resulted in various computer problems.6. Administrative Computing staff lacks necessary experience and skills: This IT team is currently having difficulty maintaining the recently implemented SIS. They are trying to react to all reported problems without the benefit of the prioritization mentioned above. It is difficult for the junior programmers, due to their lack of experience and problem diagnosis skills, to resolve issues on their own.
80 X. Technology Management & Support Services continued IT Support Staff & Skills continued7. UMES lacks UNIX, Oracle, and wireless technology skills: Approximately 18 UMES computers, most of which are very new and powerful, remain unavailable due to a lack of UNIX skills. Although a couple UMES personnel have some UNIX knowledge, none have the experience or availability to fill the University’s needs.8. Overall, UMES needs additional IT staff : Although UMES lacks some needed IT skills, the University’s reliance on part time assistance, the backlog of help requests, and the reactive (versus proactive) environment also indicate a shortage of IT personnel.Help Desk9. IT Help Desk support provides delayed service to faculty and is not available for most students: Aside from high-level University administrators, faculty complained about significantly delayed IT assistance. Most noted that the incorporation of a “live” help desk was an improvement, but IT issue resolution has not improved. Additionally, none of the interviewed undergraduate students were aware of any University IT assistance services. If they have problems with the computer lab equipment, lab assistants normally make a log entry and call for help. No dedicated assistance is provided to students for lab software questions or student-owned hardware or software.10. IT Support staff do not methodically collect, prioritize, and track IT requirements: There is currently no structured process that handles and assesses IT user needs. Without such a process, future IT systems or applications may not meet IT user expectations. The Help Desk collects and tracks user issues, but these are typically not prioritized, and they normally represent maintenance issues rather than system design changes.11. Help Desk Calls are rarely handled immediately upon receipt: The Help Desk rarely attempts to solve customer problems upon receipt of a trouble call.12. Help Desk communication is only available by phone: Most Help Desk organizations have additional methods of communicating with users such as or helpful web pages containing frequently asked questions (FAQ), frequently occurring problems, and trouble ticket status.IT Customer Relationships13. No proactive IT customer relationship management processes exist: Although OITO receives user feedback from varying sources, there is currently no proactive process to manage user expectations.
81 X. Technology Management & Support Services continued IT Planning & Coordination14. Structured and Coordinated IT Planning does not occur regularly: UMES IT support personnel spend the majority of their time “fighting fires.” Very little time is allowed for planning and implementation of planned activities.15. IT Support staff are not involved early enough in the design of new campus construction: Based on discussions with IT and physical plant staff, IT support personnel are not participating in early design discussions of campus construction projects. As a result potential delays, cost increases, or lost technology opportunities may occur during building construction.IT Policies and Procedures16. UMES lacks essential policy documentation: Unlike most other institutions, UMES does not have adequate policies covering IT usage. Additionally, there is no apparent procedure to create or update IT policies.IT Training & Professional Development17. IT Support personnel are not getting sufficient training: In order to adequately design, implement, or troubleshoot IT applications/systems in a dynamic technology environment, IT staff require periodic training to bolster their existing skills. However, UMES IT staff have received very few training opportunities and do not have a formalized skills development program.18. User Training has not been a priority: Aside from IT training that occurs within specific academic curriculums, no instructor led general IT or desktop application training (e.g., MS Office and ) exists. This many times leads to delayed learning and less effective use.IT Funding19. IT support is underfunded: Due to a shortage of funding, UMES has been faced with hiring fewer and many times less experienced IT personnel. Delayed IT service maintenance, as discussed in previous functional areas, is largely a result of this.
82 X. Technology Management & Support Services continued RecommendationsIT Organization1. Place all IT support within OITO: Although organizations, particularly large ones, sometimes prefer decentralized support organizations, UMES cannot afford to do business this way. With resource size and funding limitations, centralizing all IT resources will provide the most effective and efficient support possible. It also allows for improved coordination, efficiency, and development of IT staff. It also focuses IT support away from individual units, but for the greater university benefit.2a. Create an IT Steering Committee: Consisting of IT users and technical support leaders, the IT Steering Committee would provide IT strategic planning recommendations to the VP for OITO. Monthly discussion items would include current IT issues, prioritization, budgeting, and long term planning. Creating and empowering such a steering committee should increase user input into future IT decisions and provide synergetic IT recommendations for .2b. Create a IT Change Control Board: Chaired by the VP for OITO, the Change Control Board (CB) would manage the process of IT changes based on newly submitted functional or technical requirements. These requirements would orginate from the IT Steering Committee or individual users. This board, which should have no more than 7 members, would include representatives from OITO and selected IT Steering Committee members. End users, IT Steering Committee members, or IT staff who request a change to an existing IT system, process, or documentation would also attend. Primary CCB output would include filtering of requests, analysis of approved efforts, and prioritization.IT Support Staff & Skills: Recommendations are based on information gathered during UMES interviews, knowledge of best practices, and comparisons of peer four-year institutions (see Appendix 2).3. Create a centralized support services organization within OITO: In order to provide more flexible and efficient IT support, currently de-centralized staff should be relocated to a central area. Personnel performing similar roles should form teams to synergistically troubleshoot issues, plan for future activities, and back-up one another. For example, assuming OITO controls all of the IT support staff (see Organization recommendation above), the systems administration support team would now grow to three full and two part time staff. Although still committed to the same customers, this centralized team would likely create improved and integrated solutions. The following charts describe the recommended teams, their general responsibilities, and their current staff count assuming recommendation #1 above takes place.
83 UMES Shared Services Support Teams RESPONSIBILITIESCURRENTSTAFFING COUNTNetwork Wiring & Interfacing EquipmentWireless Networking SystemsExternal Network Security (Firewalls)DS3 and Other External ConnectionsNetwork Monitoring1 Full Time2 StudentsNetwork SupportAll Network Server Maintenance & MonitoringAll Network AccountsAll AccountsSystems Admin for Non-Desktop SystemsCampus Back-up & RestoreSystems Administration3 Full Time2 Part TimeFaculty, Staff, and Student Desktop ComputersStudent Lab Desktop ComputersResidential Life ComputersLibrary Desktop ComputersStudent-owned Computers (limited support)5 Full Time29 StudentsDesktop ComputersPhone Systems MaintenanceCable TV Wiring and Equipment2 Full Time1 Contract StaffPhone & CableLimited Issue Resolution via PhoneDelegating & Tracking Issue ResolutionCustomer Relationship ManagementHelp Desk1 Full Time1 Part Time
84 UMES Shared Services Support Teams RESPONSIBILITIESCONSOLIDATEDSTAFFING COUNTSIS Database ManagementSIS Report WritingSIS Data WarehousingPotential Research Project SupportPotential Database TrainingDatabase Support3 Full TimeWeb Server AdministrationUniversity Web Page DevelopmentSIS & HRS Support (COBOL, troubleshooting)Other Programming NeedsApplication Development2 Full Time1 Part TimeLong Range IT PlanningAssessment of Help Desk PerformanceBudget PlanningAdministrative Support for IT Steering Cmte.Administrative Support for IT CCB1 VP1 DirectorPlanning & AnalysisInstruction on Faculty Use of TechnologyFaculty Web Page Development AssistanceAssistance to Local K-12 School TeachersGeneral IT and Application TrainingIT Staff Professional DevelopmentInstructional Technology1 Full TimeIT TrainingNoneOps & Maintenance Support to Digital StudioEngineering Support to WESMIVN Support1 Full Time1/4 Contract StaffVideo & Audio Services
85 X. Technology Management & Support Services continued IT Support Staff & Skills continued4a. Create a three year staffing plan: To keep pace in an ever changing IT environment, UMES should build an effective staff comprised of both continuing personnel (people who know UMES’ systems and culture) and new personnel (people familiar with leading edge technologies). Creating a long range staffing plan, which focuses on current and projected needs, should help identify staffing shortfalls. This plan should also consider hiring and retention strategies such as valuable IT training opportunities and free university courses.4b. Consider using Contractor Services for specialty areas or for short-term projects to supplement existing staff: UMES needs additional IT staff and skills to adequately perform its IT support role. Due to recruiting, funding, and timing issues, UMES would likely benefit from the use of contracted IT personnel who would supplement and possibly train University staff. Their use also sheds performance risk onto them and allows for more immediate support to critical IT areas while recruiting efforts continue.5. Hire Knowledgeable, Trainable, and Reliable Student Assistants for Student Labs: Student assistantships provide valuable training and financial support. However, to continue the student assistant program requires more rigorous student training and expectations. In addition, these assistants should have expanded roles to include modest computer lab equipment maintenance and functional assistance of standard UMES desktop applications to student users.6. Prioritize and Adequately Support Administrative Computing Efforts: At present, it appears that the entire Administrative Computing staff is devoted to the SIS. While that might be necessary now, OITO should consider having fewer but more experienced IT staff supporting this business critical application. OITO should also re-evaluate the quantity and type of skills necessary to support future Administrative systems.7a. Hire or Contract UNIX Expertise: UMES has enough UNIX equipment to warrant the need for a UNIX expert. If hiring a new IT staff member is delayed for funding or recruiting difficulties, the short term use of contractor expertise is recommended. An alternative would be the hiring of a UNIX knowledgeable faculty member who could provide staff with practical training and students with academic instruction. Over time, UNIX expertise may be necessary for future administrative systems as well.
86 X. Technology Management & Support Services continued IT Support Staff & Skills continued7b. Hire an Oracle Expert: This individual should be experienced with both Oracle and MS Access in order to assist with the SIS data warehousing effort and report writing capabilities. To jumpstart efforts, the use of contractor services should also be considered. Support for UMES’ recently purchased student phone management system, which uses an Oracle database, could also be provided. Additionally, the anticipated USM ERP, targeted to replace the current SIS, stores its data in an Oracle database. Finally, future AIT Center projects could benefit from or require the services of an Oracle database expert.7c. Hire a full time Broadcast Engineer: The hiring of a full time broadcast engineer would likely benefit WESM, the digital studio, and efforts to implement wireless networks for campus and Outreach projects.8. Proposed IT Support Staff Additions:
87 X. Technology Management & Support Services continued Help Desk continued9. Create a Centralized Help Desk With Expanded Service Hours: The Help Desk should assure consistent professional tracking and closeout of all problems across the University and for all constituencies, including students. With the addition of network drops in the residence halls, a need for expanded operational hours will increase, especially during peak periods (e.g., midterms and finals). A separate call-in number and address should be considered for students.10. Prioritize Help Desk Issues With Estimated Time of Repairs Given : For Help Desk requests that cannot be addressed within a few minutes, IT staff should establish a set of business rules to prioritize them. These rules should be based on the following factors: the number of users impacted, the problem’s elapsed time, the problem’s business impact, and the caller’s position. The Help Desk should also record and analyze “trouble ticket” data in order to determine issue resolution trends. Such information, along with a request’s order in the priority queue, would allow Help Desk operators to provide users with a problem resolution time estimate. New Help Desk software may be required to accomplish this efficiently.11a. Provide Some Problem Resolution At Time of Help Desk Call: The IT staff should evaluate and procure a Help Desk support package with internet functionality and a built-in knowledge base for Microsoft Products to facilitate the likelihood of problem resolution on the first call and not having to delegate the problem to Level 1 or Level 2 support.11b. Explore a Consolidated USM Help Desk: UMES should explore with other USM institutions the benefits of a centralized or outsourced Help Desk to avoid staff redundancy and dilution of hard-to-attract IT staff. The centralized staff would be trained to answer the most frequently requested problems, redirect issues that are UMES-specific (e.g., a local connection issue), and direct more difficult packaged or common system software problems to appropriate resolution channels.12a. Create a Help Desk Account: An help desk account should be set up to allow UMES users an opportunity to describe detailed problem descriptions and diagnostics to the Help Desk staff. Such information could reduce problem resolution time for the support technicians.12b. Provide a Web Page Showing Help Desk Ticket Status and FAQ: OITO should establish a Help Desk Web page that displays trouble ticket status and associated technician notes. For this to work efficiently, an interface to the existing or future Help Desk software would be necessary. An additional web page feature should include helpful information such as average repair time metrics, weekly IT support accomplishments and difficulties, and commonly asked or occurring problems along with their solutions.
88 X. Technology Management & Support Services continued Help Desk Process Flow: Users will have a combination of User Documentation, UMES Help Desk, and IT Analysts to resolve IT-related problems.User DocumentationOn-line process and system documentationQuick reference system documentationIssueResolvedUMES IT Shared Services Support1IssueResolvedITApplicationsServices4a99%3a20%ITFunctional ServicesITTechnicalServicesUsersExistingITHelp Desk80%23bProvide UMES functional, applications, and technical expertiseAble to resolve the majority of problemsStaffed by IT support members with pagersFacultyStaffStudentsResolve approximately 20% of IT issues (e.g., applications, servers, workstations, and networks) during phone callPass on Issues to Shared Support ExpertsAs the quality of IT infrastructure and support services continues to improve, the Help Desk support should aim to handle 80% of all issues by phone.1%4bMicrosoft or other Vendor Help DeskLast line of defenseResolve issues requiring greater expertise than that of UMES Help Desk and IT Support staffContacted by Users or IT Support & Help Desk staffIssueResolved5
89 X. Technology Management & Support Services continued IT Customer Relationships13a. Manage customer expectations effectively: As a support organization, the Office of Information Technology needs to be very sensitive to its customers’ needs and manage their expectations appropriately. Although immediate IT issue resolution is optimal, a realistic method to manage customer expectations is through periodic communications. In the Help Desk discussion, there are several recommendations that would improve customer’s awareness of IT status and the efforts/benefits of IT support personnel.13b. Solicit customer feedback regarding IT Services: Most proactive, customer oriented organizations incorporate feedback mechanisms to ensure sufficient quality exists, customers are satisfied, and continuous improvement processes are working. A service follow up, normally by a standard , should result from every service request. Feedback will also arrive via the IT Steering Committee.IT Planning Coordination14. Conduct periodic IT Strategy Review Sessions: As a means to encourage proactive technology planning, bi-annual or annual IT strategy review sessions should be conducted. The IT Steering Committee, along with University administrators, should participate.15. Create and enforce a process to ensure close coordination between IT and Physical Plant staff: Although extremely busy, IT and Physical Plant personnel need to closely work together at times. To ensure this occurs, a process needs to be established and enforced. One option is to require the VP for IT’s signature on critical construction documents that are submitted to external authorities.IT Policies and Procedures: The development and broad awareness of various IT policies and procedures are necessary to ensure adequate protection, coordination, efficiency, and effectiveness of UMES IT resources. These policies should be reviewed regularly by the IT Change Control Board and updated appropriately. Additionally, an electronic suggestion box ( account) should be established for potential changes to current policies and procedures.16a. Create Physical and Information Security Policies: Security is a shared responsibility among all campus personnel. However, policies should cover items that must be secured and/or monitored properly. This includes high cost items and sensitive personal information kept on UMES systems.
90 X. Technology Management & Support Services continued IT Policies and Procedures continued16b. Create Internet and Computer Use Policies: UMES should develop and widely disseminate policies that cover how faculty, staff, and students use UMES-owned computers, student-owned computers on campus, and the campus network/ /internet gateway. These policies should discuss topics such as the following: usage of software without required licenses, activities requiring excessive data transfer, computer hacking, copyright protection, immoral internet sites, virus protection, usage, and other potentially illegal or technically undesirable activities. These policies, if carefully written, will protect the University’s interests without restricting the University’s open thinking environment. It is recommended that the IT Change Control Board initiate a review of all policies on an annual basis and users should be reminded of significant policies upon network log-in.16c. Create Policies for Common Use of IT Resources: Since funding for IT equipment and software comes from varying sources, a tendency to stovepipe the use of such resources tends to occur. However, it is not in the University’s best interests to isolate such items, particularly given the rapid nature by which technology becomes outdated. Therefore, policies promoting the sharing of instructional technology resources should be produced. Additional considerations are discussed in Instructional Computing section.16d. Modify IT Equipment Procurement: The procurement process should become paperless and allow for electronic signatures. Standard peripheral configurations, along with personal computer systems, approved by the IT Support unit should be displayed on a web page. To ensure all issues such as competitive pricing, equipment commonality and connectivity, maintenance considerations, and training are adequately addressed, the IT Support unit should always be involved. For significant enhancements or replacements to key University IT assets, a full lifecycle analysis should be conducted prior to implementation. Such an analysis might involve a team with representation from the IT Support unit, the computer science department, functional customer experts, and the UMES IT Steering Committee.16e. Create Minimum Hardware/Software Standards for UMES LAN Connection: As faculty, and particularly students, increasingly connect new IT equipment into the UMES LAN, minimum hardware and software standards should be created and widely disseminated. Without some level of system configuration control, IT support personnel cannot guarantee adequate system health, performance and maintenance. For example, PC desktops should minimally have Pentium class processors, Windows 95 or better operating systems, and 32 megabytes of RAM.
91 X. Technology Management & Support Services continued IT Professional Development and Training:17. Establish a Professional Development and Training unit within OITO: A new unit should be created to manage IT staff development and train UMES personnel regarding IT. This new unit should provide the following:Regular delivery of Microsoft Office, , other information systems training related to University implementations and upgradesCoordination of instructional technology training for facultyCreation of a professional development program for all IT staff tied to the division’s strategic plan and work program priorities18a. Encourage Participation for UMES IT Applications Training: To maximize the potential benefits to users of the University’s information systems, administrators and deans should actively promote the participation of faculty and staff in IT training opportunities. This requires that OITO provides high quality training tailored to the user, along with proper reinforcement from University leadership.18b. Develop a Faculty Instructional Technology Fellows Program and Reward System: UMES leadership should create a fellows program that provides faculty release time and staff support for instructional technology enhancement of the curriculum. Faculty who participate in the fellows program should assume a mentoring role to other faculty interested in applying the instructional technologies tools and methodologies.18c. Require Training: The IT staff should provide an on-line orientation--including issues of policy, etiquette, and virus protection--for all new users signing on to the UMES system for the first time. Completion of the program could be required before the system could be used. Face-to-face support sessions should also be part of orientation programs.IT Funding19a. Create Short and Long Term IT Budgets Based on Detailed Planning: Future IT budgets should closely relate to the annual or bi-annual IT strategy review sessions. Although IT purchases occur many times from departmental or grant budgets, these items need to be considered as part of the IT budget.19b. Provide Funding for Additional Information Technology Staff: Based on analysis of the University’s plans and goals, the current IT environment, and comparisons of other four year public universities, UMES needs to invest more funding into IT support personnel. Recommended staffing changes are provided in previous sections.
92 X. Technology Management & Support Services continued IT Funding continued19c. Actively Pursue IT Research Opportunities via the AIT Center : Although the AIT Center will initially require significant funding assistance from the University, it is envisioned that research and outreach projects will ultimately self support its operations. Over time, such funding streams might be reinvested into other IT areas, including general IT support and infrastructure.19d. Increase Collaboration with other USM Institutions: Since IT revenue has not kept pace with increased IT demand, UMES should maximize its collaborative efforts with other USM institutions and other consortia. Benefits include discounted equipment and software purchases, reduced software development and training costs, and stronger lobbying efforts for State funding.
93 XI. Implementation Considerations Looking forward, UMES must prioritize the recommendations provided in earlier sections and develop an implementation plan accordingly. Below is a high level implementation schedule, grouping strategic recommendations as short term, mid term, and long term. With sufficient commitment, funding, resources,and structure, UMES’ IT environment will approach toward its IT vision.Short Term Strategies (Complete within months)Create and follow a short term implementation planIdentify and assemble IT Steering Committee and Change Control Board membersPlace all UMES IT personnel within the OITO and create both shared support services and professional development organizationsIdentify and hire/contract essential IT professionals(e.g., UNIX, Oracle, Desktop, AIT Center experts)Validate SIS dataDevelop a support prioritization methodologyJoin the USM Student Information System effort and develop SIS requirements listCorrect all safety issues associated with the WESM facilityMid Term Strategies (Complete within months)Create and follow a long term implementation and budgeting planDetermine the temporary AIT Center facility requirements, satisfy them, and occupy the facilityCreate IT policies, procedures, and internal UMES agreementsCentralize all IT systems and staff (within reason)Create faculty joint appointments to the AIT Center and an instructional technology fellows programIdentify and hire/contract remaining IT professionals and create a three year staffing planMarket IT accomplishments, difficulties, an helpful hints to UMES personnel on a periodic basisRestrict access to UMES antennasDevelop internal LAN access securityDevelop and implement IT training programsPurchase new Help Desk software, and post FAQ and IT activities, and provide initial call support
94 XI. Implementation Considerations continued Long Term Strategies (Complete within 5 years or beyond)Complete the Somerset and Waters Halls’ renovations and relocate IT and AIT Center personnelComplete network redundancyComplete transition to network printersProvide online Help Desk statusIncrease IT support for outreachAcquire Internet 2 access
95 Appendix 1--PwC Qualifications and Role PwC Overview: PricewaterhouseCoopers (www.pwcglobal.com) is the world's largest professional services organization. Drawing on the knowledge and skills of more than 150,000 people in 150 countries, we help our clients solve complex business problems and measurably enhance their ability to build value, manage risk and improve performance in an Internet-enabled world.PwC Education/Not-for-Profit Industry Expertise: PricewaterhouseCoopers is recognized around the world as an innovative, effective advisor to colleges, universities, and other not-for-profit organizations, including foundations, performing arts groups, museums, trade and professional organizations, religious groups, membership organizations, and social welfare organizations. An acknowledged source of current best practices and cutting-edge publications, PricewaterhouseCoopers provides both local expertise and global knowledge.PwC Information Technology Planning Expertise: PricewaterhouseCoopers works with commercial, government, and institutional clients to prioritize investments according to strategic impact, and to develop strategic plans for technology use that reflect a customer’s overall goals and objectives. Our technology planning services span all IT dimensions, including:Organization structure and staffingGovernance and decision-making processesFundingTechnology architectureIT infrastructure.PwC Relationship with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore: Leveraging its regional corporate relationships UMES asked PricewaterhouseCoopers to assess the University’s IT organization, resources, processes, policies, and infrastructure, and to develop a business plan for an Applied IT (AIT) Center for Research and Education. PwC provided UMES with a business plan for the AIT Center in July 2000 and herewith presents a strategic plan for information technology.
96 Appendix 2--Comparison of IT Resources at Peer Institutions Based upon an independent study of four-year public colleges performed by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, an analysis of UMES’ IT support staffing and basic infrastructure was performed. Although not conclusive, the analysis results should be used to indicate potential areas for additional IT resources.UMES Current & Near-Term Projection DataAmount of IT EquipmentNormalizedUniversityPerformanceIndicatorsResults of Comparative StudyIncrease Network SupportAdd Training StaffIncrease Desktop SupportIncrease Distance Education SupportAdd Instructional Technology SupportNumber of IT Support StaffNumbers of UsersKey Comparison Data(examined 4 Year Universities)Normalized Comparison DataAnalysis Using Normalized & UMES Data
97 Appendix 2-- Comparison of IT Resources at Peer Institutions Based upon an independent collection of data by PricewaterhouseCoopers of four-year public colleges, an analysis of UMES’ IT support staffing and basic infrastructure was performed. UMES resources were normalized based on appropriate user populations and compared to similarly normalized averages from other universities. Although not conclusive, the analysis results are shown below and should be used to indicate potential areas for additional IT investments.UMES is significantly ahead in the area of personal computers available to faculty and staff. At UMES 99% of all faculty and staff have access to computers in their offices, compared to 78% at the other institutions. The only UMES faculty or staff members without computers in their offices are those who have chosen not to have one.A second area in which UMES excelled was ‘Number of Students per General Use PC’. At the schools studied by PwC, there were over 56 students for each available general use personal computer. At UMES, that figure is 16 students per general use personal computer. Note: These ratios do not compare the hours of availability (see Instruction Findings).UMES’ ‘Faculty to Smart Classroom’ ratio was on a par with the other schools. UMES currently has 37 faculty members for each smart classroom. The average among the comparison schools was 36 faculty members for each smart classroom. Note: Differences in definition of “smart classroom” capability may account for these numbers (see Instruction Findings).UMES did not do as well in the other statistical areas. The specifics of those measurements are as follows:ComparisonGroup UMES# of Faculty & Staff PCs/Faculty & Staff (headcount)# of Network Connections/Network Staff ,689.3# of Desktop Computers/Desktop Support Staff# of Faculty & Staff (headcount)/Training Staff No Staff# of Faculty & Staff (headcount)/Distance Education Staff# of Students (headcount)/General Use PC# of Faculty (FTE)/Smart Classroom# of Faculty (headcount)/Instructional Technology No StaffNote: The above calculations do not include managers or students.
98 Appendix 2-- Comparison of IT Resources at Peer Institutions continued A brief description of the seven indicators follows:# of Faculty & Staff PCs/Faculty & Staff (headcount): This measures the availability of appropriate computer technology in the offices of the faculty and staff.# of Network Connections/Network Staff: A measure of the workload of the IT network staff (this calculation does not include Web, Video or Phone & Cable support).# of Desktop Computers/Desktop Support Staff: A measure of the workload of the IT desktop support staff (this calculation does not include Help Desk support).# of Faculty & Staff (headcount)/Training Staff): A measure of staff dedicated to providing IT training to faculty and staff.#of Faculty & Staff (headcount)/Distance Education Staff: A measure of the workload of the IT Distance Education support staff.# of Students(headcount)/General Use PC: A measure of open access computer lab PCs to students (a good measure for campuses with a large part-time and/or commuting student population. Computer located in restricted labs and dormitories are not considered in this calculation.# of Faculty (FTE)/Smart Classroom: This measures the availability of instructional technology enabled classrooms to faculty.# of Faculty (headcount)/Instructional Technology: A measure of the availability of assigned staff dedicated to support faculty members’ interested in working with instructional technology.
99 Appendix 2-- Comparison of IT Resources at Peer Institutions continued ObservationsUMES’ strength in the number of faculty and staff PCs per faculty and staff (headcount) and the number of students (headcount) per general use PCwill encourage faculty, staff and students to take advantage of the available technology.UMES should maintain or improve upon the number of smart classrooms.The following support staff additions would move UMES to a level comparable to the average of the comparison institutions:2 network support staff1.5 desktop support staff2 training support staff1.5 distance education support staff4.25 instructional technology support staff
100 Appendix 3 -- Long-Term ERP Solution Replace SIS, HRS, and FMS with an ERP Solution:The advantage of an integrated ERP solution is that all the data of the school will be located in one integrated system. This is in contrast to today’s arrangement where there are batch interfaces between various systems. These batch jobs, as compared to an integrated solution, result in the potential for lack of data synchronicity and “old” data being used in reports. Another advantage of an integrated real-time system is that printed out monthly or weekly reports become obsolete. Any report can be reviewed on-line at any time because the status of the data of the school is always up to date. Each piece of data about a student would exist only in one system, the master ERP system. This eliminates the need to manually enter data multiple times in multiple systems.Another advantage of an ERP solution is that data access and data security issues can be centrally managed. You do not have to have different security practices, login IDs, and passwords in many different systems. Each person looking for information in the ERP system has an assigned set of access authorizations. Depending on the roles and responsibilities of each person using the system they get the access required.The process of answering questions from the existing set of systems relies on a three step process: data gathering, data formatting and then finally, data analysis with planning for the future. In an ERP system, the first two pieces of this process are already completed. All the data is in one system, many/most of the reports that would be required are standard in the COTS product. For those reports that are not part of the standard COTS package, customized reports can be generated using open software. The bulk of the time can be spent analyzing the data and planning for the future.Administrative Computing ERP solution evaluation Process:Determine scope of functionality desiredThis scope will determine if the solution will be just for UMES, for UMES and other schools within the UM system, if all of the UM system is involved, and if other schools not even in the UM system are involved. From there the functional areas that the system will be responsible for must be defined. Will the SIS only be addressed, or will the integration of the Financial and HR areas also be incorporated in the solution.
101 Appendix 3 -- Long-Term ERP Solution continued Administrative Computing ERP solution evaluation Process continued:List musts vs. wantsSome capabilities must be present in any new system otherwise the investment is not worth it. Other capabilities would be great to have but are not absolutely required. These wants may help decide between two candidate solutions if both have all the required capabilities.Evaluate the market place for all potential vendorsIn some cases, a consulting partner such as the Gartner Group or PwC may be helpful in determining the comprehensive list of reputable vendors who have offerings in this space. This initial scrub must be comprehensive. Otherwise, the down select process may not include a very viable candidate in the initial population.Rate each vendors solutions vs. the must have requirementsIt is typical here to create a large matrix of requirements listed along the side and vendors across the top. A checkmark or relative grade can be posted in the intersections to rate the degree to which each vendor’s product satisfies each requirement. It is also sometime favorable to more heavily weigh some of the requirements than others to show the enhanced importance of the key requirements.Down select to the options remainingSome vendors will be eliminated due to not having met some of the basic requirements, others will start to shine in their robustness.Invite vendors in for demonstrations and detailed discussionsThese vendor demonstrations can help assess what is “vapor-ware” vs. what is an actual product. It can also be important at this stage to hear some of the marketing information from each vendor to assess their other clients, their reputation in the marketplace and their willingness to partner with their clients.
102 Appendix 3 -- Long-Term ERP Solution continued Administrative Computing ERP solution evaluation Process continued:Request quotes from the top candidatesThese quotes should be worked through the contracts department of UMES and not necessarily directly with the folks who were involved in the definition of requirements and the demonstrations. This allows a “Good Cop” / “Bad Cop” situation that can allow tough negotiations on price and terms, without negatively impacting the working relationships of the more detailed technical and functional individual contributors from both UMES and the vendor.Evaluate quotes based on full life cycle costsUMES must always consider the full life cycle costs of any new procurement. It is possible for some solutions to seem very inexpensive at first, but then these systems may require significant additional investments to be fully utilized by the school. (e.g., the existing SIS system originally cost $80K, but recently required some enhancements that cost an additional $60K)It is always best to purchase hardware and software that is based on an “open architecture” This will allow UMES to have much greater flexibility in it’s options for self maintenance of the system or in selecting complementary hardware and software. An open architecture provides a better chance of interoperability and compatibility with other products from other vendors. Lack of interoperability and compatibility will lead to increase spending as time passes and requirements change.
103 ReferencesBelow are the significant materials used for this IT Strategy document.1) USM Office of Information Technology Visit Report (13-14 April 2000)UMES requested the USM CIO to assess its IT environment, and this document provides the resultant information.2) AIT Center Business Plan (July 00)UMES requested that PricewaterhouseCoopers create a business plan for an Applied Information Technology Center. AIT Center plans are a significant element of UMES’ IT strategy.3) Somerset & Waters Halls Renovation (UMES plans to renovate two University buildings to house the Office of Information Technology and the AIT Center. These plans must be considered as part of the overall IT strategy.4) UMES Strategic Plan 1999As a basis for the University’s goals and vision, this document describes future plans regarding UMES’ functional areas.5) UMES Response to Board of Regents’ Proposed Policy on USM Minimum Information StandardThis document provides insight into the various IT requirements that the USM Board of Regents may impose on UMES.