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Planning and Creating an Information Technology Infrastructure: One Branch Campus Experience from the Middle East Dr. David J. Ayersman Chief Information.

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Presentation on theme: "Planning and Creating an Information Technology Infrastructure: One Branch Campus Experience from the Middle East Dr. David J. Ayersman Chief Information."— Presentation transcript:

1 Planning and Creating an Information Technology Infrastructure: One Branch Campus Experience from the Middle East Dr. David J. Ayersman Chief Information Officer Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Dr. David J. Ayersman Chief Information Officer Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar

2 Overview 1. About Qatar and Education City 2. Problem Statement (Challenges for a new CIO in the Middle East) 3. Description of Activities (Projects and Solutions) 4. Next Steps 5. Importance and Relevance to Others

3 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar 1. About Qatar and Education City Location Population Government History Change Safety Qatar Foundation Education City Mission Partners

4 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Qatar Smaller than Connecticut Pearls, Fishing, to LNG Population (885,359 est.); 80% in Doha; 30,000 before 1950’s; mostly ex-patriots Arabic is primary language; English widely understood Per Capita Income *Mobiles = 716,800

5 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Middle East centrally located 300 miles to Iraq 140 to Iran enter by air or water or through Saudi by land

6 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Historical Development 1868 to 1971 (British Protectorate; Ruled by Al-Thani family) 1930’s discovery of oil and LNG 1950’s infrastructure began 1995 bloodless coup (founding of Education City) 2001 border disputes resolved

7 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Doha, Qatar

8 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Rapid Development

9 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Terror? Doha Player’s Club (March 19, 2005)March 19, 2005 Very low crime Compounds US Military Presence

10 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Education City 2500 acres, private, nonprofit, multi-institutional generous funding by Qatar’s ruling family student body (and faculty/staff) diversity (regional) Al-Jazeera children’s channel, hospital, science and technology park, RAND corporation, QA, ABP future partners?

11 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Mission Qatar Foundation’s mission is to prepare the people of Qatar and the region to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world, and to make Qatar a leader in innovative education and research. To achieve that mission, Qatar Foundation supports a network of centers and partnerships with elite institutions, all committed to the principle that a nation’s greatest natural resource is its people. Education City, Qatar Foundation’s flagship project, is envisioned as a center of excellence in education and research that will help transform Qatar into a knowledge-based society.

12 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Education City 1997 Virginia Commonwealth University (arts) 2001 Weill Cornell Medical College (medicine) 2003 Texas A&M University (engineering) 2004 Carnegie Mellon University (computer science and business) 2005 Georgetown University (foreign service)

13 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar 2. Problem Statement Challenges for a new CIO in the Middle East

14 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Initial Questions CIO Responsibilities? IT Staff Expertise (new staff; to be determined) Budget and Procurement Process? Cultural and Environmental Factors? Communication (VCU, QF, vendors, clients); Dec in Richmond IT Dependency on QF? (Quality of Service?)

15 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Additional Factors Mission and Strategic Direction? Culture (hours of operation, formality, familiarity, meaning of agreements, work week) 7,000 miles and 8 time zones (4 common hours with main campus!) Staffing (high turnover, expertise, personalities) Assessment of Needs

16 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar VCUQ IT (2005) 50% Macintosh unix server? no wireless dependent upon QF IT for network, , etc. no admin access to main campus IT services no asset management? no classroom technologies no media services no trouble ticket system ineffective relationships with QF IT and VCU lack of policies/procedures

17 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar VCUQ IT Staff 2005

18 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar 3. Description of Activities Projects and Solutions

19 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Needs Assessment: Priorities Gain Familiarity and Understanding Expend Current Budget in 4 Months Create Inventory Acquire Infrastructure (servers and data/electric) Service-Level Agreement Web Site (gain access; become autonomous) Standardize Equipment Provide Wireless Create Identity (qatar.vcu.edu) Classroom Technologies and Atrium Create VCUQ Network

20 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Procurement Challenges QF or VCU? VA Restrictions Apply? Sole Source or Competitive Bids No flexibility in budget On-site Maintenance and Warranty Needed Main Campus Contracts Not Recognized Export Agreements Vary Changing Procedures? Changing Personnel Retailers 20% Surcharge? Who are the Vendors? Agreements with Vendors* Follow-up, Follow-up

21 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar 4 Months for Initial Scope Document? In January 2005 I contacted one of the companies that my predecessor told me about who seemed capable of performing the technology enhancements that we needed for our classrooms. I invited them to campus so we could develop a scope document based on the technical expertise and approximate the costs that would be associated with this project which they could provide us. The budget at that point was known but an accurate estimate of the cost for the project was not yet known. On Feb 1, 2005 I met with representatives from Almana and Partners to discuss the VCUQ audiovisual needs. We toured the 6 classrooms that needed renovations and S. Parameswaran (Systems Engineer) and Mohan Kumar (Sales Executive) took notes and asked questions. They agreed to submit a quote to me that would reflect their estimate for the equipment and installation. No quote for this project was ever received by me from Almana and Partners. At the end of February, I met with Mansoor Mopari and his partner from NEST Middle East Co. W.L.L. to discuss the VCUQ audiovisual needs. We toured the 6 classrooms that need renovations. Mansoor and his colleague agreed to submit to me a quote that would detail the equipment that would be needed, the cost of that equipment, and the cost of the installation of the equipment. No quote for this project was ever received by me from NEST Middle East. On March 22, 2005 I met with Victor Mettry from TechnoQ to discuss the VCUQ audiovisual needs. We toured the 6 classrooms that needed renovations. Victor agreed to submit to me a quote that would detail the equipment needed, the cost of that equipment, and the cost of installing that equipment. In early April, I received a quote from TechnoQ.

22 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Procurement Improvements corporate card for online purchasing re-shipping from main campus recognition of sole source vendors localization for PO increased spending limit increased minimum for multiple quotes and capital items ($300 to $2500) budget request to allocation (flexibility for purchasing)

23 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Projects Service Level Agreement Planning VCUQ Domain Transition Project Classroom Enhancement Projects VCUQ Web Site Atrium Project

24 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Service-Level Agreement None (since 1997?) Scope of Responsibilities Performance Indicators Performance Expectations Signatures The value of this document was greater as a symbol of cooperation than as a formal contract.

25 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar VCUQ Domain Transition Acquire Infrastructure Approval from QF IT Extensive Coordination and Assistance with Main Campus IT IP Range, Firewall, NAT, Domain Registration, etc. Migration of (no messages lost!)

26 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Atrium Project Only large-venue area in Education City (+450) Video Displays (16 50” DSP, 7 42” Plasma) 5.1 Sound, 4 video cameras, lighting, 2 podiums DVD Recording IP Video-conferencing

27 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Atrium 1 of 5

28 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Atrium 2 of 5

29 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Atrium 3 of 5

30 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Atrium 4 of 5

31 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Atrium 5 of 5

32 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar General Colin Powell

33 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar General Colin Powell

34 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Classrooms (12) Ceiling-mounted video projector Teaching station with networked computer Sound; Lighting; Multi-region DVD Motorized projection screen *Motorized window shades

35 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Communication Teleconferencing (2 speaker phones) Video-conferencing (2 Polycom systems) Forwarding and LDAP Updates Identity (qf.org.qa versus qatar.vcu.edu) Committees and Projects On-Site Visits (CIO, Procurement, etc.)

36 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar IT Organizational Changes creation of Student Apprentice positions division of responsibilities new positions (to be filled July 2007) new services offered

37 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar VCUQ IT Staff 2007

38 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar VCUQ IT (2007) 50% Macintosh 400 computers (185 students, 105 faculty/staff) wireless independent of QF IT for network, , etc. admin access to main campus IT services 3-year computer replacement cycleclassroom technologies media services trouble ticket system effective relationships with QF IT and VCU

39 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar 4. Next Steps

40 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar New Projects Building Expansion Project Telecommunications (VoIP) Curricular Integration Further Integration with Main Campus SCT Banner ?

41 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Areas to Improve Communication with VCUQ Senior Leadership IT Staff Skill Areas Application of Existing Technologies Exploration of New Technologies New CIO for FY

42 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar 5. Importance and Relevance to Others

43 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Unique? Challenges Procurement Issues? Cultural Expectations (Work, Schedules, Communication) Relationships with CEO, CFO, CAO? New Facilities? Policies and Procedures?

44 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Being CIO in Qatar Challenging and Rewarding Cultural Understanding and Respect Leverage Relationships to Achieve Business Goals Make Adjustments (Pace of Projects, Procedures, and Hands-On Leadership)

45 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Related Information Dr. Tim Chester, CIO Texas A&M University in Qatar Educause Quarterly, Number 2, pdfhttp://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/EQM05 28.pdf

46 Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar Thank You! Copyright David J. Ayersman, This work is the intellectual property of the author. Permission is granted for this material to be shared for non-commercial, educational purposes, provided that this copyright statement appears on the reproduced materials and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the author. To disseminate otherwise or to republish requires written permission from the author.


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