OIT Activity Summary 2017-18

Introduction

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) at UC Irvine is responsible for providing support and technical partnership across a broad range of IT domains. The following report covers the period of fiscal year 2017-18, highlighting a subset of initiatives OIT is involved in working with partners on and off campus. Significant change has occurred during the reporting period, both internal and external to OIT. At a high level, activity domains include but are not limited to:

Infrastructure

  • Network & Telecommunications Services
  • Data Center Services
  • Enterprise Systems Administration
  • Commodity Platform as a Service
  • Enterprise Email and Collaboration Services

Education

  • Classroom & Lab Technology Support
  • Teaching & Learning Management Systems Support
  • Academic Senate & Academic Initiatives Support

Research

  • High Performance Research Computing Infrastructure & Support
  • Commodity Research Storage as a Service
  • Collaborative Research Networking Infrastructure

Enterprise Applications

  • Enrollment Services Systems
  • Graduate Division Systems
  • Student Financial Systems
  • Enterprise Financial & Administrative Systems (Accounting, Purchasing, Facilities, EH&S, Transportation)
  • Human Resources Systems
  • Research Administration Systems

Unit Application Support

  • Full campus unit IT support for Accounting/Financial Services, Procurement, Facilities Management, Transportation & Distribution Services, Office of the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Auxiliary Services, Student Life and Leadership, Wellness, Health and Counseling Services,  Human Resources, Student Affairs (Central & Auxiliary), Office of Institutional Research, Budget Office, Campus Assets, Capital Planning, Enrollment Services (Admissions, Financial Aid, Registrar), Graduate Division, Department of Undergraduate Education, Alumni, Office of Research, Chancellor & Provost’s Offices, Athletics, UCI Police, Environmental Health & Safety, UCPath, Division of Career Pathways.

Central IT Services

  • IT Security, Identity and Access Management and Risk and Compliance
  • Enterprise Data Warehouse & Business Intelligence
  • IT Architecture and Middleware
  • Electronic Document Management
  • Database Administration and Management Service
  • Software Quality Assurance and Monitoring Service
  • Operations Support & Production Control
  • Project Management Office

Client Support Services

  • Campus Communications
  • Web Content Management
  • IT Service Desk & Student Support Desk
  • Standardized & Specialized Desktop Support
  • Enterprise Licensing and Procurement

1. Build out and maintain scalable IT infrastructure and services.

Disaster Recovery Planning – OIT has continued to expand failover of critical services and replication of critical data repositories to the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) and Amazon Web Services (AWS), including Active Directory, UC Recruit, FileNet, Enterprise Service Bus, SecretServer,  and Financial Aid, SEVIS, Student Services servers, and EH&S databases.  We have tested DR procedures, implemented monitoring and change management processes, and practiced backup recovery.

IT Security improvements - OIT has implemented multifactor authentication (Duo) for Filenet, KSAMS, WebAuth, Office 365 and all servers with protected information, and made Duo available (and revocable) to faculty and staff for WebAuth and O365.  Filenet has been expanded to incorporate IBM Case Management, Livescan data for the Police EDL Payroll, ExFiles, and EROS, and a Proof of Concept for Office of Research to demonstrate numerous capabilities to aid planning/prioritization for increased use of FileNet.  We have implemented numerous security improvements for our Active Directory infrastructure (Outlook email, workstation authentication, and other services).  We have strengthened campus border network protections (PaloAlto Intrusion Protection Service) and expanded our Vulnerability Management Program (disconnecting compromised machines to protect others on the network.)  We have deployed Windows file encryption for supported systems.  We have used the Tenable Security System to identify and remediate numerous security vulnerabilities, including production databases and Bren security cameras. We have implemented a phishing training program and promoted cybersecurity awareness training.  We have moved Student Housing servers to the OIT Data Center to benefit from its firewall protections and upgraded Student Center desktops to a more secure version of Windows.

Decommissioning high-risk and high-cost systems - We have upgraded key Windows servers from Server 2003 to Server 2016 (RGS, Trigiga, Project 8i).  We have developed Windows Server 2016 and Windows 10 environments and have begun deploying them to supported departments.  We have retired legacy and unsupported systems including the Compco billing system, the Google Search Appliance, Apace,Transition Video Storage, ULAR's timesheet system, and the Registrar's CASPER system and upgraded Mobius Server, the Simplicity Advocate secure FTP system, and KFS.  We have migrated key databases from aging hardware to a more easily maintained virtual environment.  We have begun a project to reduce costs for our Networker backup system. We have selected and implemented a central survey service (Qualtrics) to replace our legacy homegrown service.  We have digitized documents for the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs and the International Center.

Utilizing Public Cloud - OIT has continued to identify opportunities to improve availability and reliability while reducing costs by moving systems and services to public cloud services such as AWS, GitHub, and Microsoft Sharepoint (Athletics, Labstats, Microsoft Team Foundation Server).  Our new billing system (Pinnacle) is vendor hosted and our centralized FAX service is now cloud-based (Send a Fax using eGoldfax).

Service and Tool Consolidation and Leverage - We have developed and deployed the GoAnywhere Managed File Transfer service which will enable secure file transfer to the UCPath system.  We continue to migrate scattered web applications to our consolidated web application farm (including numerous Office of Research apps).  We have enhanced our ServiceNow IT service management system to improve 24-hour response to service interruptions.  We have connected additional services (including Zotmail and KVO) to our central directory service (LDAP). We consolidated desktop patching for Athletics IT to OIT's system.  We transitioned the campus card application from Student Government to OIT's Student Affairs IT (offering a more secure platform) and implemented change management processes.  We migrated and virtualized the WiQ Door Access Control System to OIT datacenter.

Infrastructure Consolidation and Leverage - We are moving production services to virtual environments to leverage hardware investments and improve availability. We are migrating scattered servers to the OIT Data Center. We are assisting departments in migrating to robust centralized services such as Active Directory (DUE, RGS, Student Center, TDS, Housing IT).  We have consolidated the desktop management systems used by Desktop Support and the Instructional Lab team.

Network and Telecommunications - we have made eTech-funded improvements to wireless network coverage in 25 classrooms (1875 seats), and have completed phases 2 and 3 of our fiber replacement project.  We have replaced aging network equipment in ResNet (the part of UCInet that serves residential communities) and building routers, and have begun replacing aging IP telephones.  We have broadened firewall protections to include Housing servers and the International Student Center, and improved the bandwidth (data throughput speeds) for our firewalls.  We collaborated with the UCI Medical Center on Border Router and Firewall projects.  We facilitated telephone and network logistics for the Newkirk Alumni Center.

IT Accessibility - We now assess all new development projects for accessibility, with emphasis on keyboard and screenreader services. We created captioning workflows for instructor use during the 2017-2018 Academic Year.  We implemented responsive web design into OSCAR Spoke applications improving accessibility and upgraded the SLL website to include responsive design, new branding, accessibility in the CMS.  We licensed and deployed SiteImprove, automating the process of monitoring, improving, and maintaining accessibility across the web sites we manage.

2. Support academic goals through educational and research computing.

SmartClassrooms - We have had a leading role in designing learning spaces in the new Anteater Learning Pavilion opening this Fall.  We continue to add power controllers to lecterns and projectors and HH switcher upgrades in SmartClassrooms.  We are planning for upgrades to the SE 101, SS 220A/B, HH 178, and AIRB 1030 learning environments (pending funding).

COMPASS - OIT is partnering with the campus in the Compass Student Success initiative, promoting academic success, developing and distributing reports (Student Performance, placement testing, Student Demographics, and lower division writing progress), and curating data collection from DUE, the Registrar and other sources.

Canvas - We continue to migrate functionality from the legacy EEE system to the Canvas Learning Management System (Final Evaluation, RapidReturn, and Class Email List tools).  We are actively collecting faculty experience with Canvas to identify priority features and functionality to deploy or develop.  We are working actively with the OVPTL enabling pedagogy and best practices questions to be redirected to campus expert instructional designers for one-on-one consultation.

eTech - We have added card readers to classroom doors to improve access, completed Student Center Lab and Lounge Mac upgrades, and refreshed computers in five labs around campus which together house 167 computers.  We are exploring the possibility of a new lab in concert with the Mesa Court Housing expansion project. We completed the 6th year of classroom technology enhancements, including upgrades in all general assignment SmartClassrooms and most OIT instructional computer labs, bringing them all up to a new A/V baseline and strategically expanding features and functionality. eTech@UCI has also supported new SmartClassroom conversions in 7 spaces to date as a result of campus space reallocation.  New wireless networking was deployed in active learning classrooms. This allowed for the creation of local wireless networks within a classroom, enabling instructors and students to wirelessly present and collaborate more reliably.  eTech@UCI is also supporting network upgrade proposals in several units including Biological Sciences, ICS and the Libraries.

Major unit-led and collaborative projects around campus supported by eTech include:

  • The School of Biological Sciences is receiving support for computer and A/V equipment in Steinhaus Hall teaching labs to assist students with practical laboratory experience and statistical data analysis.
  • The School of Engineering is equipping McDonnell Douglas Engineering Auditorium with improved A/V equipment in support of instruction and supportability of the space.
  • MATLAB software for Engineering and ICS was installed on student owned systems.
  • Physical Sciences and eTech jointly funded undergraduate student licensing of ChemDraw was granted
  • Support was provided to the schools of Arts and Humanities for online services (Adobe Creative Cloud).
  • Funding continues for the eTech mini-grant program. The program is designed to support faculty proposals for modest funding up to $500, to acquire some service, software or equipment that the faculty will use as part of one or more specified undergraduate lecture courses. Submission requests include Catchbox, USB Microscope (to display live slides in class), PollEverywhere (for real-time polling and analytics), Oculus Rift (to visualize how gates & circuits interact with each other), portable recorder field kit (for clean audio during outdoor filming), and Powtoons subscription (for animating segments of an online class).
  • UCI Libraries and OIT jointly worked on a pilot of converting two study rooms without any technology to Connected Small Group Active Learning Spaces (CSGALS). These rooms had technology installed in them that would allow students and faculty to leverage technology on learning, group work, and course work collaborations.

Student Experience - We have partnered with campus advising units to deploy production ScoreShare interim grade sharing service, assess efficacy and usability, and plan future development directions.  We have worked with LARC and DUE staff and leadership to identify a comprehensive tutorial technology solution that will support LARC's tutorial enrollment, Academic Testing Center course placement data transfer, Summer Session informational sites, billing, and online classroom needs.  We have identified opportunities for centralized creation, maintenance, and support of student support systems (such as Appointments, Card Swipe, etc.)  We have implemented requested enhancements to the Alumni Association Cap & Gown application in preparation for Grad Expo 2018 and delivered a prototype Alumni Engagement scoring system.  We transitioned the Student-Athlete Computer Lab to OIT Computer Lab Services.  We partnered with Housing on a single door-access solution across all housing communities.

UCPath - OIT worked with the UCPath team on ongoing technical implementation oversight, coordination, implementation, data conversion and testing work for UCI, including UCPath Central Team collaboration, Tier-1 systems integrations, Tier-N systems integrations, Operational Data Store, Common Data Mart, reporting as well as:

  • Implementation, data intregration and testing of UCPath Identity Management (IdM) feeds and KSAMS integration
  • Updating all eDocs applications to utilize UCPath ESBAT services (new empl_id and hierarchy). Work with UCPath Team to migrate eDocs Tier 1 and Tier N systems to UCPath data
  • Updating ZotMail to integrate UCPath data.
  • Completing administrative LDAP ETL re-design to fix Org assignment issues as well as other data inconsistencies
  • Developing a Unified Organization Hierarchy Proof of Concept and Project Proposal for implementation (including any related KFS Enhancements) in order to provide a more comprehensive departmental hierarchy for use in UCPath and across all campus systems
  • Review for Rails 5.1 and future projects & Mob/pair analysis for UCPath retrofits
  • Retrofit the Academic Personnel Faculty Database (FACT) and Academic Personnel / Academic Senate Database (ASAP) to use UCPath data 

Cognos - We extended use of Cognos this year to include a Student Enrollment Tool, the OR Annual Report Tool, the Fiscal Year Proposal and Award Comparison Tool, and the Credit Report Tool.  We provided Cognos developer training to campus units.

SIS - OIT is working with diverse stakeholders in configuration, development, and implementation of Banner SIS and Slate.  Highlights of Student Information System progress in FY 2018 include:

  • Preparing and executing SIS Simulation (SIM) testing to exercise cross functional business processes within the SIS system
  • Defining and loading initial roles and staff assignments to test access to systems and functions within the Banner system.
  • Integration testing via KSAMS.
  • Developing future state business process definition diagrams to define and track core business processes.
  • Developing change requests, integrations, and workflows with our vendor and local development team.
  • Outreach to campus units and schools to inform and educate them about changes to expect with the new SIS system and how these will be reflected in their data import or export files.
  • Data walk-thru sessions were held to discuss the changes and answer any questions.
  • Continued refinement and loading of legacy data needed for SIS data migration.
  • Continued development of SIS reports.
  • Completed GradAid integration to Banner.
  • Assist as needed and able in implementation and testing of IdM feeds and KSAMS integration for Banner SIS
  • Assist with SIS Data Integration
  • Identifying and coordinating conversion of PPS to SIS Interfaces
  • Developing ETL for ongoing data loads from non-Banner systems into the SIS ODS
  • Developing strategy for handling and managing SIS incidents and plan for long term operational stability,  leverage existing OIT commodity team services
  • Introducing automated QA testing for local SIS development
  • Migrating legacy student data into the SIS ODS
  • Development of DWQuery queries for SIS
  • Completed Security assessment for Banner Document Management
  • Initiated Housing Management System (OSCAR) integration
  • Implementing the International Center ISSM integration

Research Support - In collaboration with campus users of Sites and Faculty Sites, OIT provided guidance and oversight for their effective use of WordPress and conducted quarterly meetings to share knowledge and updates.  We delivered reports and analytics via Cognos and the Research Admin DWH for the VCR, Provost and others to track, assess and guide policy/practices for achieving strategic growth in research expenditures.  We created and maintained a co-location customer database with customer info and equipment location.  We have made improvements to our research software licensing distribution system.  We have launched the Research Cyberinfrastructure Center and the Research Storage Pool and unified our computational clusters.

3. Partner with functional units to implement enterprise and unit based applications.

Office of Research and Graduate Division - Projects with OR/GD include creating a positive test scenario using DBUnit as a framework for Grad Aid test cases (this can serve as a template for database driven testing), upgrading Kuali Coeus version 5.2.1 to Kuali Research current baseline version, RMS-Tick@Lab Implementation Phase 2 (Animal Ordering and ULAR Service Billing) and major enhancement of IACUC Protocol application forms, development of RMS-TickLab Implementation Phase 3 (Animal Health), development/expansion of the Research Administration Data Warehouse, enhancements to IRB related systems to support changing policies and streamline submission/review processes, and initial planning for the implementation of the Kuali Research Award and Subaward Modules.

Accounting and Financial Systems (KFS) - OIT completed a major systems upgrade from KFS and KSAMS version 4 to version 7, upgraded all KFS Decision Support (Cognos Reports) for the KFS version 7 upgrade and the Cognos 11 upgrade, developed and enhanced the Account Balance Overview Report, completed the build of PI Report Projections and Labor Ledger data marts for use in the Award Balance Overview Report, enhanced Fiscal Close reports/tools, and developedCognos TM1 for the Budget Office to use in financial forecasting.

Human Resources - OIT implemented support for the new UC-wide I9 system (Tracker), support for Cornerstone (used to power AchieveOnline), completed the transition of remaining employee groups to TRS in preparation for UCPath, and developed the new Classification/Reclassification Report for HR Compensation.

Academic Personnel - OIT partnered with AP to assess and implement improvements in evaluation data management for faculty merit and promotion files, and to develop FacultyHub, a new application for faculty to collect documents needed for the review process.

Recruit - A number of enhancements to Recruit were added this year, including:

  • Improving user interface of the create new recruitment process, saving time, reducing errors, reducing approval delays
  • A Recruit user survey to inform future projects and fundamental UX improvements
  • Detect PII data and alert campuses, inviting them to redact this restricted data and lower our risk.
  • Search Conclusion, marking whether a recruitment was successful.  Ultimately leads to much better data that can be used in institutional and academic research projects.
  • Panorama project. Provides completely flexible, self-service reports on demand to analysts and administrators
  • Open Rank Recruitment project. Allows simplified recruitment of multiple-ranks, even when application requirements differ between ranks

Student Affairs - OIT partnered with Student Affairs staff in Hospitality and Dining Services to rebuild the main dining website in alignment with current communication stands, including mobile friendliness.  We implemented a restructured share drive folder structure/collaboration space for HSG, increased HSG IT visibility and communication between staff at the housing community level, and upgraded Student Housing TMA maintenance system to web version improving usability and leveraging technology.

WHCS - OIT purchased and supported the Child Care management system to replace end-of-life software and expand functionality, developed and launch new Child Care Services website to provide better information and set the stage for integration and developed a parent/staff emergency notification portal for the Child Care centers utilizing the MIR3 notification system. We converted the Career Center's existing Symplicity CMS application over to Handshake (a more secure Managed File Transfer (MFT) platform).  Finally, we developed and launched a new Student Health Center web site to comply with accessibility standards and partnered with Student Health and Counseling to enable student consent forms on iPads during check in.  We completed the Protiviti Security Assessment for WHCS.  We designed and implemented a new Community Provider Database resource for students and enhanced the functionality of the Disability Services application and administrative portal.

Athletics

OIT collaborated with Athletics's Marketing unit to transition ucirvinesports.com to a new hosting company, installed baseball cameras for scouting and analysis, and upgraded their devices to the latest release of iOS.  We implemented the Progress-Towards-Degree application for Athletic’s Student Services, and transitioned the Student-Athlete Computer Lab to OIT Computer Lab Services.  We developed a proof-of-concept Amazon Alexa Skill for fan engagement by collaborating with Amazon and Athletics Marketing team, as part of our commitment to exploring new technologies.

DUE

Adapted and deployed an online appointment scheduling and management system, Appointments, for on-campus offices. The system improves support service access for students, creates efficiencies for offices, and provides reporting for analytics. This system is currently available to OVPTL units and is expected to be made available as a campus-wide service early in the 2018-2019 academic year.  We also partnered with CHP to produce a dedicated application to support their annual admissions process. This system streamlines invitee management, and will provide a foundation for future expansion of CHP online systems.

Other Departments

  • Advancement - we spported efforts to migrate University Advancement Abacus database from Sybase to SQL Server.
  • Chancellor's Office - we created a long term support plan for the Buck Gallery and Irvine Museum.

  • Facilities Management - We enhanced the Facilities Reconciliation Report and upgraded the IBM 10 Tririga Platform to version 3.5.2 and began work on upgrading the IBM 10 Tririga Application to version 10.5.2

4. Evolve as an enterprise IT organization through continual improvement.

Customer Support Survey - In cooperation with UC San Diego, OIT developed, deployed, and analyzed its second campus-wide customer satisfaction survey, subsequently posting initial results, and later the changes OIT is implementing in response to the feedback.

Improve Interoperability, Scalability, Flexibility - OIT implemented an autonomous access system for our vCenter / virtual machines using KSAMs.  We completed the development of a Unified Project Management Framework that encompasses both waterfall and agile project management methodologies and adopted a Unified Change Management process – this will provide much better and consistent transparency into the status and state of projects in OIT and will give campus stakeholders the information they need to understand how projects are progressing.  We completed a comprehensive inventory of all business applications supported by OIT – this will aid in prioritizing the restoration of services, systems, and applications and allow OIT to focus on essential services in the event of a disaster. We migrated legacy Solaris systems to a virtual Linux environment and expanded access to Enterprise Service Bus tools to the campus.  We developed standards for migrating services to AWS and developed scripts for automated provisioning, reducing time to deploy.  Our Architecture Review Board standards were ratified.

User Experience - We created a regular User Experience (UX) Design forum/meetup for folks with relevant expertise or interest, sharing practices and experiences.  New development was approached from a mobile-first design perspective, and leverage industry standard front end frameworks.  We gathered data regarding UX needs across the organization for use in executive planning and resource allocation, and completed the Analysis and Recommendations for Qualtrics Enterprise System for UCI.

 

Student Data Warehouse (SDW) – In collaboration with the Office of Institutional Reporting, OIT is in the process of implementing a student data warehouse for the central and campus use which will contain historical and current student data. The first phase of this project includes daily student enrollment data, and we will expand the SDW to include census, admissions, and other subject areas.

Data Governance – OIT is working with the Office of Institutional Reporting and other central offices to implement a data governance process for our key institutional data assets. Our first deliverables include developing the business glossary, data quality standards, and data request processes for UCPath reporting data, and will expand to include student and financial data.

Data-driven Decisions - We improved our ability to forecast infrastructure growth and budget procurements.  We implemented a process to follow up with customers regarding incidents requiring more than one visit to obtain feedback and to improve overall customer service. We upgraded and modernized BLISS to DWQuery and migrated to HTML5 and Spring Backend.  We installed and configured Informatica Advanced Edition and documented processes for using new features, including Metadata Manager.

ITSM - OIT consolidated more of its processes into our ServiceNow IT Service Management system.  We converted numerous manual service-deployment processes to automated workflows, providing direct access to customers with on-line forms, allowing for better request tracking and faster and more reliable service provision.  We have completed the first phase of our database of systems and services, which will improve our ability to align requests with resources.

5. Foster technology innovation and collaboration with campus and externally.

Research Compliance - We collaborated with RMS-Tick@Lab customers, ULAR/IACUC management and A-Tune to identify opportunities for local usability improvements and/or vendor-developed improvements

Recruit expansion - This year, we explored use of UC Recruit for staff waivers and exemptions, explored expansion of UC Recruit to non-UC organizations, and launched UC Recruit for UC ANR and provide initial training.

Campus IT Collaborations - OIT worked with the School IT Directors, coordinating and integrating campus IT efforts, and providing new commodity services to schools, such as Windows services, software needs, and reporting to improve coordination among Purchasing, OIT, and vendors.

Center for Engaged Instruction - We partnered with the Center for Engaged Instruction to ensure cross-polination of ideas for faculty outreach activities, including training and presentations opportunities.

DUE - We met with all DUE units that have pending development requests to re-prioritize and modify work items to fit current needs and requirements.

ETLC - OIT Services UC systemwide committee on Educational Technology (ETLC) by chairing this group in 2017-2019.

Strategic Communications - OIT attended the Strategic Communications monthly collaboration meetings, providing guidance when requested and representing the interests of OIT for any Web Content initiatives.

UCIMC - We provided UCI Medical Center with infrastructure evaluation and preliminary scope for UCIMC departments on campus (Gottschalk Plaza).

Software and Systems Coordination - OIT continues to manage UCI's relationship with the UC Large Area Reseller (currently SHI).  ensuring documentation is kept updated, reviewing expectations on an annual basis and providing status updates.  We updated the recommended system configurations document for the start of the Fall quarter.  We migrated software & hardware information pages for easier customer use.  We oversaw UCI's Zoom usage overall and coordination with Zoom Account Executive. We rolled out Microsoft Groups, Teams, and To-Do to UCI's Office365 community.

UC System - OIT worked with other UC campuses through the year, including:

  • Assisting in UCR's implementation of Service Now
  • Collaborating with SDSC regarding their open source data center information system (DCIM) implementation
  • Representing of UCI (via SSG) in discussions with Adobe & Microsoft Account Executives
  • Provide UC Recruit data to the ongoing NSF Project “Evaluating Equity in Faculty Recruitment”
  • Partner with UCOP in designing and providing UC Recruit data for the Advancing Faculty Diversity project
  • Serving as co-coordinator of the UC wide AWS security focus group
  • Conducting Cognos capacity planning and license analysis; work with UCOP to purchase needed licensing through ESSO process
  • Collaborating with other UC campuses, through the ServiceNow Users Group, to learn through their experiences, documentation and processes.
  • Serving as co-chair in the UC Business Intelligence Collaboration Group, collaborating in the design and maintenance of reporting and data warehousing solutions for UCPath
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