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Center for Information Technology Services FY 2019 Annual Report

Table of Contents

  • CIO Statement/Mission Statement
  • CITS Overview
  • CITS Strategic Plan and Goals

CIO Statement/Mission Statement

Dr. Peter J. Murray, Chief Information Officer and Vice President for Information Technology

The Center for Information Technology Services (CITS) is the central information technology organization for UMB. Our mission and focus is to treat UMB students, faculty, staff, colleagues, and co-workers as treasured customers. Excellence in service to the UMB community is our challenge and responsibility.

CITS Overview

Composed of five areas, the Center for Information Technology Services provides IT maintenance, support, and oversight to the entire University of Maryland, Baltimore campus. These areas are Technology Operations & Planning, Infrastructure Services, Networking and Communications, Information Security and Compliance, and Enterprise Applications, detailed below:

Technology Operations & Planning includes Project Management, Identity Management and System Integration, Web Applications and Development, IT Training and Communications, IT Support and Software Licensing, Central Administration IT Support and Services, Philanthropy IT Systems and Services, and the Student ERP System.

Infrastructure Services implements and maintains the central computing data centers and infrastructure (i.e., database services, messaging systems, Microsoft systems, UNIX systems, computer operations and data storage) for the campus enterprise computerized services.

Networking and Communications maintains the University communications systems, including Webex and Unity, as well as the campus computer networking systems.

Information Security and Compliance strengthens the security for all University-owned systems, with additional consideration for those systems that have access to sensitive data, monitor industry trends, investigate, locate, and mitigate IT security vulnerabilities, and ensure campus compliance with state and University System of Maryland audit and data security regulations.

Enterprise Applications implements and manages administrative and academic systems, including Quantum Financials, eUMB HRMS, Kuali Research, Blackboard, ImageNow and MediaSite.

Featured Goals

Goal 1:

Assess the state of technology available to West Baltimore community residents where UMB is engaged by June 30, 2018. Develop and execute a strategy with UMB stakeholders by June 30, 2019, to address any deficiencies with technology to support UMB's health, legal, and social work programs in those areas.

Summary - Completed/Milestone Achieved

CITS, in collaboration with other UMB departments, has been participating this past year on the working group that is designing and building-out the new Community Engagement Center (CEC).

Working group is designing and building-out new Community Engagement Center.

The CITS team has designed the computing network in the renovated building and for the new CEC space, as well as having provided the specifications for the computers, audio-visual equipment, and the cameras that will be installed in the new CEC space. The CITS network team has also been working on pulling fiber-optic cabling from the UMB Grid facility to the new CEC building, which will provide the network connectivity needed by the CEC operation.

Upgraded network and audio-visual capabilities in CEC

In addition, this past year, CITS purchased and installed new audio-visual equipment in the existing CEC space. The audio-visual technology allows for video-conferencing via WebEx and Skype, and it includes a computer, camera, speakers, a microphone, an easy to use touch screen device for operating the equipment. The CEC staff, as well as visitors to the CEC, are now able to have video-conferencing sessions with people in UMB schools and departments, to companies and potential employers, to training sites for education and learning purposes, and to other local, national, or globally available online resources. It allows for meetings, presentations and online content to be initiated and delivered to or from the CEC, connecting individuals residing within or outside of UMB.

Lastly, this past year, CITS has been working with Verizon Corporation on a University of Maryland Baltimore and Verizon Partnership. This partnership establishes an agreement where the cumulative spend by UMB for Verizon goods and services has achievement thresholds that creates grant pools to fund Community Engagement Programs.

Goal 2:

Assess the state of technology available to global communities where UMB is engaged by June 30, 2018. Develop and execute a strategy with UMB stakeholders by June 30, 2019, to address any deficiencies with technology to support UMB's health, legal, and social work programs in those areas.

Summary - Completed/Milestone Achieved

This past year, during the UMB Global Health Summit, CITS met with the leaders of programs in Africa that have responsibility for information technology and the data collected for these program studies. The initial meeting has led to additional meetings and conversations regarding how CITS can help these individuals and programs with their IT and data needs. A primary need that was identified was to have a common platform that could be used by all programs for analyzing and storing program data.

New cloud infrastructure platform being created for UMB Global Health services

CITS arranged a meeting with two of the key IT program managers to review and discuss the benefits of using the Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure. Subsequent meetings included CITS, the program managers, and Microsoft engineers. Work is now underway to re-architect the National Data Repository for the Government of Nigeria and to use the Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure. The initial work will include using Power BI embedded for an analytics reporting portal, and Azure Databricks for data ingestion. The Microsoft Azure infrastructure is being specifically provisioned for this program under the UMB Microsoft umbrella license. This initial work and activity to leverage CITS expertise and the UMB Microsoft license and Microsoft engineers, provides great opportunity for additional UMB Global Health services to use this common platform for analyzing and storing program data.

Goal 3:

Evaluate annual statistics of network utilization and capacity, and collaborate and coordinate with school and department personnel to make strategic investments.

Summary - Completed/Milestone Achieved

Significant network advancements and achievements were made this past year. The two most significant were:

New Campus Core Networking Equipment

a. The main core network equipment that is the intersection of the Internet and campus network was purchased and implemented this past year. This was a huge and complex project of installing multiple pieces of equipment that provide access to the Internet and operate the campus network. Due to effective planning and preparation, the installation was performed flawlessly with minimal interruption of network connectivity.

Fiber and Redundant Network Equipment in the 620 West Lexington St. Building

b. The completion of the fiber connection, room upgrade, and the move of one-half of the core networking equipment from Howard Hall to the 620 West Lexington St. building was completed. This was a critical Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) item that needed to be completed so that the UMB network would remain operational if there was a fire, flood, or some other building damage to Howard Hall, where all of the network equipment was previously located. Howard Hall was a single point of network failure, which has been rectified by the completion of this project.

Network connection to Internet upgraded; adding redundancy

Also, in collaboration and coordination with schools and departments, CITS upgraded existing wireless access points in campus buildings. This investment significantly improved the Wi-Fi experience for students, faculty, and staff, and prepared UMB for the continued growth of wireless usage in the future.

Upgraded wireless network; increased network bandwidth

Also, in collaboration and coordination with schools and departments, fiber optic network connections and network switches were upgraded this past year to provide greater network bandwidth to University desktop computers and between campus buildings. This effort increased network bandwidth from 1 Gbps to 10Gbps in many locations, which will provide sufficient network transmission capacity for existing and future innovative research, scholarship and clinical sciences initiatives.

Goal 4:

Develop a plan and strategy that would identify and recommend an infrastructure(s) for storing, managing, and accessing research data.

Summary - Completed/Milestone Achieved (80%)

Work has been done and progress has been made in developing infrastructure solutions for storing, managing, and accessing research data. This plan and strategy includes using cloud-based service providers. CITS has worked diligently with Strategic Sourcing and Acquisition Services to establish contracts with Microsoft Corporation (Azure Cloud Infrastructure); Oracle Corporation (Oracle Infrastructure and Platform as a Service); and Amazon (Amazon Web Infrastructure Services). These contracts are the building blocks needed to leverage cloud infrastructure services for storing, managing, and accessing research data.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) now available to host computing environments in the Cloud

The Microsoft Azure Cloud infrastructure is being used extensively by faculty and staff, including by faculty researchers. Each member of the University community has access to MS OneDrive which allows up to 10 terabytes of storage space under the UMB Microsoft licensing agreement. Faculty researchers also have access to SOMFiles. This was a collaborative venture undertaken by CITS and the SOM Office of Information Services. SOMFiles is a secure, highly-available storage system for faculty and staff that is supported by the SOM Office of Information Services. This storage system is backed-up multiple times per day to alternate physical locations and also to campus facilities following industry best practices for data protection. In addition, the Amazon AWS infrastructure services will be available to faculty researchers and staff in FY 2020.

CITS and SOM collaboration provides university-wide research storage - SOMFiles

Another significant achievement this past year was the development of a Research Data Management proposal. This draft proposal for developing a research data management program at UMB was prepared and submitted to the Executive Vice President and Provost for review. The proposal includes addressing important elements such as: Governance; Ownership; Management; Metadata Standards; Research Data Definition and Data Guidelines (using the “FAIR” principles of findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable); and Computing Resources.

Lastly, with the joint UMB/Johns Hopkins application for a Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) being awarded and funded this past year, a clinical research “Data Trust” Committee is in the process of being formed. This UMB-UMMS Data Trust Committee will provide oversight, develop policies, and make recommendations related to research use of patient data in clinical systems of the University of Maryland Medical (UMMS) entities.

Goal 5:

Leverage the IT Stakeholder initiative, “Expanding Resources for Faculty Teaching and Learning with Technology”, and prepare a report of recommendations.

Summary - Completed/Milestone Achieved

As part of the IT Stakeholder Initiative: “Expanding Resources for Faculty Teaching and Learning with Technology and Enhancing Skills of Faculty and Providing Tools to Incorporate Technology in Teaching”, a committee of faculty with representation from each of the UMB Schools has been meeting regularly during FY 2019 to share information and discuss strategies related to professional development and the innovative uses of technology in teaching. The second annual event titled, “Teaching with Technology” was held on May 23, 2019 for the purpose of expanding interest and building faculty expertise in teaching with technology.

2nd annual event held - “Teaching with Technology” - to expand interest and expertise

The opening keynote speaker was Christina Cestone, the new Executive Director of the UMB Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning. The closing keynote speaker was M.J. Bishop, the Associate Vice-Chancellor and Director of the William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation and Director of the University System of Maryland’s Center for Academic Innovation. Presentations and discussions of effective methods for teaching online courses/classes were included in the program.

The faculty committee, which is chaired by Louise Jenkins, Director for the Institute for Educators, Director for Teaching in Nursing and Health Professions Certificate Program and Professor, is a sub-group of the UMB IT Stakeholder Committee. The comments and suggestions below were submitted by Dr. Jenkins on behalf of this faculty group.

1. Our group was thrilled to learn that our recommendation to create a centralized campus center became a reality this past year! We look forward to working with Dr. Cestone to help make this resource focused on Faculty and Staff (rather than a sole focus on creating new online courses).

Below are some of our related thoughts for consideration:

The Teaching with Technology Faculty Group is willing to serve as an Advisory group to Dr. Cestone as work on the centralized campus center starts and progresses in a meaningful manner. It will be important for the leader of this group to work closely with Dr. Cestone.

We do see this Center serving as a “drop-in”, inter-professional, consultation resource for faculty and staff. This approach would facilitate increased faculty/technology staff interaction and

We would like to eventually see regularly scheduled informal learning experiences offered and recorded by video for posting on the dedicated web-site for communication and ongoing development of faculty and staff related to teaching with technology.

2. We propose that the Annual Teaching with Technology Conference be “housed” within the centralized campus center being led by Dr. Cestone. Dedicated resources are needed to support this conference (e.g. conference speakers fees, related food service, etc.) and we propose that Dr. Cestone be responsible for assuring these resources from the budget of the centralized campus center. Our 2-year experience with this offers convincing evidence of the importance of having resources available so that the conference is essentially “free” to faculty.

3. We recommend establishing a Campus website dedicated to Teaching with Technology that would offer a platform for better using technology to disseminate both educational offerings and more efficient dissemination of numerous small initiatives taking place in individual UMB Schools and increase availability to all across UMB Schools. Likewise, a library of “how-to” resources (e.g. videos and other media) could allow for easy online-access when the centralized Campus Center is not available.

4. At the level of UMB Schools, we strongly encourage greater emphasis on faculty-IT staff interaction as well as visibility of scholarly work. We encourage greater recognition of scholarly work involving aspects of Teaching with Technology and multiple aspects of Teaching and Learning. For example, such accomplishments should receive greater recognition in both School and campus publications. Such activities offer real-life examples of the benefits of the initiatives put forth in this recommendation in formats that can be much more widely shared with Maryland institutions as well as beyond.

5. We continue to urge UMB schools to include scholarly work related to teaching with technology into their APT criteria to allow these to be visible and valuable contributions within and across UMB.

Goal 6:

Increase University knowledge of contemporary productivity tools and applications and well as knowledge of information security best practices.

Summary - Completed/Milestone Achieved

After the successful launch of Microsoft Office 365, CITS began a campaign to train individuals in central administration departments and in UMB schools. During FY 2019, the following formal training sessions were held: Introduction to OneDrive: 46 sessions; Microsoft Teams/and being a Teams Owner: 72 sessions; SharePoint: 31 sessions; Office 365 File Management and The Modern Workplace: 21 sessions; and Microsoft Skype: 3 sessions. In addition, there were numerous other personal training sessions held during the year and CITS prepared and posted a wealth of Office 365 instructional resources on the following webpage: http://www.umaryland.edu/office365/. The web page includes video snippets, how-to documents, and instructional guides for using Microsoft Office 365 applications.

Security awareness training completed

Another campus-wide security awareness training campaign was delivered during FY 2019. We used content in the KnowBe4 security awareness application. Of the total number of individuals receiving the campus email invitation to participate in the program, 82% responded and completed the security awareness training. We also conducted a phishing simulation for the users in Central Administration, and of the total number of individuals who received the simulated phishing email, 8.8% made a mistake and clicked on the link in the email. This was a much better result than what has been recorded at most institutions. The industry benchmark for a university of our size typically results in 28.2% of people inappropriately clicking on the link. Also, the CITS Office of Security & Compliance submitted monthly articles to The Elm that were related to security awareness as well as shared the monthly SANS (the leading resource for security awareness training) security publication “Ouch!” with IT professionals throughout the UMB community.

Goal 7:

Promote knowledge, expertise and career development in CITS by encouraging every staff member to attend at least one professional development opportunity each year.

Summary - Almost Completed/Milestone Achieved (93%)

The completed annual report of CITS staff professional development activities indicated that 95 of the 102 CITS staff (93%) participated in at least one professional development activity in FY 2019.

93% of CITS staff participated in at least one professional development opportunity

We will continue to promote the acquisition of new knowledge, additional expertise and career development in FY 2020 so that every staff member has the opportunity to attend at least one professional development opportunity during the year.

Goal 8:

Expand and promote cultural competence in the Center for Information Technology Services (CITS) by celebrating a climate of diversity and inclusion.

Summary - Completed/Milestone Achieved

Again this past year, at a CITS all organization meeting on May 15, 2019, a member of the Diversity Advisory Council (DAC) gave a presentation to CITS staff. It was an excellent presentation that provided information about the DAC, its mission, goals, accomplishments and events. The presentation also addressed the topic of understanding culture as well as providing a statement on cultural competence. The presentation was followed by a question and answer session. This presentation as well as other information and conversations about cultural competence have helped expand and promote cultural competence in the Center for Information Technology Services.

DAC key part of CITS all organization meetings

A presentation by a member of the DAC will be an annual event and will occur again at an all CITS organization meeting in FY 2020.

Goal 9:

Collaborate with colleagues at USM institutions, other Maryland higher education institutions and K – 12 schools to leverage collective buying power.

Summary - Completed/Milestone Achieved

In FY 2019, UMB collaborated extensively with USM institutions, other higher education institutions, K-12 schools and leveraged the buying power of the Maryland Education Enterprise Consortium (MEEC). Examples where IT savings have been realized for UMB include: via the USM coordinated Maryland Research and Education Network (MDREN) for reduced cost access to the Internet; through the cooperative UMB/UMCP arrangement with the Mid-Atlantic Crossroads (MAX), where UMB is provided access to the high-speed Internet2 network and in exchange for this access, UMCP has located MAX networking equipment in the 300 West Lexington Street computing facility at UMB; through the USM-wide Cisco contract for network hardware maintenance; via the new USM-wide Palo Alto contract for network security equipment; via Internet2 for waived egress fees for Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud, Amazon Web Services, and for Duo multi-factor authentication, and other Internet 2 services; and, via MEEC to achieve significant volume discounts for Microsoft licenses, Apple hardware, Dell computers and servers, and other software including: Symantec, Adobe, InCommon, Terminal4, Carbon Black, and MicroFocus; and for consulting services via the use of MEEC resellers that deploy and support enterprise applications, e.g., instructional technology systems, student system, IT security-related systems, etc.

IT savings have been realized through UMB collaborations

Also, UMB facilitated the consolidation of the Statistical Analysis System (SAS) contracts from all USM schools to a single contract that UMB administers. Lastly, UMB collaborated with UMCP to maximize the volume discount and the purchase of Mathematica and ArcGIS. The volume discount for these products has been made available to other USM institutions. The MEEC and USM IT cost-saving agreements noted above were shared with and made available to the UMB community via the CITS Software Licensing Office, UMB websites, and in other media and forums.

Goal 10:

Collaborate with UMB and UMCP colleagues to develop and implement a mutual IT strategic plan in FY 2017.

Summary - Completed/Milestone Achieved

The significant accomplishment this past year was the completion of the project to consolidate the Kuali Research application for use by both UMB and UMCP. There is now one database instance and common access to the application from both universities. The project achieved a key goal of allowing combined reporting of research proposals and awards generated by both universities.

Kuali Research application and database successfully combined for use by UMB and UMCP

The success of the Kuali Research project came on the heels of completing the Identity Management project, which is the technology unification between the two campuses. The technology unification solution allows faculty, staff, students, etc., the ability to gain access to IT systems and resources by using their respective university’s ID and password. The Seed Grant program application was the first to be added to this technology unification framework.

Goal 11:

Partner with Administration and Finance and UMB schools and departments to develop and implement a financial system providing a strategic and streamlined approach to financial analyses.

Summary - Completed/Milestone Achieved (80%)

CITS is partnering with Administration and Finance to develop and implement Oracle’s Cloud Financials, Planning and Budgeting, and Analytics solutions. These modern cloud applications are based on best practices and will provide a platform for improving business processes and enhancing our ability to make data driven decisions. The project has consisted of four iterative design, configuration and validation phases to incrementally develop a final solution that will be rolled out to the campus in October 2019. During this past year, the project team was actively engaged with personnel in schools and departments as the project moved through each of these phases and is continuing to do so during the final months of testing, training, and deploying this new financial system and reporting solution.

Quantum Financials due to launch in October 2019

Goal 12:

Assessment, Survey, Services

IT Satisfaction Survey

  • An IT satisfaction survey was administered in March 2019. The following two items provide an important benchmark of IT satisfaction, as recorded by faculty, staff, and students.
  • The goal was to achieve a mean score of 4.00 or better for each item on the survey.

Summary - Completed/Milestone Achieved

How satisfied are you that IT personnel take a “customer-oriented” approach to helping you?

Please rate your overall satisfaction with the IT services you receive.

Goal 13:

Continue to partner with UMB schools and departments and affiliated entities to assess risks, seek vulnerabilities and recommend solutions and mitigate the risks.

Summary - Completed/Milestone Achieved

The Information Security Collaborative (ISC) includes participation from IT leaders, information security professionals, and other IT professionals from CITS, all UMB schools, FPI, and UMMS. There is consensus among the individuals participating in the Collaborative that an enterprise-wide approach to information security is absolutely necessary. It is important that an Information Security Program that adheres to Federal, State, USM, and other mandatory security rules, requirements and guidelines in order to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data.

During FY 2019, the participants of the ISC shared operational policies, practices, and procedures that resulted in effective information security and the protection of information assets, protected health information, and patient and employee personal information. The ISC working group (which comprises about 40 individuals and is chaired by the UMB Information Security Officer and information security officers from the SOM/FPI and UMMS) coordinated activities that responded to information security vulnerabilities that cross operational intersections.

ISC taking key actions to strengthen security and mitigate risk for UMB

The FY 2019 Information Security Collaborative report identified key actions taken during the year, and the actions included:

  • Performing internal UMB scans by the CITS Office of Security and Compliance. Scans of all UMB public facing systems were run quarterly to assess and test SSL configurations, and any system that recorded a weak configuration was identified and addressed immediately.
  • Applying Nessus agents and performing scans of computers for all campus schools and departments. These agents were installed on University computers, which were helpful in providing additional information regarding the security of UMB machines.
  • CarbonBlack software was deployed to all non-domain joined computer systems in central administration. CarbonBlack has helped in providing even better management of computers that seldom, if ever, connect directly to the campus network to receive patch updates.
  • This past year, the ISC began a project to investigate and identify the patch management systems in use across the UMB enterprise to determine if there is a common system(s) being used. The project will continue into FY 2020 and will pursue the goal of having one patch management platform that can provide a common cadence for vulnerability management as well as cost savings for schools and departments.
  • A major project has been underway this past year to implement Microsoft’s DLP and Encryption for email, which is replacing the Cisco IronPort appliances that will be retired in November, 2019.

In addition to undertaking multi-layered security assessments and addressing found vulnerabilities, on-going everyday IT security work was undertaken this past year and it cannot be overlooked and overstated. For example, the intrusion prevention system is monitored closely every day because there are now over 25 million daily attempts to get unauthorized access to the UMB network and to machines connected to the network. The campus system for email delivery, anti-spam and anti-virus, is also monitored continuously since about 75% of all incoming email is identified as some type of security threat and must be blocked. Collaborating and sharing IT security information and potential threats across the enterprise is what makes the ISC so successful and strong.

Goal 14:

Develop a campus-wide instructional technology infrastructure plan by June 30, 2018 and make strategic investments in the instructional technology infrastructure as needed in subsequent years.

Summary - Completed/Milestone Achieved

The UMB instructional technology plan was enhanced this past year by the introduction of the WebEx Training and Webex Events modules, which have improved the on-line classroom experience for students.

WebEx launched to enhance online teaching and virtual classroom experience

Since the launch of the Cisco Communication/Collaboration solution, UMB faculty have learned new ways to improve their on-line teaching and ability to enhance the on-line classroom experience for student through the use of the Webex Training module. This module offers faculty the option to extend on-line classroom sessions for up to 1000 participants, and it includes a hands-on-lab, on-line training, and instant break-out sessions including a test library for creating questions and grading exams. Similarly, the Webex Events module also adds great value by providing the capability of hosting events for up to 1000 participants/students.

Goal 15:

Achieve compliance with the latest version of the USM IT security standards and the Office of Legislative Audits information security requirements by June 30, 2018.

Summary - Completed/Milestone Achieved

This past year, the Maryland State Office of Legislative Audit (OLA) completed an IT audit at UMB. After spending nearly five months at UMB, and hundreds of hours checking applications and systems, collecting data, reviewing documentation and asking questions, they gave us just one IT/IS discussion note (DN). The one Discussion Note was not deemed worthy to be included in the final University of Maryland, Baltimore Audit Report that was published in July 2019 and has been made available to the public. There weren’t any IT/IS finding(s) in the final legislative audit report for UMB. Having just one Discussion Note and no final IT finding is a monumental achievement. It is very rare for any Maryland state institution or agency that is audited by the OLA not to have at least one final IT report finding, and even rarer to have just one DN.

Historic legislative audit – zero IT/IS findings

UMB has a very complex IS/IT environment, and the OLA auditors noted and appreciated the complexity of the IT environment that we work in every day. They also appreciated and recognized all of the new policies, procedures, standards, technologies, etc. that were implemented during the three years since their last audit.

Goal 16:

Coordinate IT Help Desk operations by completing the implementation of the shared ticketing application initiative.

Summary - Completed/Milestone Achieved

A shared collaborative incident management (helpdesk ticketing) application has been implemented to improve the customer experience. It is aligning the distributed helpdesk units and provides each group the tools and ability to leverage the resources of one another. There are ten different support units that have adopted the common incident management system and they are coordinating their support operations. Over 51,000 incidents have been recorded in FY 2019 using this common system.

Campus-wide ticketing system used by 10 units for over 51,000 incidents

In addition, through an on-going assessment of service indicators and current operations, new opportunities for strengthening the service are identified and implemented. The UMB Schools participate in those assessments, and based on their input and feedback, the Campus IT Helpdesk operations are being expanded.

Last year, two NPower interns were hired. NPower is a local company aimed at providing professional IT opportunities to veterans and individuals in underserved communities. After their internships expired, these individuals were hired as full-time contingent employees. These additional resources allowed the Campus IT Helpdesk to start having full walk-in and call-in hours on the weekends (previously only email and voicemail options were available). They also allowed the IT Helpdesk to answer almost all in-coming calls. This has helped strengthen the responsiveness of the Helpdesk by improving the percentage of calls answered from 27% to 82%. Before they were hired, some calls would go into voicemail because the call volume was too large for the existing staff to answer them.

Additional new opportunities and actions for strengthening service include extending the weekday coverage from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and supplementing some of the other IT support units’ operations in the Schools. A major upgrade of the common incident management system was completed in November 2018. In addition to minor bug fixes, this new version provides additional reporting capabilities. A significant aspect of this upgrade was a change in platform, a requirement for future upgrades. As a result of the upgrade, we are now better positioned for the next major upgrade, which emphasizes a more intuitive interface for end users to enter and track help desk tickets. The upgrade subsequent to that emphasizes the technician interface, bringing greater flexibility for the IT support groups to make customizations specific to their operations.

Additional improvements:

  • We have continued to engage with NPower, currently hosting two additional interns during the summer, at no cost to UMB. Combined with the data collected and reported, and lessons learned based on that data, this may lead to very targeted short-term engagements to address increases in the volume of requests, specifically at the start of the semesters.
  • A one-question customer satisfaction survey has been implemented for tickets processed through the IT Help Desk, providing instant feedback for the technician, as well as an additional indicator of quality of service.
  • We have continued to engage with the UMB Schools and organizational units to improve customer service and efficiency of our support operations.
  • We are currently handling incoming calls for the School of Pharmacy. Analysis continues to further develop this integration.
  • Analysis continues to further develop similar integrations with the other Schools.
  • We have continued to engage with the manufacturer of our common incident management system, informally partnering with them to develop and improve the functionality and usability of their system.

Below are the Helpdesk Statistics for FY 2019:

Goal 17:

Expand a common communications infrastructure throughout the University.

Summary - Completed/Milestone Achieved

A campus-wide Working Group, with representation from each UMB school, reviewed the many communication/collaboration tools being used across UMB and investigated the possible acquisition and implementation of a new communication and collaboration tool(s). The goal for the group was to recommend a communication/collaboration tool that could be deployed throughout UMB. The assessment of existing tools used at UMB, as well as any new technology, included reviewing best features, best uses, costs of the tools, and any gaps in what was currently licensed and available. The group’s final recommendation was the Cisco Collaboration Platform, which is new to UMB and includes many telephony and unified communication advancements as well as contemporary on-demand WebEx web conferencing and videoconferencing capabilities.

WebEx launched as university-wide communication and collaboration tool

An agreement with Cisco was reached and these new Cisco communication and collaboration tools were officially launched on April 2, 2019. The two most popular and widely used modules are Webex Meetings and Webex Teams. However, Webex Events and Webex Training modules are also available and being used by faculty, students and staff.

The Webex solution provides a multitude of services including: Video and Audio conferencing, Virtual-training sessions, Webinars/Events, and Multimedia content sharing and file transfers. Features such as cloud storage (recorded meetings) and Personal Room (Same Meeting ID and a dedicated dial-in number) have been the most popular so far. WebEx is very easy to use because it is fully integrated with Microsoft Outlook, and since it is on the Outlook “tool bar”, Webex meetings can be scheduled in seconds. This calendaring feature adds additional value in conference rooms equipped with Cisco video-conferencing “room kits”. The Cisco Communication and Collaboration solution is a common communications infrastructure that is being used throughout the University, and its use will continue to grow in the coming year.

Goal 18:

Build-out the identity management infrastructure to maximize user access to systems through the use of a single set of credentials.

Summary - Completed/Milestone Achieved

A major IT accomplishment has occurred with the implementation and use of a common ID across the University. This was THE key IT request in the first UMB Strategic Plan.

The quest for a single ID for the entire university now complete

Today, UMB faculty, staff, and affiliates, as well as students are using a common ID, such that their Userids and Passwords are linked and automatically synchronizing across the University. This means that only one Userid/Password is needed for faculty, staff and students to get access to UMID applications, email, and computer workstations.

Featured Goal Completion