Date: May 14, 2019

Time: 1:00-2:30 pm

Location: Modular 108 Conference Room

Members Present: William Griffenberg (Chair), Deanna Reynolds (Program Director), Leigh Hill (Recorder), Rachel Montejano, Jane Mims, Christopher Scott (Representing Daniel Garza), Chris Leach, Jessica Loudermilk, Reed Vesey, Fernando Estrada

ITS Representatives: Albert Ortiz, Sarah LeNoir, Sherita Love, Jose Sanchez       

Members Absent: Kevin Barton, Phillip Rodgers, Jo Benavides-Franke, Miriam Magdaleno         

TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION:

Time

Topic

Presenter

10 min

Welcome & Introductions

 

W. Griffenberg

30 min

Review ITSC Charter including Member Roles and Responsibilities

 

W. Griffenberg

20 min

CIO Priorities, Strategic Initiatives

 

W. Griffenberg

10 min

Enterprise-Wide Project Updates – Active Projects

 

D. Reynolds

15 min

Open Discussion; Q&A

 

W. Griffenberg

5 min

Adjournment

 

W. Griffenberg

 

Summary/Key points

  • Emphasis on the value of this committee in not only gathering official priority votes from the members but also in their being ambassadors for IT initiatives across campus and within their respective areas.
  • Emphasis on the importance of spending money strategically with a focus on acquiring technology in line with the rapidly moving trends in technology, which will increase the university’s competitive edge in attracting and retaining students.
  • Disaster Recovery planning is a priority to discuss amongst members of the ITSC.

Call to order

  • Bill shared with the group that in the formation of the ITSC he requested representation of 2 people from each area across campus whose responsibility is to decide priorities as well as budgets for items that have been historically handled by IT only. He emphasized that the voting members of the committee do represent their respective Vice Presidents and that their votes will carry their weight and voice.
  • The committee is expected to meet every other month and Bill will bring items to the committee for review and vote, which he will then take to the President’s cabinet for review and will subsequently bring the determination on those proposals back to the committee. Votes within the committee require 51% or 8 of the voting members present to have a Quorum.

Review of the ITSC Charter

  • Decision Making Structure: Bill shared that his previous committee, the ITSSC, received more negative feedback but not much constructive advice on improving IT operations and initiatives. He emphasized the value of this committee in not only gathering official priority votes from the members but also in their being ambassadors for IT initiatives across campus and within their respective areas.
  • Bill noted that the ITSC will review and approve policies that impact IT and assist with prioritization and budgeting items. He shared that money impacts a great deal of what we can do as we can only do as much as we can with the funding available; unfortunately, this means that some items that individual contributors or areas believe should be a priority cannot always be realized.
  • The benefit of representation within ITSC is that it will allow members to vote on which items are highest priority. Bill will then take these proposed projects to the President’s Cabinet and keep the ITAC informed.

CIO Strategic Initiatives

  • Bill shared that the ITS strategic plan has been approved and will serve as the ITS marching orders for the next five years. Listed in the ITS strategic plan are emerging technologies that ITS deemed to be worthy of consideration and adoption.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): Is a rapidly growing emerging technology and Bill emphasized that Education is one of the key institutions that will be impacted. He shared that as an institution, we need to think ahead and look toward the future; rather than purchasing business per usual, it is important to work toward implementing technology of the future. Staying attuned to and bringing in technology trends will help the university to maintain its’ competitive edge in attracting and retaining students, who attend university in part for the sophistication of the technology available to them. An example is the use of holographic guides who with the press of a button can interact with students by telling the student how to find their class or locate a specific office.
  • E-Sports: IT is in research of the infrastructure that will be used to support E-sports.
  • Think Hub-College Station Engineering has think hubs for their students and faculty; IT proposed it for the new academic building and was cut out. But it is proposed for the future.
  • Learning Glass-Managed by Dr. Sherita Love, Bill mentioned providing a demo to the cabinet.

ITSC ITS Project Updates

  • Computer Refresh Program: Identifying who should receive an equipment upgrade will now be moved to the committee to decide who will receive new equipment going forward. This will no longer be an IT decision and moved to the discretion of the departments via their representation in ITSC. ITS will compile the list of aging equipment and provide it to the committee for vote.
  • Infrastructure Refresh: With the completion of this project, IT can now support major projects and initiatives such as Laserfiche and VDI. Another benefit of the refresh is a split data center, which means that if services in CAB go down, the network will automatically begin running on a datacenter in the SciTech building and vice versa. Ultimately, this means that if services go down in either building, users will not encounter a disruption in services.
  • Disaster Recovery (DR): TAMUSA’s disaster recovery site is located in Laredo. The current DR plan renders A&M-SA less effective in a crisis due to a number of factors. A new plan is in formulation to take old equipment to Laredo, build a similar recovery site there and keep it updated as much as possible which would cut down on response time of IT in a crisis and allow IT to bring systems back up more quickly. The only way to make this work still requires members of ITS to physically travel to Laredo to securely unlock systems with the necessary A&M-SA credentials. This can only be done with A&M-SA ITS physically on site. Bill also discussed the need for the committee to vote on the cost of the Disaster Recovery plan by bringing quotes for lines between here and Laredo; the result of the vote will be compiled and brought to the President’s Cabinet. The committee will also vote on the systems that IT should prioritize in bringing back on line, such as Banner, once the team reaches Laredo.
  • Banner on Prem: Because Banner is such a critical program, requests for system changes should be made as quickly as possible. Because the system is hosted by another company, IT has been at the mercy of their response time to change requests. Unfortunately, the response time has been slower than needed. Bill gave an example of a change request that sat for 6 months before any action was taken. By bringing the program in house, IT will significantly increase response time to system change requests. IT will need to have this project complete before August 1, before classes start.

 

ITSC ITS Project Updates (cont.)

  • DUO: We were going to force this on campus but didn’t and then A&M-system mandated it today. They will force everyone who are not on DUO to be on it. Individuals being on DUO would help prevent scams. Bill mentioned that as the Information Resource Manager (IRM), he is responsible to both state and A&M-System regulations. This means that he is responsible for every piece of technology equipment on campus. Should something happen with information security, the Information Security Office (ISO), Lionel Cassin is held accountable, Bill is held accountable and the President is held accountable. Because of this responsibility, when IT makes a change, it is for an important and specific reason - namely to keep the university out of trouble and free of scandal. Duo will be rolled out to everyone, to include students.
  • Auditorium Refresh: Auditorium will be closed for 4 weeks to upgrade to A/V equipment that will significantly support the President and other events held in the auditorium.
  • Parking Permit System Replacement: IT is in discovery for a replacement system for the parking & transportation department to change the way parking permits are purchased and issued.
  • CAB 223 A/V Refresh: Old equipment will be replaced that had not originally been accounted for in the budget.
  • Academic Building: IT will provide A/V support which is usually included in the flat budget fee. A lesson learned in this approach to new building budgeting came from the SciTech building. The construction budget accounted for A/V equipment, however the cost of PC’s for the building had not been taken into consideration which IT ended up footing the bill for. As part of the President’s goals for the new building to be as technologically sophisticated as possible, IT made recommendations that would achieve her goal, however, most of the IT technology suggestions were cut out due to lack of funding.
  • Laserfiche: This project is kicking off now. Each division will be reached out to now that we have infrastructure in place to support it.

Q&A Open discussion:

Q: Is Syncplicity going away? No, would love to change to a new system, but if users find use in it, it will not be moved away. Jane asks: Can you use the cloud in O365? Yes. But we need to be cognizant of the more systems we use independently, the harder it is to support. Jane asks if it has to do with security concerns? Yes. We will protect out servers and if you use the tools we provide we can guarantee security, but if you use your own items and give away information or get hacked we’ll have to handle it according to A&M-System and state law.

Q: Disaster recovery in Laredo? Is it existing or coming? Equipment there already. But it was designed that they’d bring up sites they could without active directory.  Since Active Directory is so critical to operations here, that old plan is useless. Is the Website server a part of this plan? Yes, it will be put in Laredo, but whether to restore the use of the website is a priority decided in ITSC.

Q: Outlook directory updates? Handled by HR. Their updates trickle through the system and populate in the directory. Ultimately, we will not touch faculty and staff data unless HR says to and we will not touch student data unless the Registrar says to. As a rule of thumb, IT does not manipulate data just because we can. You own the data. Q: Is that also what is happening with people directory on the website. Yes. However, we are cleaning up data from AD.

Q: Scala players: Bill says IT should own it except for content. We should replace them with better technology that exists, which can do things like live streaming. IT is looking into the budget for replacing Scala with integrated televisions; either way funding will serve as a driving force for the feasibility. Bill mentioned he knows of technology that will run every TV for a digital wall and can support features like live streaming; this cannot be done with Scala. Fernando mentioned that clients do request certain things to be streamed on TV’s and if the technology could be adopted that may help to serve customers more ably.

Jane mentioned that IT should be involved in the pre-budget process for new buildings so that the true technology needs for that building can be considered. Bill agreed.

Adjournment with a final reminder that if members send someone in their place, they understand that that representative will have the power to vote in their place.

Meeting concluded at 2:30 pm.

 

Action items:

  • Provide a copy of the ITS strategic plan, meeting minutes and slide deck to ITSC members (Deanna)
  • Next Meeting: Voting item: Disaster Recovery budget and prioritization of systems that should be restored once ITS reaches Laredo