One of the key functions of OIT is to enable business process improvement. This includes providing access to a large variety of data, software and tools as well as platforms and services that enable campus business functions, unified IT services, facilities modification requests, HigherOne eStores services, REPORTER for non-credit courses, and more.
― Marc I. Hoit, Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
In the spring of 2015, the Office of Information Technology (OIT) implemented ServiceNow to replace its aging Remedy call tracking system.
Remedy was a software package used mainly by campus IT groups to store and track individual trouble tickets and to manage a frequently-asked question and solution database used to resolve those tickets.
Remedy served the information technology (IT) and campus community well for over 15 years, tracking more than two million tickets. When the time came to replace it, the Remedy Services Team discovered that the landscape of customer relationship management had changed, and industry products were focusing more on services than problems, and IT was merely one facet of a larger organizational viewpoint.
As the team moved closer to the rollout of ServiceNow, it realized that its scope was far too narrow for the product it selected. Of course, ServiceNow could handle incident and knowledge management — industry terms used to describe routine issues and the stored knowledge involved in their resolution. But those were just two of dozens of major modules for which ServiceNow was built.
ServiceNow also provided access to modules that could handle change management, asset and lifecycle management, and so many other aspects of what is commonly referred to as IT service management. In addition, ServiceNow provided loads of potential in the areas of project and portfolio management, software development, and even Facilities and Human Resources. And, those were just out-of-box modules. ServiceNow also had a very robust development aspect, wherein it could support custom applications and environments for scenarios that required integration into one central system.
With ServiceNow in production for over a year now, campus has seen an increase in the usage of the product and in the number of different ways it is being used.
The first customers to go live were part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Business Operations that use ServiceNow in ways never imagined when the product was initially selected.
Sheree Avent, CALS Accounting Services manager, said ServiceNow has improved the timeliness of processing transactions and efficiency in tracking documents. “Its functionality has enabled us to manage the workloads of the staff — from reassigning tickets when necessary to documenting communication requests for more information in order to provide timely processing,” she said. “This feature has greatly improved how we are able to provide consistent and transparent customer service.”
Avent added, “ServiceNow has also allowed us to identify the areas in which we need to improve and train, such as how and what we communicate and how often and how timely follow-up is.”
Another unit that saw ServiceNow as a means for growth is OIT Enterprise Application Services (EAS). EAS uses ServiceNow’s Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) module to track development of the REPORTER application used for required training and non-credit registrations.
“The development team used the SDLC module to track user stories and story points as well as code sprints and releases,” says Marina Kelly, IT Manager. “The module allowed our team to stay on top of our development timeline as well as to communicate with stakeholders during the development and testing phases of the project.”
ServiceNow has the potential to be a game-changing service for the campus community. It can address specific needs through out-of-box functionality or custom development, and as a whole, it can integrate services once thought to be separate and unrelated. Imagine a world where the Onboarding Center can automatically pass on a request for new phone and parking services before an employee starts, or where a notification to your phone informs you about a network or power outage before you come to work, because the system knows your office location and what resources you need to do your job. ServiceNow has that type of capacity — to make the unimaginable imaginable at NC State.
As one of the first-round IT Strategic Plan initiatives, a small working group set out this year to develop a more effective and efficient governance model, with clearly defined roles and responsibilities. The team made significant progress, though several staffing changes prevented the group from finalizing their recommendations. Debbie Carraway, who was recently appointed IT director for the College of Sciences after serving many years in OIT, now leads this team.
After evaluating other university’s models and reviewing literature, team members met with the chairs of the existing IT Governance committees and subcommittees. The group hopes to have recommendations for a high-level governance structure and suggested composition of the membership based on university roles by fall 2016.
NC State students, faculty, staff, and researchers can now use their Unity credentials to authenticate to international educational services via eduGAIN.
NC State is leveraging its InCommon participation via Shibboleth to offer campus users single sign-on convenience to 40 international federations in the eduGain global inter-federation service. eduGain provides single sign-on interaction with international higher education institutions, research organizations and corporate service providers. eduGAIN brings the same benefits as those provided by InCommon but on a global scale. NC State campus users will have access, where authorized, to:
- online journals and databases registered with participating federations
- collaborative services offered in various countries by virtual organizations
- international tools for analyzing and sharing data
- educational services offered via other national federations
For more information, see InCommon.
Need a hard copy of your work or study notes or research article while you’re on the go? It’s easy to print from your personal mobile device with Google Cloud Print.
Google Cloud Print allows you to print files from your smartphone, tablet, Chromebook, and Android devices to campus WolfCopy printers that support WolfPrint FollowMe Printing. You must be logged in to your Google Apps @ NC State (@ncsu.edu) account when printing to WolfPrint printers through Cloud Print.
With Google Cloud Print, you can also print Google file types from any browser using Google Drive on supported Web-connected devices. In addition, you can upload a PDF directly from the Google Drive page.
To meet the requirements for compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), OIT Security and Compliance acquired Identity Finder (IDF), data security software that searches for and identifies any payment card data stored on local or network drives.
IDF was installed on every Merchant workstation that:
- processed payment card data,
- might have processed payment card data, or
- was used for accessing payment reports.
OIT deployed the IDF client to workstations in the OIT-managed desktop environment (OITMD). Campus IT staff were responsible for the deployment and support of the IDF client in departments that are not OITMD customers. More information about IDF can be found on the Sensitive Information Identification and Remediation (SIIR) website, which also provides information about handling and removing any credit card data.
The Wolfpack Reporting System (WRS) Project Team announced the availability of WRS 2.0 and on-demand video training opportunities in April, 2016. Available via the MyPack Portal or by following go.ncsu.edu/wrs, WRS is a one-stop shop for all frequently used financial reports. Since its release, more than 2,200 campus customers have run almost 400,000 reports.
WRS 2.0 features improved performance and functionality, including:
- The best features of the reports were combined, reducing the number of reports from 17 to nine.
- Reports were redesigned to display relevant information for the funding source.
- Additional reports are available that allow customers to view information by a range of chartfields, such as department ID, account and funding source.
- A new column was created to display the vendor’s name on journal transactions when appropriate. This information was previously included in the journal line description only.
- Journal drill-down capabilities were greatly enhanced to allow customers to drill into the source transaction directly. For example, users can now click on the journal ID to access the journal in the Financial System. Similar drilldowns exist for vouchers, MarketPlace orders, PCard drilldowns, Fleet Card, project modification requests (PMR’s), bill invoices, and inter-departmental transfers (IDT’s).
- Campus users can now download their reports to Excel much quicker.
In collaboration with various campus groups, the project team explores the feasibility of WRS enhancements and reports and addresses performance issues related to running reports and using drill-downs. For additional information about WRS 2.0 and on-demand video training opportunities, see the Financial Systems Training Web page.
In May, OIT upgraded its Shibboleth authentication system to enforce password expiration across campus systems (e.g., Web Leave, Moodle, WolfWare) that use the login service.
The university’s Password Standard requires campus users to change their password at least annually. Prior to the upgrade, the MyPack Portal was the only system that prompted users to change their expired password. Shibboleth V3 alerts users to change their password in a timely manner to limit exposure to compromise.
Because of the upgrade, campus users will no longer be allowed to log in to services with an expired password and will receive an impending password expiration warning 14 days in advance of the password expiration date.
In a collaborative effort with the College of Natural Resources and the Office of Sustainability, OIT recently launched PowerOn, a power management application that allows students, faculty and staff to remotely power on certain desktops and servers connected to the campus wired network, when needed.
Information and communications technologies account for about 10 percent of NC State’s electrical consumption, or $3.2 million annually. PowerOn helps:
- Conserve energy.
- Save $50-$100 on the annual operation of a campus computer.
- Reduce start-up time.
- Wake up a plugged-in campus computer from a remote location.
- Prevent work disruption. During off-hours, campus system administrators can wake up a computer for various updates.
To learn more about this power management tool, visit the PowerOn website.
During the past year Communication Technologies (ComTech) have been migrating the campus telecom and IT billing system from MySoft to PCR·360. A web-based, self-service portal used to request campus phone services, PCR·360:
- is anticipated to be in production in August 2016.
- will be available to on-campus personnel who request telecommunication services for their campus unit.
- will feature an enhanced and intuitive user interface.
ComTech has made it even easier for campus users to access Unified Communications collaboration and mobility services via its new self-service portal.
The Unified Communications portal now allows users to easily configure Unified Messaging (Voicemail to Email) options and to enable access to:
- Cisco Jabber softphone (All-in-one collaboration client)
- Cisco IP Communicator (Multi-line softphone)
- Single Number Reach (Receive campus calls on a cell phone.)
- CloudLock in Google Apps domain – Installed CloudLock Security Fabric, cloud security protection to assist with administrative tasks and compliance issues for the Google Apps @ NC State (google.ncsu.edu) domain.
- SAS Business Intelligence – Completed the platform upgrade from 9.2 to 9.4.
- HR System – Completed the upgrade from version 9.1 to 9.2 along with significant infrastructure upgrades (e.g., moving from Solaris to Linux, Oracle and PeopleTools upgrades). Developed and implemented the Job Action Request (JAR) module within the HR 9.2 System to streamline the initiation and approval of personnel actions and automate applicant background checks.
- PeopleTools 8.54 – Completed upgrades for the MyPack Portal and the Financial, Human Resources and Student Systems.
- iModules – Completed transition of online giving to iModules and began implementation within iModules of mass email functionality for campaign-related emailings and of event registration functionality for advancement-related events.
- Oracle – Began upgrades of all enterprise Oracle 18.104.22.168 databases to 22.214.171.124 or 12.
- BenefitFOCUS – Completed the move back to BenefitFOCUS for benefits processing and the first year of Affordable Care Act (ACT) reporting from the Human Resources System.
- Preferred names and fine-grained employee/student privacy – Implemented in some administrative systems.
- OnBase Document Management System – Extended implementations for Human Resources, Chancellor’s Office and Advancement Prospect Research for document retention, efficiency, storage savings, and ease of document search/retrieval. Implemented Autonomy Idol (full text search) within OnBase Document Management System. Implemented redaction for College of Veterinary Medicine hospital for securing Social Security numbers within funding documents.
- System Access Request – Implemented changes for the Student Information System, Human Resources, and Finance tools/ upgrades, JAR, OnBase, and REPORTER.
- PCI Compliance – Completed initiatives within the Destiny (non-credit) System and the Student Information System (SIS).
- Oracle’s Identity Management platform and new Self Service Password Reset application – Completed development efforts along with most of the deployment activities required for a fall implementation.
- Financial System – Designed, built and implemented a Service Center module to streamline management of Service Center-related financial activities. Completed design and began development of PCard Statement Upload and Electronic Signature enhancement within the Financial and OnBase Document Management Systems.
- VoIP telephony services – Partnered with Appalachian State University to provide Tier 3 support for their phone system. This allows App State to provide phone service at a much lower rate than their current outsourced solution while providing NC State with additional staff resources to improve resiliency of skillsets.
- AT&T phone replacement project – Established a plan to replace remaining AT&T phone lines with NC State service. This will involve replacing AT&T-owned copper throughout campus. An alternative had to be found due to AT&T abandoning the legacy Centrex service. Primary focus has been to ensure a highly resilient service for life-safety phone lines.
- Wireless – Began deployment of ubiquitous wireless throughout residence halls. Project is expected to be completed by summer 2017.
- Building-level network upgrades – Continuing efforts to upgrade legacy CAT5 cabling incapable of gigabit speeds and to upgrade obsolete network switches no longer supported by the vendor.
- Cell phone coverage – Partnered with Verizon to launch a pilot in three buildings involving a revolutionary system for providing cell phone coverage across the IP network. This is the first deployment of scale for Verizon utilizing a technology that NC State brought to their attention several years ago. The system involves offloading 4G data traffic onto the university’s IP-based network and tying directly to the Verizon cell backbone.
- Project Portfolio Framework – Continued the development and implementation of the framework, which includes the Intake Process, prioritization scoring model, and project workbook to plan, assess and implement projects within OIT. Also, launched the OIT Portfolio Project Services website, which includes templates and guides to use the framework.
- IT Purchase Compliance Program – Implemented to ensure IT software and cloud purchases are secure and accessible. There were 27 assessments performed as part of the program. Eighteen were completed and nine are underway. Vendors included Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce.com.
- NC State University Help Desk – Had a busy fiscal year, taking over 2,000 phone calls on average each month and resolving over 31,000 incidents. Has been moving its promotional processes into the Moodle system, allowing student workers an opportunity to advance via a regimented path involving training, time served and examinations. Processed more than 1,800 requests for account reactivation, resulting in over 500 work-hours of impact. As part of an initiative started within OIT’s Security & Compliance group, the Help Desk has been tasked with processing the restoration of accounts disabled due to suspicious activity.
- ServiceNow – Has seen over 740,000 incidents logged from over 100 assignment groups and almost 1,000 licensed fulfillers in the system in its first year of production service.
- OIT-Managed Desktop – Responded to more than 2,270 service and support incidents. Revised Service Level Agreement (SLA) to align with focus on hardware standardization and refresh cycles. The new Desktop SLA also more clearly defines response times and service level expectations. Developed the Technology Acquisition Consultation Program to formalize consultation with customers with regard to purchases of new hardware and software. Technology Support Services is working to set expectations with supported units regarding best practices for a four-year desktop refresh cycle to decrease the rise in reported problem incidents in years five and six and assist customers in better managing their inventory and budgeting.
- Windows 10 Migration – Launched deployment on all new machines during phase 1 in late March 2016. Phase II, which included a scheduled deployment across the rest of the environment, began in June.
- Hosted Services service – Developed a new business model for server/application hosting that was effective July 1. This new business model provides a consistent, modular and sustainable approach to estimate fees for server/application hosting.
- WolfPrint service – Had a major upgrade in May 2016 that included new hardware, updated software and a re-architected design that will result in a more reliable and more resilient service.
- Printer migration – Moved more than 300 printers used by OIT Managed Desktop clients to secure VLANs in a printer migration project.
- Security best practices (e.g., patching, 2-Factor Authentication, logging/monitoring, vulnerability scanning, file integrity monitoring) are not incorporated into daily operational processes for system administration in OIT and across the university, which leaves campus vulnerable to various compromises and noncompliant with several security requirements. Some recommendations to improve the security landscape, overall security posture and compliance efforts are:
- Obtain full endorsement of the Cybersecurity Strategic Plan & Roadmap via IT Governance process, publish the plan and communicate it to campus. This includes adoption and implementation of associated prioritized projects in support of ISO 27002.
- Develop and implement a framework for annual campus-wide IT security risk assessments.
- Increase the efficiency of detecting and mitigating compromised accounts. Reduce involved staff time and improve the current toolset for discovery.
- Expand the use of 2-factor authentication, with a target mandated use for all University personnel.
- Expand the use of security services such as vulnerability scanning and logging/SIEM to data center servers and campus servers with sensitive data including research, intrusion prevention to research and client networks, sensitive data discovery scans for other sensitive data (SSN, PII, etc.).
- Develop and implement the security liaison program.
- Obtain full compliance with PCI DSS 3.2 for the 2017 attestation for all merchant chains. This will include implementing continuous operational processes and project management assistance.
- Continue to consolidate campus licensing to realize annual savings of at least 10 to 15%.
- Security requirements are continuing to increase across the entire range of services that Shared Services supports requiring increasingly large fraction of staff resources to implement and maintain while making systems more complex, more fragile, and more difficult to debug. Eventually, this is going to create an extended outage of a production service at an inopportune time. Tasks to make HPC service compliant with NIST 800-171 are making the service less user friendly and more difficult and time-consuming for the computational scientists to perform their jobs. Also security processes driven by increasingly complex regulatory guidelines will continue to require additional staff if we wish to remain compliant. More complex architectures result in more resources needed to plan, test, and troubleshoot infrastructure systems.
- A major concern is the impact that House Bill 2 (HB2) will have on the university and the state of North Carolina. Specifically within OIT, it can impact our ability to attract and retain high-quality staff.
- The volume and complexity of initiatives, including security requirements, continue to significantly increase the project planning and management burden on existing staff. Recommendation: If this level of progress is to be sustained, additional resources will need to be reallocated to these functions.
- Ability to provide competitive salaries to recruit and retain the staff talent required to support complex scope of services and increasing customer and/or compliance requirements. Also, as state government continues to take away benefits and put more health insurance burden on employees, OIT does not have any kind of “package” to offer new employees.
- There is a need for an audio/visual (A/V) programmer for ClassTech. This is becoming a mission-critical capability for campuses that have significant installations of A/V technology.
- TSS cannot currently meet campus demand for ServiceNow development. Recommendation: Develop guidelines for contract programming resources, hire temp staff, and train existing staff.
- As OIT continues to roll out new services and expand existing ones, there is new attention on IT Service Management (ITSM). This is reflected in the IT Strategic plan initiatives for the development of a service portfolio and catalog, and the development of a roadmap for ServiceNow. Recommendation: There is a general need for staff with skills to assist in service planning and management.
- A significant finding in the process of developing the IT Strategic plan was the campus community’s lack of understanding of the services OIT provides. Additionally, with the increasing need for IT security awareness, communication and training are even more critical. Previous budget cuts reduced communication personnel that need to be reinstated. Recommendation: Increase staffing to communicate more effectively with student population, better maintain the OIT website, and better promote IT security awareness, particularly related to research.
- Expand the PPM Framework (Portfolio Governance Plan, Portfolio Key Metrics development, Reports development, Investigation and Tool selection) to manage the portfolio of projects in a more efficient and effective manner. Visibility to the overall portfolio and alignment will benefit OIT in pursuing projects that deliver optimal value to the university. The framework and discipline will reduce risks associated with Project cost and schedule overruns.
Physical Facilities Concerns
Data center capabilities and office space limitations continue to be limiting factors.
- Data center space is inadequate to continue growing and consolidating servers from throughout campus. Current power and cooling constraints coupled with space constraints for additional capacity will necessitate additional space in order to begin consolidating campus hardware resources in a more efficient manner.
- Avent Ferry and the Hillsborough Building have reached capacity for staff occupancy. OIT will launch a comprehensive study for Hillsborough Building in fall 2016 to assess potential for greater efficiency.
- 99.999 percent network backbone uptime.
- 2,142,000 pages were captured by document management system.
- 641 click-through agreements were reviewed.
- 24 percent in savings realized through in-sourcing campus call center systems.
- 32,655 incidents were processed by the Help Desk.
- 42,618 wired outlets and 89,000 network ports.
- 54,000 campus operator calls were received.
- 35 new employee orientations conducted.
- 15,000 software downloads.
- 12,000 monthly time sheets processed.
- 161 training sessions conducted, with 55 unique topics and 1,619 enrollees.