tidBiTS
Informs and engages the UNB community on IT developments and news

Management Briefing - ITS Strategy Update Part 2

Author: ITS

Posted on Feb 12, 2014

Category: Management Briefings

Management Briefing – ITS Strategy Update Part 2: 2014 Preview Exceptional student experience – the momentum continues Several exciting projects devoted to enhancing student computing experience at UNB are underway. For example, students will soon no longer have to use a campus lab or ask permission to install certain software application packages on their own computers. Application virtualization is an advanced technology enabling the use of UNB‐supplied applications like Minitab on personal computers and tablets just about anywhere—users simply log in to UNB IT services and initiate a session with their desired software. Another extraordinary project now underway will allow UNB students to install Microsoft Office applications (e.g. Word, Excel, PowerPoint) on as many as five devices, at no cost to them as long as they are UNB students. Students will be able to use the latest versions of the software, without having to worry about complicated licensing or extra expense. Finally, later this year students will be able to enjoy wireless network connectivity outdoors—selected areas popular with students will be covered, meeting growing expectations for ubiquitous, high quality wireless access. Risk management for resiliency and continuity ITS is making significant investments to ensure UNB’s critical computing infrastructure is kept in peak condition in state‐of‐the‐art facilities. The Disaster Recovery facility, a first for UNB, will be completed soon; shortly thereafter, work will begin on renovating the UNB Data Center in Head Hall. This project will renew mechanical, electrical, and cooling systems, and will incorporate leading technologies to ensure optimum performance for many years to come. ITS is also establishing the Mobility Center in Head Hall, a resource center for staff and faculty providing access to the latest in mobile technology. A new tender for mobility products will result in better rates for essential data and other plans, while a new mobility policy will guide users on effective and appropriate mobile technology management and security. Building better university‐wide services 2014 will see the launch of two more enterprise‐scale initiatives—the Sharepoint collaboration suite, and data governance. Sharepoint will be introduced to the community via two pilot projects—one on each campus—demonstrating the utility and flexibility of the product. Sharepoint is a web‐based set of tools from Microsoft that helps organizations automate workflows, build document management systems, and control access to files and resources at a very granular level. All this means Sharepoint has the potential to solve a lot of problems at very low cost. However, one of the fundamental requirements for effective Sharepoint deployment is wide agreement on definitions of data elements, and enterprise data governance will help ensure that this happens. Data governance means taking control of institutional data, wherever it may reside, and ensuring it delivers value to its users. Basically, data governance requires a disciplined, methodical approach to managing all data, including identifying data custodians and ensuring data flows and updates occur efficiently. Data governance ensures university data is secure, while meeting many diverse needs. The ‘I’ in ITS stands for Innovation ITS is leading other PSE partners in the region by proposing and supporting a federated approach to identity management that will enable easy, centralized hosting of applications and services at a single site (like Sharepoint, for example). For many of the universities and colleges in New Brunswick and PEI, this will mean significant cost savings and reduced deployment times of much‐needed, widely used systems.

February 12, 2014. Terry Nikkel, AVP, ITS