Some Reflections

Posted on: September 22, 2017

This week I looked up at the calendar and realized that I have had the privilege of standing in as your Interim CIO for 6 months.  So, I wanted to reflect back a bit on where we have been.

This past year or so has been a time of deep examination of our organization from outside and within, to evaluate the structure we need in order to be the Central IT organization that the campus needs in the future.  What I can say for sure, is that in my six months of serving this great organization, we have embraced the process of examination and all the work it has entailed.  Yes, it has been painful at times, but it is important.  Just as importantly, we have continued with the many tasks, projects, and services required to keep this large engine running.  And, on many occasions, we not only have turned in the work that kept it running, we also often completed projects that raised the bar for service delivery for our campus.  I asked the Directors to roll up some of our major accomplishments for this past six months.  Not surprisingly, I received nearly 4 pages of accomplishments!  There is not room or time to cover them all, but here are a select few.

  • Evaluating all services offered and creating an ITS service plan outlining nearly every aspect of our 150-plus services and operations.
  • Defense and remediation of the Wannacry ransomware program, servicing over 2,600 systems across campus.
  • Completing Phase I of the Data Center Network Lifecycle project.
  • Meeting the Information Security Office’s criteria for the UT-Virtual Machine Gateway (VT-VMG) service to be approved for HIPAA data use, ensuring our medical school and those working with National Institutes of Health grants are properly secured.
  • Negotiating a contract for offering Amazon Web Services (AWS), available to campus as a centrally-offered service.
  • Completing the Office365 migration and announcing general availability and support of Skype for Business, which provided the first ‘campus-wide’ instant messaging tool.
  • Ensuring that all ITS purchases and payments are processed in a timely manner, accurately, and according to our approved allocated funds, which includes managing human resource requests and more than 600 line items.
  • Completing the rollout of the 1st wave of electronic access celebrated entrances to support general purpose classrooms and supporting the “your badge is your key” program.
  • Co-hosting 12 Canvas workshops and seven walk-in office hours this August and September — over 175 faculty and staff (GRAs/TAs) took advantage of these services.
  • Outfitting communications in EER for the Cockrell School, and additional spaces in HTB/HDB for Dell Medical School.
  • Upgrading the border routers that connect the university to the world, going from two 10Gbps connections to 100Gbps and adding a backup provider in case our primary goes down.
  • Upgrading the core of the wireless router system.
  • Moving the IronPorts service that protects campus from Internet threats to the cloud.
  • Stabilizing UTLogin while new systems are designed and implemented so that changes needed to make authentication services significantly more reliable, scalable, and maintainable can be completed.
  • Stabilizing the ServiceNow implementation on campus, increasing the ServiceNow campus usage to support 30 CSUs, which opened over 156,000 tickets last fiscal year.
  • Completing Phase I of the SailPoint implementation (coming next week), including the build-out of foundational group and role management features and onboarding of campus Early Adopters, along with extensive testing and service documentation to make sure we are ready for Production.
  • Releasing new versions of the Drupal Toolkit to help campus web developers more efficiently and securely build web applications for their departments.

The past six months have seen some extraordinary work from all of you. I want to thank you all for supporting me and each other during this period.