You Never Step into the Same River Twice

Posted on: August 12, 2016

As the University gears up for the influx of students arriving in the next two weeks, it is a good time to recognize how Information Technology Services (ITS) staff have been steadily working on and achieving significant goals that will make a positive difference in the quality of life for UT Austin students, faculty, staff and researchers. Though much of what we do in information technology remains behind the scenes and without fanfare, there are times when completed projects prove to be true game-changers for campus. Our appreciation and gratitude go out to staff who work diligently every day to improve campus life. Their passion and perseverance help us achieve the University’s goals.

Here are some recent highlights of projects completed in time for the new semester:

·         IT@UT  has replaced the outdated ITS website and provides information on ITS services and products, help pages, request forms, Service Levels, and alerts. IT@UT also includes information from the Information Security Office (ISO) website and participating Colleges, Schools and Units (CSUs) IT services.

·         UT ServiceNow – launched last month – replaces the old IT service request system, Footprints, for 700 service fulfillers around campus.   Additional departments such as Human Resources (HR) will move to UT ServiceNow later this year.  UT ServiceNow will track service requests and issues, provide self-help knowledge and ticket status. There are no changes to the email addresses and phone numbers currently used for IT support.

·         The transition to Duo as UT Austin’s new two-factor authentication service is progressing well with the final retirement of the Toopher service scheduled for September, 2016. Duo was selected to replace Toopher to fully comply with the mandate from The University of Texas System that two-factor authentication be used with certain campus systems to protect and secure online information. Duo supports a more secure online learning and working environment.

·         Both GitHub (the Distributed Version Control system that records changes to a file or set of files over time) and Artifactory (the Binary Repository) services are now available to the campus IT community. These services provide version control for source code and documentation, as well as collaboration tools for code review and management. Several new customers have already begun to use the new tools which are available via ServiceNow.

And here’s some history from CW Belcher, Associate Director, ITS Applications. It helps put the ongoing changes in context.

Ten years ago last week, the “old” mainframe-based EID system was shut down and the data conversion process began to populate the “new” uTexas Identity Manager (TIM) system. The data conversion process took about 24 hours to complete and the TIM system was brought up in production on August 6, 2006. Since then TIM has managed the creation of more than 4.7 million new EIDs along with 75 million identity data updates and hundreds of millions of identity data change notifications to downstream systems.  We are planning the replacement of TIM with a more flexible and powerful solution: SailPoint IdentityIQ. I want to acknowledge the accomplishments of the team that created TIM (one of the first major campus administrative systems to move off the mainframe) and all the Identity and Access Management (IAM) team members past and present who have helped maintain and operate TIM over the past 10 years. Thank you!

In IT, we truly know what the Greek philosopher Heraclitus had in mind when he said: “You never step into the same river twice.” Everything changes and nothing stands still. Whether celebrating new improvements, remembering past accomplishments or planning ahead, it is our honor and privilege to support the mission and purpose of The University of Texas at Austin. Thank you all for the good and dedicated work you do each day.