The core functions of the VPCIO's area include providing a modern and reliable IT infrastructure, enterprise applications, classroom technologies, end-user support services, information security, and overall IT strategic leadership. The major UBIT 2015-16 accomplishments were focused on key initiatives that ensured these services are reliably provided to the UB faculty, staff, and administration. As reported in the recent UBIT 2016-17 Budget Presentation, the following are some of the key accomplishments during the past year:
Investment in reliable Wi-Fi coverage is important to our campus community to support their mobile lifestyle and desire to be continuously connected. “Wi-Fi Boost” is a three-year endeavor to increase coverage, amplify speed and support the latest standards. Through FY15-16 we expect to complete installation of approximately ½ of the 6,000 new access points across the Institution. See www.buffalo.edu/ubit/boost for more details.
UB’s wired network backbone ensures that research and scholarship are never hindered by network speed and capacity. Building switches link individual buildings to the campus backbone and were beyond vendor support. UBIT utilized one-time salary savings to replace the approximately 50 devices across campus. This does not address replacement of the 1,500 edge switches also beyond vendor support.
UBIT proactively engaged with all campus information technology organizations as well as the university community on ensuring the optimal information security appropriate for UB. This proactive security stance along with appropriate security procedures ensures the information assets of the university and students are protected.
In the project’s second year, UB continued its long-standing commitment to rehabilitate and upgrade a set of centrally scheduled teaching and learning spaces (63% complete). These upgrades include complete digital device support, mobile presentation device support and integration with physical facilities upgrades, such as movable furniture.
As UB’s downtown campus literally rises up, so too do demands for network connectivity to support these key aspirations. In addition, downtown Buffalo represents the critical “meet-me” points for commodity and research networks. As the result of UB’s visionary leadership for connectivity, UBIT continued to enable sufficiently robust and redundant network infrastructure through installation of redundant fiber paths across the city.
In its first year, the IT Customer Service unit within the VPCIO’s responsibility area established a proactive customer feedback model to improve the customer service experience. Two actions changed the face of “getting help:" introduction of the new UBIT Help Center online application for requesting help and services; and improvements to the UBIT Help Center to address the specific needs of students, faculty and staff.
Adoption of UB’s aggressive General Education Initiative is predicated on a number of important IT enhancements: an early-alert system for at risk students, integration of an e-portfolio system and building tools needed for smart student course selections. All of these initiatives received high prioritization with UBIT resources and are nearing completion within the rapid timeline established by the Provost’s Office.
Beginning with an architecture assessment within the VPCIO’s area, this multi-year planning process is mapping out an infrastructure plan for the next five years. An essential component of the planning process has been conducted this FY and involves extensive consultation with campus stakeholders. The process is shaping the planned strategic investments in IT to position our campus to excel.
UBIT completed an external review of the applications, services and support areas including obtaining considerable input from major university stakeholders regarding their needs and future desires for IT. The major goal was to realign our application support environment with a robust prioritization structure.