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UW Information Technology

UW-IT Insights – Winter 2013

eNewsletter sent February 14, 2013

UW-IT Insights eNewsletter Masthead
A quarterly review of what UW-IT is delivering to the UW community

Contents: Science and Research DMZ network | Microsoft Office 365 and UW Exchange | Canvas help 24/7 | HR/P Replacement, BPR workshops | Tableau visualization, BI pilot | Gig.U network | FY14 TRF rates | U Drive central storage | HuskyTV now digital | InCommon Certificate Service | Cell phone savings | In brief: UW-IT Annual Report and Metrics


High-speed network supporting Big Data research will keep UW competitive

robotic arm and scientistsA new, high-speed, 100Gb UW Seattle Science and Research Network will enable researchers to better compete for Big Data science projects and enhance the UW’s capabilities for a broad range of data-driven research. The project is now underway, and capabilities will be deployed throughout the year. The new Science “DMZ” network will meet the increasing demand for bandwidth and enhanced security, and provide 10Gb physical connections and 10Gb virtual private networks to address research needs. DMZ refers to a virtual “demilitarized zone,” a sub-network on the Internet where institutions can safely share information, enabling researchers to collaborate with peers at other institutions without being slowed down by firewalls.

100Gb connections to Hyak, lolo, and Pacific Northwest Gigapop (PNWGP) also will be part of this effort. These improvements are critical to supporting research and keeping the UW competitive. The Science DMZ is a partnership of UW-IT and PNWGP, funded in part by an NSF grant to UW Computer Science and Engineering.


UW Exchange coming soon: cloud-based email, unified calendaring, 25GB mailbox

Microsoft Office 365 logo UW Exchange—cloud-based email with a 25GB mailbox, unified calendaring, and HIPAA compliance—is coming to the UW in spring/summer 2013. The new service will offer anytime, anywhere access and unified, ubiquitous calendaring across our campuses that will enable people to schedule more easily. UW Exchange will be available first for students, faculty, and staff who do not currently use UW Exchange Local; others, including Nebula users, will be able to move to UW Exchange later, during summer quarter. Details about impacts and timelines will be available as the project progresses.

UW Exchange will be the first product of the Office 365 suite offered to the UW. It is being managed by UW-IT, with costs supported by the Technology Recharge Fee. UW is one of the first Research 1 universities to implement Microsoft Office 365 for Education. The UW will offer additional Microsoft products when feasible, including SharePoint Online and Office Web Apps.


Canvas launches after-hours support as adoption rises; other improvements

Riki ThompsonIn response to increasing use of Canvas, UW-IT is now offering after-hours support for this full-featured learning management system. UW-IT is providing direct client support in person, via email, and by phone, plus workshops, online documentation, and consultations for units. Support is available from 8:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m. Monday–Thursday, 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Friday, and noon–10:00 p.m. Sunday, with 24 X 7 monitoring and escalation of urgent issues. For assistance, email help@uw.edu.

Since Canvas launched across the UW in autumn, adoption has increased by 43 percent, with over 760 courses published and 19,000 students participating winter quarter. All Time Schedule courses now are automatically created in Canvas, with enrollment updated in real-time. New Respondus quiz-authoring software extends Canvas’ quiz tool functionality and can be downloaded at no charge. The new software can be used offline to create exams in a Windows interface and supports 15 question types. Tools to move content from Catalyst CommonView and quizzes from WebQ were released in January as well.

Up next: UW-IT is also working to include courses in Canvas that are not in the Time Schedule, integrate Canvas with key systems for access control and administrative role delegation, and to provide photo class lists, social logins for access, and other enhancements, which could be completed by summer.


HR/Payroll Replacement; BPR workshops to engage UW units, and more

HRP Procurement Key Activities by State A major effort is underway to engage UW units in the Human Resources/Payroll (HR/P) project’s business process redesign effort. Vendor selection is also moving forward, with five vendors invited to submit detailed proposals. Here’s what’s happening:

  • Business Process Redesign (BPR) is complete for four central process areas, and the project team is now seeking broader campus support to shape the future state of 19 additional decentralized HR and payroll functions. Workshops for these 19 areas will be held in March. The project team will contact senior administrators to identify people from their units to participate in this important effort, which informs the selection of the future system by developing future-state HR/P processes that will surround and support the system. The redesign is expected to be completed in spring 2013.
  • Vendor Selection: A Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued in September 2012. Five (of six) vendors were invited to participate in the next stage, kicked off December 6, to evaluate detailed vendor proposals, negotiate key business terms, and develop scenarios to help narrow vendor selection. With Board of Regent’s approval, a vendor contract is expected to be signed this autumn, with system implementation beginning early 2014.

The HR/P Replacement Project will replace UW’s aging HR and payroll systems with a modern, central system and standardize the associated processes according to best practices in higher education. This project is sponsored by a five-person Executive Sponsor Team, with V’Ella Warren, Senior Vice President of Finance and Facilities, as the Executive Lead Sponsor.


Pilot explores Tableau, a powerful data visualization tool for business intelligence, decision making

Tableau Desktop A pilot is underway to evaluate Tableau, a business intelligence (BI) tool that creates powerful, interactive graphics to illustrate and analyze data, and analytical reports and dashboards that facilitate decision making. Tableau provides secure, private access to data through a browser, and offers personalized reports and visualizations. The Tableau pilot, which kicked off in November 2012, brings together project team members from 12 organizations across campus to develop the experience necessary to establish Tableau as an enterprise-level tool. This will enable users to build and publish analytical reports and dashboards to an easy-to-use central location.

Pilot results will be shared in summer/fall. While the team is not looking for additional pilot participants, you can notify them of your interest in Tableau at dss-support@uw.edu. For more information about Tableau, see an eScience article from 2011.


Ultra high-speed networks coming to Seattle neighborhoods with UW’s help

Gig.U region The UW is collaborating on an effort to bring ultra high-speed broadband and wireless networks to 12 Seattle neighborhoods. This effort is part of Gig.U (the University Community Next-Generation Innovation Project), a national initiative to accelerate the deployment of next-generation networks at leading U.S. universities and their surrounding communities. The Seattle demonstration project is part of a new partnership involving the City of Seattle, the UW, and broadband developer Gigabit Squared. The city will lease existing unused fiber to support this effort, aimed at stimulating business opportunities, spurring advancements in fields such as health care and education, and enhancing the quality of life for Seattle residents and businesses.


FY 2014 Technology Recharge Fee rates announced

As recommended by the IT Service Investment Board and approved by the Provost, the FY 2014 Technology Recharge Fee (TRF) rates are:

  • $54.50 per month per capita for all academic and administrative units. (This represents a 3.5 percent increase over the current rate of $52.68.)
  • $50.00 per month per capita for the Medical Centers. (This represents a 7.1 percent decrease over the current rate of $53.43.)

The slight adjustment in the rates reflects minor modifications to the TRF methodology, as recommended by the IT Service Investment Board, to respond to a changing business model, including how costs are allocated to UW Medical Centers. The adjustment does not include any budget increases for UW-IT, only a recalibration of how costs are aggregated and allocated to UW units. The IT Service Investment Board is a new governance board comprised of representatives from academic and administrative units that is charged by the Provost with conducting the annual TRF review. The TRF uses a per-capita rate to provide sustainable, long-term funding for critical IT services for the UW. The new rates are effective July 1, 2013. For details, see Technology Recharge Fee.


Convenient central file storage and backup available for UW students, faculty, staff

U DriveA new, central file storage service called U Drive is available for UW students, faculty, and staff. It offers 5GB of general-purpose, backed-up storage for electronic files, accessible anywhere, anytime. It is activated automatically for students. Faculty and staff need to activate the U Drive service, and may increase their amount of storage with a UW budget number. Faculty and staff should check with their unit’s IT support staff to see if they plan to deploy this service. There is no additional cost for the basic service, which is supported by the Student Technology Fee and the Technology Recharge Fee.


HuskyTV upgrades to digital, providing improved picture, more channels and HD

huskies playing football on TV HuskyTV—UW’s cable TV service for residence halls and others—has upgraded from analog transmission to a modern, digital service that offers better picture and sound quality and more channels. HuskyTV is available on the UW Seattle campus to students, faculty, and staff for $16 per month plus an installation fee. It now offers 130 channels of news, education, sports, and entertainment, including 16 in HD. A trial streaming video service this spring will let subscribers watch live TV on a laptop or tablet, include a cloud-based digital video recorder (DVR) service, and bring services such as HBO Go to favorite devices, including mobile.


InCommon Certificate Service pays for itself; saves units money

In Common Certificate Now in its second year, UW’s subscription to the InCommon Certificate Service, managed by UW-IT, continues to provide significant cost savings. The subscription provides owners of UW Web servers with commercial-grade certificates that enable applications to transmit information securely, without the high per-certificate cost they would otherwise pay. Even after factoring in development and support, estimates suggest the savings have more than paid for the annual subscription, which is supported by the Technology Recharge Fee.


Cell phone plan savings continue for UW departments, employees, students

Students holding cell phones UW-IT negotiated special discount rates that mean significant savings for UW students, faculty, and staff on cell phone plans with AT&T and T-Mobile. The specialdiscounts with AT&T and T-Mobile will continue for 2013 and range from 15-21 percent for UW departments, 15-18 percent for UW employees, and 10-15 percent for UW students, depending on the carrier. Other vendors may also offer discounts; inquire with the vendor.


In brief:

Annual Report 2012 Cover thumbnail UW-IT’s 2012 Annual Report is available and showcases key initiatives that support the UW community, improve the student experience, enhance collaboration, modernize the UW’s business systems, and develop cutting-edge resources to support scientific research. The report includes faculty, staff, and student profiles. Also included is a financial summary and specific priorities for the future to continue to enhance services for the UW community.

metrics Updated Metrics for UW Information Technology are available that measure UW-IT’s performance in five key areas: Finances, Support for Strategic Goals, Customer Satisfaction, Employee Satisfaction, and Peer Benchmarking.

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