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					Office of the Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President
                (Information Technology)


                  2005 Annual Report


                     January, 2006


                      Version 1.3
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Table of Contents


Table of Contents ............................................................................................................. 1

Introduction ..................................................................................................................... 3

Information Architecture ................................................................................................. 4

Technology Direction........................................................................................................ 5
  E-Learning Planning .......................................................................................................... 5
  Alternate Delivery Courses ................................................................................................. 6
  Special E-Learning Projects ................................................................................................ 6
  TELUS Centre Transformation ............................................................................................. 6
  Wireless Pilot.................................................................................................................... 7
  HSALC ............................................................................................................................. 7
  Electronic Document Management System ........................................................................... 7
  Administrative Systems Directions ...................................................................................... 7
  Cyberinfrastructure ........................................................................................................... 8

Information Technology Organization .............................................................................. 8
  ATL Disbanded ................................................................................................................. 8
  Rebranding of CNS into AICT .............................................................................................. 8
  UTS Changes .................................................................................................................... 9

Information Technology Investment ................................................................................ 9
  Virtual IT Budget .............................................................................................................. 9
  Advancement Services: Sungard BSR Licenses ..................................................................... 9
  AICT: Campus-Wide Licenses Renewal ................................................................................ 9
  AIS: 5-year AIS Production Contract Renewal and Other Allocations ...................................... 10
  Facilities and Operations: Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) System ................................. 10
  RSO: Equipment Refresh and Change Management ............................................................. 10
  UTS: Faculty Associates and Other Allocations .................................................................... 10
  2006-07 Budget Submission............................................................................................. 10

Communications ............................................................................................................. 11
  Meetings with Deans ....................................................................................................... 11
  Information Technology Plan ............................................................................................ 11
  E-Learning Plan .............................................................................................................. 11
  VPIT Web Pages ............................................................................................................. 11
  Annual Report ................................................................................................................ 12

Human Resources .......................................................................................................... 12
  VPIT Office ..................................................................................................................... 12
  Reorganization of AICT .................................................................................................... 12
  Expansion of the E-Learning Group ................................................................................... 13
  UTS Faculty Associates and Web Designer.......................................................................... 13
  CCLI Resources .............................................................................................................. 13

Regulatory Compliance .................................................................................................. 13
  Internal Audit Reports ..................................................................................................... 13
  Disaster Recovery Plan .................................................................................................... 14
  Access to Personal Information (Policies and Procedures) ..................................................... 14

Risk Assessment ............................................................................................................ 15
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Project Management ...................................................................................................... 15
  AIS Development Process Modeling ................................................................................... 15
  AIS Development Project Stewards ................................................................................... 16
  Project Manager for Cognos Enterprise Budget Planning and Future Major Projects ................. 16

Quality Management ...................................................................................................... 16
 Revising the AIS Development Process .............................................................................. 16
 Reworking of Service Level Metrics in AIS Contracts ............................................................ 17
 AICT WebCT Performance Benchmarking ........................................................................... 17

Directions for the Upcoming Year ................................................................................... 17
  TELUS Centre Transformation / Implementation of E-Learning Plan ....................................... 17
  Campus IT Plan .............................................................................................................. 17
  Wireless......................................................................................................................... 18
  A Services-Oriented Approach to IT Delivery ...................................................................... 18
  AIS New Development Model ............................................................................................ 18
  AIS Governance for PeopleSoft and Non-PeopleSoft projects ................................................ 18
  Communities of Practice .................................................................................................. 18

Other Initiatives ............................................................................................................. 19
  Alberta Universities Association Infrastructure Proposal ....................................................... 19
  Services Science Project through Alberta Centre for Advanced Studies .................................. 19

Conclusion ...................................................................................................................... 19

Appendix A: IT Budget Allocations ................................................................................. 20




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Introduction

In September, 2002, the University of Alberta released the Information and Communications
Technology Task Force Report (http://www.vpit.ualberta.ca/resources/pdf/ICTTaskForceReport.pdf). One
of the key recommendations in this report was to establish a Chief Information Technology Officer
(CITO) position that reports directly to the Provost and Vice-President (Academic). This CITO
position was created in July 2004, with the title of Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President
(Information Technology), abbreviate to VPIT for the remainder of this report. Paul Sorenson,
Professor and former Chair from the Department of Computing Science, was appointed to this
position. In the existing organizational structure of the University, the units responsible for the
academic and administrative systems, AICT and AIS, resided under the portfolios of the Provost
and the Vice-President (Finance and Administration) respectively. This structure was realigned to
have these units report to the VPIT, and the VPIT report jointly to the Provost and the Vice-
President (Finance and Administration) as shown in the organizational chart in Figure 1.

    Office of the Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President (Information Technology)




                                Figure 1: VPIT Organizational Chart




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Immediately upon his appointment, the VPIT was given a mandate to implement the
recommendations from two reports: the previously mentioned ICT Task Force Report and a report
titled External Review of the University of Alberta E-Learning Support Units
(http://www.vpit.ualberta.ca/elearning/resources/pdf/elearning_review.pdf) [Prescott and Curry, May
2004].

The key recommendations in these two reports included:
   1. the establishment of strategic directions and plans;
   2. the creation of an Information Technology Administrative Executive Committee to assist the
      Vice-Provost (Information Technology) with the development these strategic direction and
      plans;
   3. a revamping and reduction of the overlap of e-learning support by the creation of a new
      umbrella unit.

The Office of the Vice-Provost (Information Technology) now consists of the VPIT and three staff
members. Rob Lake, a Lead Research Systems Analyst from the Department of Computing
Science, assumed duties as the Information Technology Planning and Forecasting Officer in August,
2004. Sandra Dowie, an APO from the former Academic Technologies for Learning (ATL) within the
Faculty of Extension, joined the group in February, 2005 as an E-Learning Development Officer.
Tashie-Ann Macapagal, Executive Secretary, provides the main administrative support for the VPIT
office.

Internal Audit conducted a review of the VPIT's office in the fall of 2004. A report based on this
review entitled IT Management Infrastructure Resilience identified a number of IT strategies to
adopt so initiatives from the VPIT's office would align with the University's Academic and Strategic
Plans. The remainder of this report outlines these IT strategies organized according to the auditor's
framework and describes the initiatives undertaken for each of these strategies during the past
year. While some of these initiatives are completed, most are ongoing and are expected to be
active during the upcoming year.



Information Architecture

There are many definitions of Information Architecture; the one chosen for this report is both
general and functional in nature. Information Architecture involves the successful design,
organization, and navigation of information so that it is easy for a user to be able to find and
manage information.

The major elements of the University's current and planned information architecture focuses on
usability, integrated systems and applications, high availability and delivery of needed information
services. The World Wide Web (WWW) provides a common and generally user-friendly way of
accessing information from anywhere, anytime and any computing device (i.e., time, location and
system independence). With this in mind, an overarching University policy is to develop and
acquire systems in which the user interacts with such systems using one of the common WWW
browsers. This policy should be in place for both academic and administrative systems.

One aspect of information architecture that is currently being assessed is the use of portal
technology to personalize how users or members of a common user community (e.g., all
undergraduate students) interact with University supported information systems. Some preliminary
work has been undertaken by AICT (Academic Information and Communications Technology) and a
subcommittee of the IT Committee is examining the nature, costs and benefits of this technology.
A report recommending how we should proceed with portal technology should be forthcoming in
the next four to five months.



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An important and related issue to portal development is identity management. The University,
under the direction of AICT and in cooperation with AIS (Administrative Information Systems), the
Library, Human Resources and other units, are currently defining the roles and access
requirements for classes of users that must be supported by our information systems. These
requirements once defined and supported by an identity management system, will enhance any
future portal development.

The University, under the direction of AIS, uses the Oracle PeopleSoft Enterprise Resource Planning
(ERP) system to manage and provide access to our key institutional data related to students, staff
and finances. The PeopleSoft ERP comes with an information architecture that supports integrating
institutional data across various areas of application (e.g., student and financial data). A growing
number of non-ERP academic and administrative applications are requiring access to our ERP data
in areas such as enterprise asset management, research certification and general document
management. Standards and policies for interfacing with ERP data have been developed and will
evolve as more and more access from non-ERP systems are required.

A final important direction related to Information Architecture is the move towards service-oriented
architectures (SOA). As the name implies, this approach requires the identification and tracking of
the key information systems and services provided by an organization or institution. The identified
services are supported by systems developed using large-scale reusable architectures (which ERP
systems are evolving towards) together with web service delivery capabilities that support user
access to the data. An important part of the services approach is the regular monitoring of user
feedback regarding how services can be improved in terms of functionality, performance and user
access. Continuous improvement of information systems support and services should be achieved
based on user feedback. The VPIT office is working with both AICT and AIS towards this service-
oriented approach to information systems development, operations and enhancements.


Technology Direction


E-Learning Planning

An E-Learning Plan Development Working Committee was established in February, 2005 to
undertake the development of an e-learning plan and an e-learning planning process for the
University, one of the key recommendations of the External Review Report of the University of
Alberta E-Learning Support Units. The committee was non-standing, broadly-based and consisted
of invited representatives from Faculties and central teaching and learning support units. The
committee met thirteen times and sponsored a workshop for the University community on e-
learning and educational evaluation. The workshop included two days of meetings and public
sessions with two recognized experts in e-learning: Dr. Steve Ehrmann from the Teaching,
Learning, and Technology Group and Dr. Carolyn Jarmon from the National Center for Academic
Transformation. These meetings provided valuable input to the working committee. The committee
produced an initial working version of an extensive report entitled E-Learning Report 2005: A
Foundation for Transformation in May 2005.




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The first draft of the E-Learning Report 2005 was released to the campus community in early July.
It contained a review of the rationale for using e-learning in higher education, seventeen
recommendations, and a set of strategies and budget estimations to implement the
recommendations. The recommendations emphasized a distributed model to support e-learning on
our campus. This included support positions within Faculties, the expansion of resources to support
e-learning (including WebCT), the creation of a Centre for Creative Learning Initiatives, and the
establishment of a Teaching, Learning and Technology Council. During the summer and fall, a
number of committees vetted the E-Learning Report. Additional input was received through
individual meetings with the Deans and via a campus-wide survey that instructors and staff were
invited to complete. Through this extensive consultative process, a number of revisions were made
to the E-Learning Report. The final version of this report is available at
http://www.vpit.ualberta.ca/elearning/reports/elearning_report .

The Committee on Learning Environments (CLE) established a subcommittee in October to examine
in greater detail the structure and function of the Centre for Creative Learning Initiatives and the
Teaching, Learning, and Technology Council. This subcommittee will provide a preliminary report to
CLE in January 2006.


Alternate Delivery Courses

A student's learning experience is not necessarily restricted to the time spent at the University.
One of the goals of the University is to attract and satisfy lifelong learners. Much of the learning
experience requires flexible and well-supported on-line programs. The VPIT office, in conjunction
with AICT and a number of instructors involved with on-line programs are examining means to
enhance the support of alternate delivery courses. Identified issues to date include enhanced AICT
help desk availability, cost recovery and duplications of resources.

Special E-Learning Projects

Two special projects received funds from the Vice-Provost (Information Technology):
 IntD 410 is an interdisciplinary course for students in the health sciences. A faculty from health
   sciences is working with faculty from Education to pilot test an on-line delivery approach for this
   course. Funds provided by VPIT are supporting the development of course resources and the
   evaluation of the outcomes of the pilot test.
 The Freshstart Program is offered by Student Services for students who have been asked to
   withdraw due to unsatisfactory grades. Through successfully completing a remedial program,
   these students are able to continue their studies. Student Services has partnered with AICT to
   create an on-line version of the Freshstart Program. Funds provided by the VPIT office are
   supporting the data analysis of the evaluation results for the on-line pilot.


TELUS Centre Transformation

Recent studies have shown that a student's learning experience can be enhanced through the use
of information technology in a "blended learning" environment - one that offers both face-to-face
and technology-assisted learning. Plans are underway to convert the TELUS Centre for Professional
Development into an academic facility that supports innovative and blended approaches to
teaching and learning as part of a proposed new centre tentatively called the Centre for Creative
Learning Initiatives (CCLI). In January 2006, the TELUS Centre will contain a wireless open access
area in which students may borrow laptop computers for individual study or for meetings of small
project teams. Over the next two years, the building's conference rooms will become flexible
learning environments in which faculty and students can explore a range of educational
technologies, as well as different methods for teaching and learning.


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Wireless Pilot

One of the major campus IT initiatives is to have a common wireless capability offered throughout
the campus. The VPIT office together with AICT has engaged TELUS in a pilot project to provide
coverage for University Hall and the TELUS Centre in January 2006. Our goal is to work with the
campus community to integrate existing wireless networks and expand coverage to the entire
campus over the next two to three years.


HSALC

The Health Sciences Ambulatory Learning Complex (HSALC) is a capital project involving both the
University of Alberta and the Capital Health Authority (CHA) that is scheduled to be completed by
2010. This large complex will be a consolidated ambulatory health care, health sciences, and
clinical teaching and research facility. The VPIT office and AICT are involved with planning the
information technology requirements for this centre in collaboration with CHA and the health
sciences faculties. We have held discussions about computer centre requirements, a common
desktop interface for the University and Capital Health, a wireless solution and a Request for
Proposal (RFP) that Capital Health has issued for a standard Electronic Medical Record.
The VPIT office is also coordinating a working group consisting of local area network administrators
for the six health science faculties who will occupy the University's portion of the building. This
working group is examining the IT needs within the HSALC and the requirements for a central
server room that will house the equipment belonging to these faculties.


Electronic Document Management System

Many documents pertaining to students, such as transcripts and letters of reference, cannot be
easily stored in our PeopleSoft student databases. Consequently, a paper copy must be maintained
in a central area with additional copies distributed to faculties and departments requesting the
information. More space is required to store these paper documents as the University continues to
grow. The distribution of these documents has become more difficult as the University becomes
more decentralized (e.g. the addition of Augustana).

The VPIT office has been working with the Office of the Registrar and Student Awards, the Faculty
of Graduate Studies and Research, and Human Resources to help develop a funding strategy and
assist with the issuing of an RFP for an electronic document management system (EDMS). Funding
has been requested for an initial EDMS as part of the 2006-07 budget submission.


Administrative Systems Directions

With the expansion of the University and the ever-increasing demand for an information technology
component to support the University's business processes, new ERP systems are being introduced
to replace many of our out-dated legacy systems or to support new business requirements. During
the past year, several units have indicated a need for non-PeopleSoft ERP systems such as an
Enterprise Asset Management System for Facilities and Operations, a new application for Parking
Services, and a Research Certification System for the Research Services Office.




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The Administrative Information Systems Steering Committee (AISSC) and Steering Committee
Executive (AISSC Exec) have traditionally focused on core PeopleSoft modules required to support
the University's student, human resources, financial and research grant reporting business
requirements. A revised process is under development to expand the scope of these committees to
review and make recommendations for implementation of these non-PeopleSoft systems and
ensure these systems align properly with our current requirements. This process also involves
modifying the composition of both committees to have a greater representation of the campus
community. A draft report detailing these committees’ scope expansion and change in composition
will be forthcoming early in 2006.


Cyberinfrastructure

The VPIT is representing the University of Alberta and co-chairing a province-wide
cyberinfrastructure initiative aimed at providing and sustaining a high performance computation
and communication technology infrastructure for researchers across Alberta. This initiative
encompasses four components: high performance computing facilities, data storage facilities,
remote instrumentation, and scientific visualization. These components must have sustained
support from an advanced network infrastructure, grid software/middleware and extensive
collaboration among key participants, administrators and technical support personnel. A white
paper (see http://www.vpit.ualberta.ca/cyberinfrastructure/pdf/CIWhitepaper.pdf) has been developed as
background to a strategic planning document that should be released in early spring.



Information Technology Organization

The VPIT office fits into the organization of the University of Alberta as shown in Figure 1. During
the academic year of 2004-05, University Teaching Services (UTS) also reported to the VPIT.
Starting April 1 2006, UTS will report to Olive Yonge, Vice-Provost (Academic Programs). Some of
the other organizational changes undertaken this past year are described in this section.


ATL Disbanded

Effective April 1, 2005, Academic Technologies for Learning (ATL) was disbanded, many of its staff
was re-assigned, and its entire budget was reallocated in the Provost's portfolio. Much of this
budget went to increasing the staffing complement and capability of the CNS (now AICT) E-
Learning Group.


Rebranding of CNS into AICT

In June, 2005 Computing and Network Services (CNS) underwent a restructuring and was renamed
to Academic Information and Communications Technology (AICT). The purpose of this
reorganization and rebranding was to enable the unit to support the requirements of teaching,
learning and research in a more focused and effective manner, and to be regarded more accurately
as a unit that provides services in addition to software and hardware support.




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UTS Changes

In July 2005, Bente Roed stepped down as Director of UTS after nearly 20 years in this position.
Bente provided remarkable leadership and innovation in developing UTS and was perhaps best
known for her willingness to encourage excellent teaching faculty to act as teaching mentors.
Margaret Wilson was appointed as Acting Director of UTS in July and has already launched a
number of new initiatives including: the creation of three Faculty Associate positions, the launching
of a new UTS website and the addition of several new training sessions in areas such as evaluation
and blended learning.


Information Technology Investment


Virtual IT Budget

As part of the annual budget planning process, the VPIT office launched an IT budget request
process to determine the IT needs and associated costs to sustain and enhance existing University
IT systems and services. These requests include costs for annual software licenses, software
maintenance, hardware and hardware maintenance. Efforts have been made to embed these costs
in base budgets rather than having them appear annually as one-time only line items as was often
done in the past.

In October 2004, six units submitted budget requests for IT needs through a template provided by
the University's senior financial officer. In December 2004, EPC allocated a base amount of
$2,323,724 to serve as an initial "virtual" IT budget to be managed through the VPIT office.
Through this budgeting process funds were allocated from the virtual budget to several campus
service units to satisfy a number of IT needs that impacted campus-wide operations.

A brief synopsis of the funding provided to the units through this budgeting process appears in the
following sections. Appendix A provides a detailed breakdown of the allocations made during the
2005/06 fiscal year.


Advancement Services: Sungard BSR Licenses

In 2000, Advancement Services proposed to replace their previous alumni/donor database system
with a new system called Advance provided by Sungard BSR. While the cost for purchasing and
installing the system was contained within the original budget request for the system,
Advancement Services required additional base budget of $24,464 to cover the cost of the Oracle
licenses required by this system.


AICT: Campus-Wide Licenses Renewal

In order to cover the costs of unfunded license renewal and sustainable software and hardware
maintenance support provided by AICT, AICT's base budget was increased by $360,000 in 2005-
06. Also allocated were additional base funds for three e-learning positions to enhance WebCT
support and funding for an E-Learning Manager. Two base-funded positions from the disbanded
ATL (Academic Technologies for Learning) were also transferred to AICT.




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AIS: 5-year AIS Production Contract Renewal and Other Allocations

In January 2005, the University entered into negotiations with IBM Global Services for renewal of
our administrative information systems production services. These negotiations successfully
concluded in April with the signing of a 5-year contract valued at $39 million. In addition to a total
equipment refresh, the contract includes a software upgrade for each major system, the
management and hosting by IBM of all the University's PeopleSoft ERP systems, and provision of
help desk support for these systems.
AIS was also allocated $80,000 in base funds for a Research Accounting Analyst and $100,000 for
training towards the Finance Learning Initiative (FLI).


Facilities and Operations: Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) System

Facilities and Operations requires a new Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system to replace
their outdated legacy systems. Such a system will provide better reporting tools and enable better
management and tracking of the University's capital assets. For the 2005-06 fiscal year, $425,000
was allocated on a one-time basis to Facilities and Operations for the purchase of the initial
components of an EAM system. The vendor will be selected through an RFP process.


RSO: Equipment Refresh and Change Management

RSO has a number of desktop computers and servers that are leased on a yearly basis. For the
2005-06 budget, $56,000 was allocated as a one-time cost to renew the leases for these systems.
An additional $100,000 was allocated to assist with the change management issues that arose
during the first phase of the development of the eTRAC research accounting system.


UTS: Faculty Associates and Other Allocations

One-time funding was provided to UTS for web support and the Faculty Associate positions. It is
requested that this funding be added to the UTS base budget in 2006-07 to sustain these
initiatives.


2006-07 Budget Submission

For the 2006-07 budget year, the VPIT office received base budget requests totalling just under $4
million and one-time requests totalling just over $3 million from several units using the "virtual" IT
budget process similar to that used in 2005-06. All requests have now been processed by the VPIT
office and a subset of these requests totalling $1.2 million in base budget and $2 million in one-
time funding has been included in the VPIT's 2006-07 budget submission to EPC. Final budget
allocations will be made known shortly.




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Communications


Meetings with Deans

In the fall of 2004, the VPIT and the Information Technology Planning and Forecasting Officer met
with all the Faculty Deans and Directors of service units dependent upon information technology.
The purpose of the meetings was to gain an understanding of their IT needs as part of a campus-
wide planning process. We also sought their views with respect to several key areas: administrative
information systems (since we were undergoing a review process of our production and
development contracts), e-learning, and the role of several IT support units including Academic
Technologies for Learning (ATL), Computing and Network Services (CNS), Creative Services, and
University Teaching Services (UTS). The input we received provided valuable information for both
the AIS Contract Review and the E-Learning reports that were released in December 2004 and July
2005 respectively.


Information Technology Plan

In 2005, the VPIT office commenced the development of an Information Technology Plan that will
be based on, and will also influence, the University of Alberta's Academic Plan. "Round table"
information technology workshop and planning sessions were held in January and June 2005. Each
Dean and Director was asked to send one or two of their faculty/staff who were most involved with
planning or making decisions related to their information technology needs to this workshop. These
sessions were important first steps for seeking a consensus and "buy-in" for a campus-wide IT
planning process that will be further developed in the upcoming year.

In the fall of 2005, a decision was made to delay this initiative until the new President was installed
and the current Academic Plan could be reviewed. IT plan development activities will be resumed
with a third planning session to be held in March or April 2006. The goal is to produce a first draft
on a campus IT plan by June 2006.


E-Learning Plan

The process used in developing an E-Learning Plan and planning process was described earlier in
this report. The VPIT office lead an extensive round of consultations with the Deans, the campus
community (through a web feedback form) and several key administrative and GFC subcommittees
in the fall of 2005. The final E-learning Report, along with the CLE subcommittee report on
governance and leadership in teaching, learning and technology, will be presented to GFC this
spring.


VPIT Web Pages

A set of webpages for the VPIT office (http://www.vpit.ualberta.ca) have been created to provide an
overview of the current state of information technology planning on campus and describe the
initiatives we have undertaken and are currently involved in. Our goal is to create a website that
contains all information relevant to information technology planning on campus.




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Annual Report

This document represents the first annual VPIT report. It covers the period from July 2004 until
December 2005. It is proposed that future reports cover the activities of each calendar year.



Human Resources

In this first annual report, we introduce the VPIT staff and then describe human resource changes
in the other areas reporting to the VPIT.


VPIT Office

The VPIT office consists of the VPIT (Paul Sorenson) and three staff members. The VPIT's overall
responsibility is for information technology planning and execution for the University in support of
the University's academic plan, particularly as it relates to teaching and learning, research and
administration. The VPIT also provides leadership in the development of ICT policy and ensures the
effectiveness of ICT systems and services on campus.

In August 2004, Rob Lake was seconded from his role as a Lead Research Systems Analyst in the
Department of Computing Science to assume duties as the Information Technology Planning and
Forecasting Officer. His main responsibilities are to support the VPIT in all aspects of development
and oversight of the University's information technology strategic plan. He also oversees the
development and use of a reporting system that summarizes current spending and income related
to IT at the University and promotes effective IT tools, services and practices for teaching,
learning, research, administration, external affairs and innovation across campus. This seconded
position was converted to a permanent APO position in November 2005.

With the closure of the Academic Technologies for Learning (ATL) group in December 2004, Sandra
Dowie, an APO from this unit, joined the VPIT office in February 2005 as an E-Learning
Development Officer. Sandra is responsible for providing strategic support and advice in the
creation and implementation of e-learning plans, policy, communications documents, and special
initiatives directed at transforming the nature of teaching and learning at the University through
the effective use of e-learning technologies. In particular, she helps support the VPIT with the
development and implementation of the University's e-learning plan and coordinates e-learning
initiatives that originate from the VPIT office.

All secretarial and scheduling support is provided by our Executive Secretary, Tashie-Ann
Macapagal. Tashie commenced employment in September 2004 after obtaining previous scheduling
and secretarial experience while employed at the Students' Union.


Reorganization of AICT

The reorganization of AICT, discussed earlier the Information Technology Organization section, has
resulted in the creation of two Director positions: one managing Central Systems and Support
(Brian Acheson, currently Acting Director) and one managing Computing and Communications
Technology (Kevin Moodie). The reorganization has also allowed for the creation of several new
managerial positions reporting to the two Directors in areas such as managed services, e-learning,
and client services.



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Expansion of the E-Learning Group

In 1998 the University of Alberta engaged in a small pilot project in e-learning to implement a
course learning management system using WebCT. This pilot project eventually grew into an
enterprise-wide implementation that now involves over 1500 on-line courses and more than
120,000 student registrations. To handle the ever-increasing demands for WebCT, the VPIT office
provided base funding for the manager position of the AICT E-Learning Support Group and three
additional support staff in this area.


UTS Faculty Associates and Web Designer

To assist in program support in UTS, three Faculty Associate positions were created on a trial basis
for 2005-06. Faculty Associates assist the Acting Director of University Teaching Services in the
delivery of UTS programs and services and in the development of plans and strategies to foster a
stimulating climate for learning and teaching at the University of Alberta. The program support
areas and the faculty members who were hired in these positions were: new professors (Glen
Loppnow, Department of Chemistry), faculty development including peer consultants (David Cass,
Department of Biological Sciences) and sessionals (Connie Varnhagen, Department of Psychology).
These have worked very well and it is proposed that the Faculty Associates program be continued
this coming year.

A new web designer position to assist in the development of the UTS website and the creation of
on-line training materials was created. Margaret Spence, a former member of ATL, has taken this
position.


CCLI Resources

The general consensus of the E-Learning Plan Development Working Committee was that the
University needs a structure and organization to coordinate, and where appropriate, provide
leadership in future e-learning initiatives. The University also requires the capacity to respond
flexibly to the continually evolving needs and opportunities associated with e-learning. As a result,
this committee recommended establishing a Centre for Creative Learning Initiatives (CCLI) and a
Teaching, Learning and Technology Council. To determine the structure and function of these
entities, a CLE Subcommittee on TLT Leadership and Innovation was established in October 2005
and has met weekly from early November to mid December. Most of the activities associated with a
new centre will focus on the coordination of projects involving faculty-based initiatives and central
service units such as the AICT E-Learning, UTS, Student Services, the Library and Museums. We
envision that a small number of additional staff will be required to support the coordination role of
the centre. These additional resources will be defined by the CLE subcommittee and requests for
these positions will be made in the 2007-08 budget.



Regulatory Compliance


Internal Audit Reports

During the past four years, over a dozen reports related to information technology have been
released by Internal Audit. Many of these reports have required responses from management in
both AICT and AIS. Our office is now tracking the distribution of these reports and will ensure the
responses between the units are in alignment with our planning processes. We will also ensure our
planning processes reflect the recommendations contained within these reports.
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Disaster Recovery Plan

A major IT liability at the University is the lack of an IT disaster recovery plan in the event of an
unforeseen catastrophe. Our office is currently involved with developing two disaster recovery
plans - one for our administrative information systems, and the other for our academic systems.

The renewal of our AIS Production Contract with IBM resulted in the relocation of our
administrative systems to Markham, Ontario. While this helps safeguard our systems from a local
disaster, the University needs to address consequences of a disaster to the IBM site. IBM has
produced a proposal to relocate the hardware used for AIS system development and testing to
their data centre in Montreal, and use these machines as an operational AIS disaster recovery
centre. Costs and implementation details are still being finalized, but it is expected this proposal
will be reviewed in 2006 and planned for as part of the 2007-08 budget.

The University is examining the feasibility of using part of the basement of the newly acquired Bay
Building to serve as a redundant data centre. Although the distance of this building is not three
miles away from our current data centre, approval by the auditors to use this building has been
granted primarily due to the presence of a large natural barrier (the North Saskatchewan River and
the valley) and the different power infrastructure used by the Bay Building. AICT has drafted an
initial disaster recovery plan which has been vetted to the IT Committee. An IT subcommittee of
the Bay Building steering committee has been formed to examine the IT requirements for this
building, including the feasibility of a data centre. The implementation of an academic computing
disaster recovery plan will occur once the space assignments of the Bay Building have been
finalized and the costs for a redundant centre can be met. An initial cost estimate for the academic
computing disaster recovery has been set at close to $10 million over a three year period.


Access to Personal Information (Policies and Procedures)

Our office plans to develop a formal set of information technology policies and procedures that
conform to the requirements set forth in the University of Alberta's Policy Development Framework.
A subcommittee of ITC will be established in early 2006 to formulate a broad-based policy and then
leverage from that some general procedures. The VPIT office has already sought input from the
Director of University Governance and we are now examining the IT policies at other universities to
determine if there are ideas that can be leveraged. Once these policies and procedures have been
drafted, they will be submitted to the Board of Governors and/or General Faculties Council for
approval.

In 2005, we worked with the Information and Privacy Office and examined two draft documents
that described a policy for access to personal information for research and surveys, and a
procedure for access to personal information for research. A working group discussed how these
drafts should cover IT-related issues such as whether or not an email address should be considered
as personal information, what procedures should be used to conduct electronic surveys, and how
electronic surveys should request personal information. Further discussions will take place in 2006.




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Risk Assessment

Approximately every three years the Accountability and Risk Management Steering Committee
(ARMSC) initiates a University-wide risk management and assessment survey. During the past
year, the risks identified from the previous iteration were reassessed and many of the open risks
were merged to reduce the overall number of separate risks. Of the remaining risks, one of the
most pressing pertains to the University's IT infrastructure, both for hardware and software. The
VPIT office participated in the process of rewriting this risk to have it reflect the current
technological standards, and we also assisted documenting the steps taken to mitigate the risk and
update the risk indicators.

Two new external risks that arose this year related to licenses of two key software products:
Oracle-PeopleSoft and WebCT. In December 2004, Oracle purchased the PeopleSoft product line
and customer base, thereby causing great concern amongst PeopleSoft ERP customers with respect
to their huge investment in PeopleSoft software applications. We are happy to report that so far,
the effects of this purchase have been relatively minor and our investment in PeopleSoft
applications seems quite secure. We are, nevertheless, monitoring the situation for major changes
in support or new product directions.

In October 2005, Blackboard and WebCT announced their intention to merge as one company
called Blackboard. This merger has yet to be ratified in the courts, but plans to form a new,
merged product line have been discussed. Blackboard has promised to support the WebCT product
suite for at least three more years. As with the PeopleSoft situation, the potential dissolving of the
WebCT product without a pathway to the new merged product would place at risk the significant
investment the campus has made in the use of WebCT. Because Blackboard now controls
approximately 70% of the LMS (Learning Management System) market, we will be carefully
monitoring this situation and will put in place a strategy to move to other product alternatives
should the new product present major conversion issues or result in excessive licensing costs.



Project Management

A major challenge for the University is ensuring that high-quality project management takes place
on all major IT projects. With the decision to outsource our Peoplesoft ERP (Enterprise Resource
Planning) systems to IBM in 2000, the University lost much of its internal project management
expertise. Our review of the IBM outsourcing contract revealed a need to add more project
management capability in-house to support our IT systems, especially during the development
phase. Three activities have occurred this past year in response to this need.


AIS Development Process Modeling

During January and February of 2005 and with assistance of IBM, AIS created a new model for
developing administrative system applications. This new model clearly defines the roles of different
personnel and committees in carrying out new system development. It also addresses how new
development is to be transitioned into production. This transition is particularly critical now that the
University has adopted a new preferred vendor model for much of its ERP-related development.
The document that defines this modeling can be found at
http://www.vpit.ualberta.ca/ais/development_planning/vpitonly/pdf/development_model_v3.0.pdf.




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AIS Development Project Stewards

A key new position described in the AIS Development Process Model is the project steward. The
project steward assists the project manager (who typically is employed by an outside contractor) in
carrying out coordination and communication with project sponsors, clients and other key
University stakeholders in the development and delivery of new applications. All new project
development teams must now have a project steward.


Project Manager for Cognos Enterprise Budget Planning and Future Major Projects

The development of a Cognos Enterprise Budget Planning model started in late 2004 as a project
undertaken with in-house project management. With project timelines slipping and deliverables not
realized, it was decided to seek external project management support to assist in the development
of a full set of requirements and a redefinition of the scope and timelines for the project. This
redefinition and rescoping is expected to be completed at the end of January 2006 and a revised
project plan will be defined shortly thereafter.



Quality Management


Revising the AIS Development Process

The quality of our information systems can be defined in many ways including functionality,
performance, reliability, ease of use, maintainability, and security. Ideally we should aim for high
quality in all of these aspects, but in many situations we must compromise between quality
attributes especially if there is only a limited development or maintenance budget for a system.

One of the key recommendations of the AIS IBM PeopleSoft Contract review was the need to re-
examine and improve the existing AIS Development Process. Several areas of possible change in
the process were identified: expansion of the scope of AIS Development activities to include
administrative systems that interfaced with the Peoplesoft ERP systems, review of the role and
membership of the AIS Executive Committee, review of the role of AIS Steering Committee, and
review of process for setting priorities on administrative systems new development.

An AIS Process Review Committee was established in the spring of 2005. It has met and discussed
many of the key issues related to the AIS Development Process and some of its early
recommendations have been adopted and put into practice. The final report of the committee has
not yet been completed. Once completed it will be reviewed by the AIS Executive Committee, AIS
Steering Committee, the IT Committee and EPC. From a quality perspective, the new AIS
Development Process should improve project oversight, accountability and prioritization.




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Reworking of Service Level Metrics in AIS Contracts

The renewal of the AIS/IBM Production Contract resulted in the revision of many existing
performance/quality service metrics and the introduction of several new metrics. These service
level metrics focus on issues such as the availability of production applications, change order
process and servicing, help desk response and issue resolution, security control, and data integrity
in the event of failure. A complete listing of these metrics, the service level definitions and the
frequency of service level reporting is contained within the IBM Administrative Applications
Management Services Agreement.

On the development side, the University with the assistance of IBM developed a Decision Ranking
Framework for new projects. A scoring criteria was defined to include factors such as cost,
resources required, business benefit, change management, prerequisites and application maturity.
This scoring criteria was applied to rank 21 projects and several of the highest ranked projects
were subsequently initiated in the fall of 2005. The factors and the scoring weights attributed to
each factor will be further evaluated and refined in 2006.


AICT WebCT Performance Benchmarking

An important recommendation coming forward from the E-Learning Development Plan Committee
was the need for performance benchmarking of WebCT to address user concerns over inadequate
response time in using WebCT. AICT is currently working on this and other initiatives such as a
self-service capability for the automatic creation of course/section profiles.



Directions for the Upcoming Year

The following is a brief outline of the initiatives the VPIT office will be focusing on for the upcoming
year.


TELUS Centre Transformation / Implementation of E-Learning Plan

Plans are underway to move forward with the transformation of the TELUS Professional
Development Centre into a teaching, learning and technology centre. To begin this process,
wireless access will be available in the building in early January and the dining area on the first
floor will be made available on a trial basis as an open access lab. The classrooms east of the
atrium on the first floor will undergo hardware refreshment that will include new teaching and
learning technologies that can be used by faculty starting in September 2007. Future plans include
the development of space for UTS and possibly the AICT E-Learning Group.


Campus IT Plan

At least two more sessions will be held with faculty representatives to continue the process of
developing a campus-wide IT plan. We also plan to consult with faculties that are developing their
own IT plans to ensure their plans align with the University's academic plan, the campus-wide IT
plan, and IT plans from other faculties.




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Wireless

The initial phase of a campus-wide wireless strategy will be completed in early January with the
installation of access points throughout University Hall and the TELUS Centre. The success of the
implementation will be assessed during the first half of 2006. The VPIT office, working in
collaboration with AICT, will explore opportunities to obtain the necessary funds (estimated at
between $3 million and $4 million) needed to complete a wireless solution for the remainder of the
campus.


A Services-Oriented Approach to IT Delivery

A significant new direction the VPIT office is taking with respect to IT planning on campus is the
adoption of a services-oriented approach to IT delivery. Key elements of this approach are 1) clear
definition and announcement of services provided, 2) service satisfaction surveys, 3) service-
oriented scorecards that present the current state of the information system resources supporting
each service, and 4) the risks, opportunities and costs of sustaining and improving each service. In
addition, as service areas are identified, it will also be important to identify major processes that
are shared between departments as well as the person or persons responsible for maintaining and
improving these processes. Some preliminary work on this approach began this past year. This
coming year we will begin implementing some of these key elements in the academic and
administrative system services that are provided to the campus community.


AIS New Development Model

The AIS New Development process changed in 2005 with the expansion of the vendor pool from
one vendor (IBM) to three preferred development vendors (CiBER, IBM and Sierra Systems).
Previously all new development projects were assigned to a sole vendor. Now a reduced form of
RFP is issued to each of preferred vendor for each AIS new development project and their
responses are evaluated to determine the awarding of the project. An initial set of generic metrics
for evaluating the vendor responses has been developed and documented to help ensure the
process remains consistent. This is a new model for the University and it is expected the
procedures around this model will be refined throughout the next year as the University gains more
familiarity with the processes involved.


AIS Governance for PeopleSoft and Non-PeopleSoft projects

As noted earlier, the final report from the AIS Process Review Committee is expected early in the
new year. This report will propose a restructuring of both the AIS Steering Committee and the AIS
Executive Committee and outline an expanded governance model to include non-PeopleSoft
projects.


Communities of Practice

On November 30, 2005 and at the invitation of the VPIT office, a number of faculty met to examine
the current state of Community of Practice (CoP) initiatives on campus. The working group
discussed ways the University might develop greater expertise and a research profile in this rapidly
evolving field. This discussion will continue in 2006 through a series of meetings and workshops. As
well, a pilot project will be undertaken in which a CoP will be integrated as part of the learning
environment for one or more undergraduate courses in the health sciences. An overview of the
activities of this informal working group can be found at: http://www.vpit.ualberta.ca/cop.


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Other Initiatives

Below are two initiatives that are just beginning, but we expect there will be significant progress
over the coming year.


Alberta Universities Association Infrastructure Proposal

A CIO subcommittee of the Alberta Universities Association (AUA) has been formed and the
inaugural meeting of this subcommittee took place on December 19 in Calgary. The main topic of
discussion was the development of a proposal for the creation of an IT infrastructural renewal fund
for the four primary Alberta universities. It was agreed that a strategy of support would be
developed for four areas of IT infrastructure: 1) Access and Communications, 2) Teaching and
Learning, 3) Cyberinfrastructure (i.e., IT infrastructure in support of research), and 4)
Administrative Services. The framework for a strategy planning document will be developed in the
next two months that will be reviewed by the four university's Provosts. Once this review has been
completed the document will be sent on to Advanced Education and Alberta Infrastructure for their
consideration.


Services Science Project through Alberta Centre for Advanced Studies

The Alberta CAS (Centre for Advanced Studies) was created through a joint partnership of IBM, the
Provincial Government (Innovation and Science Ministry), and the University of Alberta on June 27,
2005. Alberta CAS held its first Board Meeting on November 22, 2005 at the University of Alberta
with the VPIT as co-chair of the Board. One of the first projects will determine the scope of and
opportunity for collaboration between IBM and the University of Alberta in the area of Services
Science. This is a new and rapidly evolving field of research that focuses on the development of
new business models, processes, architectures, strategies and workforce management methods
that lead to the production of more effective and efficient services for clients. An area that will
potentially be studied as part of a Services Science collaboration is the governance structures of
shared and delivered service models. In particular, our existing outsource arrangement with IBM
Global Services will be examined with the goal of understanding how we can continue to improve
the governance structure as part of the enactment of the current service agreement.



Conclusion

This inaugural VPIT Annual Report has provided an overview of the important initiatives that have
been undertaken by the VPIT office since its inception in July 2004. We have been working hard on
several campus planning initiatives to improve the information systems and their associated
support and services. We fully expect that 2006 will be an equally busy and exciting period as we
focus on the delivery of an IT Planning document that provides input into the Academic Plan and
supports the future strategic plans of the Faculties and other major campus units.




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Appendix A: IT Budget Allocations


               2005/06 VPIT BUDGET ALLOCATION SUMMARY


                                                    BASE         ONE-TIME
               ATL Transferred Funding              $286,886
               2005-06 Budget Allocation            $2,325,000


               Advancement Services
                 SunGard BSR Licenses               $24,464
               AICT
                 E-Learning Manager                 $68,885      $13,500
                 E-Learning Positions (3)           $180,070
                 Former ATL Positions               $106,816
                 License Renewal                    $360,980
                 Position Reviews                                $12,650
               AIS
                 FLI Training                       $100,000
                 IBM Contract Renewal               $695,000
                 Research Accounting Analyst        $80,000
               Facilities and Operations
                 EAM                                             $425,000
               Resource Planning
                                                    $94,288
               RSO
                 Change Management                               $100,000
                 Equipment Refresh                               $53,000
               UTS
                 2004-05 Shortfall                               $7,000
                 Faculty Associates                              $24,000
                 Other Initiatives                               $6,000
               Special Projects Allocation
                 Health Sciences                                 $11,250
                 Margaret Haughey                                $2,500
                 Student Services                                $14,080
               One-Time Allocations
                 Wireless                                        $150,000


               TOTAL                                $1,710,503   818,980
               2005-06 Residual                     $82,403
               2005-06 Base Budget Left to Commit   $901,383


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