MSU IT Council hears from President Simon; discusses standards, data center, status updates

The MSU IT Council met on September 2. Below are the high-level topic summaries from the meeting.

President Simon addresses the IT Council

President Lou Anna K. Simon talked to the MSU IT Council on September 2. She said that campus IT has stagnated over the last several years creating a technology deficit at MSU. Simon said we need IT talent that can put the university in a position to meet the needs of a student and faculty body that are technologically savvy and to enable us to respond quickly to future technology demands.

Highlights of her presentation included:

  • The role of IT is to get the work of the institution done and to look ahead to how the work of campus needs to evolve. We need a long term strategy.
  • People need to do what is best for the university as a whole.
  • We need to find the next “disruptive moment” that improves processes but doesn’t stop the work of the university.
  • Technology needs to enable MSU as a high performance organization.
  • The opportunity to set a new shape of the university only comes around once in a while. This is our opportunity to really make a difference and create that “booster rocket” that leaps us forward.

Common device standards

Nishanth Rodrigues, Assistant Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, presented the End User Computer Experience project that his IT Services department is spearheading.

This project’s objective is to find ways to reduce costs, increase security, improve support, and speed up the purchase and delivery of technology by setting common device standards for campus hardware. Rodrigues is looking for volunteers from the IT community who are willing to make a time commitment for this important initiative.

Data center project

Joanna Young, Vice President and CIO, needs campus leadership to advocate the importance of the data center project to MSU administration and help speed up the process.

There is a pressing need to keep to a tight timeline for an MSU data center since we have about 18 to 24 months capacity based on growing data in current facilities.

Status updates on Office 365, Salesforce

IT Services met the August 15 deadline to have all freshmen migrated to Office 365 email. The timeline to migrate sophomores is during September, juniors during October, and seniors during November. Graduate students would follow in 2016.

Following the transition of students, the university will open Office 365 email to interested academic and administrative units for faculty and staff.

To help with Salesforce, MSU selected Sierra-Cedar as the provider of choice after a review of three vendors. A project manager was hired and a Salesforce chat room was created. MSU Salesforce implementation is targeted for the second quarter of 2016.

Integrating IT CAFEs into the Council

There is a demonstrated need to more closely tie the various IT CAFE groups to the IT Council to improve information sharing and knowledge within the campus IT community.

We are exploring ways to employ liaisons that would have ties to both the IT Council and CAFE groups.This would enable better alignment of initiatives and goals, as well as create a two-way communication path.

About the IT Council

The MSU IT Council serves as a primary IT advisory body. Membership is open to the primary IT leader from each of the degree-granting colleges, core academic units, major academic support units, and other major business units.

The MSU community is encouraged to seek out their IT Council representative or visit the IT Council website for more information on topics of interest.