Celebrating our achievements
I’m pleased to share IST’s 2018 Annual Report. This report highlights a number of achievements from the past year and their impact on various areas of campus. Our work is varied, from behind the scenes initiatives like the campus network upgrade that lay the foundation for all things ‘IT’, to engaging the community directly through our student IT Advisory Board, bringing student input and creativity to IT services and systems. Other initiatives illustrate the importance of campus partnerships, such as our work with Human Resources on Workday, and with Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) to choose PebblePad, a new ePortfolio system.
I hope you enjoy the report. Thank you for your partnership, and for helping us deliver state of the art, people-centric IT services and solutions in support of the University mission.
Chief Information Officer
Workday at Waterloo
Launching the University's new cloud-based human resources platform Workday was a major achievement that required significant interdepartmental coordination and collaboration. Working in partnership with Human Resources, IST provided leadership in the areas of project management and data integration and analysis, supporting not only the design and implementation of this new architecture, but the careful review and retirement of outdated and unsustainable systems.
Workday places greater control in the hands of Waterloo staff, offering employees a user-friendly, self-service interface and providing managers with the robust data reporting and analytic tools required to inform future decision making.
IST and HR will now refocus some efforts on achieving Go Live Phase 2 objectives.
IT Advisory Board
Enabling student engagement
Formed in Fall 2017, the IT Advisory Board is a group of students who provide feedback to IST on various projects and services. The board meets on a monthly basis to generate ideas, provide feedback, and give the department suggestions for future improvements.
Since starting this initiative, IST has worked with 68 different students, generated over 100 ideas, and implemented more than 20 student suggestions.
Some of the highlights include a new single page site for student technology services, facilitating routine poster runs on campus, including IT promotional items in all first-year orientation kits, redeveloping several web pages, and crafting more easily accessible Wi-Fi setup guides.
IST hopes the IT Advisory Board will continue to serve as a community and environment for students, faculty, and staff to collaborate and advance the student IT experience.
I love that my input as a student is seen as valuable. Being a member of the IT Advisory Board is a great opportunity for students to get involved and make a difference in the campus community.
- Bryan, ITAB member
A centralized approach
Over the past two years, IST has worked intently with members of the Student Service Centre team (The Centre) to implement a new queuing and case management system called Q-Flow. This new, tier-based solution will allow The Centre staff to receive student requests and inquires, and efficiently route them to the appropriate team or staff person without losing track of those that require additional time to resolve.
- Kiosks will allow students to self-triage and enter the queue based on what they need. Historically there has been a staff member dedicated to triage, so this will allow an additional person to focus on service delivery for students.
- Digital signage, audio announcements and text messages will be available to let students know when staff are ready to assist them. At peak periods, when there is a wait, this will allow students to relax and do something else like study, rather than just stand in a long line.
- In situations where a student needs to be routed to someone with more expertise for help, case notes of what has been learned from the student so far will be included to avoid making the student repeat their story, and allow for faster service delivery.
Q-Flow provides an important link between systems, staff, and our student community, improving the level of service and customer satisfaction by increasing the speed and quality of service-related processes.
Without Departmental Campus Applications (DCA), this project would have been extremely difficult for my team to bring together – we simply don’t have the technical knowledge, nor the time required. Our partnership with DCA has been incredible and we are deeply thankful.
- Nancy Heide, Director, Student Service Centre
Supporting the process of learning
In the summer of 2018, a project jointly sponsored by IST and the Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) chose PebblePad as Waterloo’s new ePortfolio system. ePortfolios have been created by learners at Waterloo for over 12 years, to articulate experiences, achievements and learning, with the process of learning emphasized as being as important as its product. The project brought together interested parties such as the Centre for Extended Learning (CEL); Faculties of Environment, Engineering, and Science; Schools of Accounting and Finance, Social Work, Public Health, Pharmacy, and Optometry; EDGE and WatPD; Library; Co-operative Education; and Student Success Office.
Representatives from these groups joined a week-long training session, held on campus by PebblePad, which was highly engaging and interactive. Courses and programs currently using ePortfolios will gradually move to the new system in 2019/2020. New users will come onboard as support and system knowledge solidifies.
As with other technology partnerships, IST will provide the backbone of technical expertise, with CTE and CEL providing front line advice on pedagogical and best practices for adoption.
Telecommunication Room upgrade
Upgrading our infrastructure
In January, IST's Network Services team began a major campus network Ethernet switching and routing infrastructure upgrade project. This work will provide, for the first time, a standardized deployment with scalability, quality of service, performance, redundancy, and reliability at the forefront. Designed by Network Services, this new deployment will be flexible, adaptable, and capable of accommodating additionally complex and varying requirements that may arise through faculty, staff, and researcher initiatives.
A critical part of this upgrade is the clean up of Telecommunication Rooms (TR) across campus. Equipment in these rooms is being migrated from Zero Administration Network Infrastructure (ZANI), where all network jacks are connected in a 1:1 manner, to Minimal Administration Network Infrastructure (MANI), where only active ports are connected. Deploying new equipment with a port density to support the demand in the specific building (or floor) significantly reduces network infrastructure equipment replacement costs; increases network efficiency across campus; and eliminates unnecessary troubleshooting by the client before determining a port was not live to begin with
At the end of this clean up process, networking equipment is better organized, more accessible, and in compliance with the telecommunication room guidelines established for campus. IST has upgraded and organized 133 of 437 TR's.
"IST made sure the migration went quickly and smoothly. Very happy with the work done!"
"Excellent response. Very late notice and you were able to get things running in time for the event."
- Request tracker feedback
Work with greater peace of mind
During the spring term, IST implemented an essential security service called two-factor authentication (2FA). Powered by DUO, 2FA adds an extra layer of security to University accounts, safeguarding access to critical systems or systems storing sensitive data.
Verifying your identity using a second factor (such as your mobile device) offers a much stronger insurance that your information is only accessible by those intended, and prevents others from accessing your accounts, even if they know the password.
2FA offers members of the campus community the opportunity to take an active role in keeping themselves, and their information, secure. Currently, over 15 applications are running 2FA, and in 2019 IST will continue the roll-out of this service to many additional services.
Project and Portfolio Management
Project management, business and process analysis help transform the student experience
Since July 2016, project managers, business analysts, and process analysts from the Portfolio Management group have worked with experts in every IST group, across seven other departments, and with external partners, such as the WalterFedy architects, on the launch of the new Student Service Centre (The Centre). This transformational work included reviewing existing business processes, combining and streamlining them to provide student-centred services, creating a new department and job descriptions, designing and renovating a new space for the Centre, and various IS/IT components, including the implementation of a new queuing system.
The project managers and analysts helped guide and execute the work of the various projects and project teams, including organizing and breaking down the work, clarifying roles and responsibilities, scheduling, managing risks, reviewing and redesigning processes, organizational change management, building and applying knowledge management, procurement and implementation of equipment, and transition of the program work to operations.
Nearly 50 subject matter experts participated in the review and documentation of over 60 student service processes.
…we knew that project management was going to be crucial as we got underway. The IST Project Management team provided the structure we really needed to get on track, and stay on track! This is a great example of how people make or break a project, and it’s something that I know will benefit current and future students for years to come!
- Chris Read, Associate Provost, Student