As we reach the end of another successful academic year, I want to share with you some reflections on the past year from an ITS perspective.
The end of this spring semester coincides with the successful completion of one of the most complex and extensive IT infrastructure projects undertaken during my tenure as Chief Information Technology Officer. The infrastructure team successfully moved Drake’s Internet service from a single provider to two separate Internet connections provided by two different companies. Additionally, they moved the disaster recovery data center from its previous location in Shakopee, Minnesota to Kansas City, Kansas. By doing so, the University has increased reliability, doubled Internet bandwidth, and reduced annual costs by 40%. Unless you were paying close attention to OnCampus, you were likely unaware of any changes because it happened with zero interruptions to service. It was carefully planned and well executed, and I hope if you see members of this team, you will take a few minutes to congratulate them on a job well done.
We have completed a number of other successful projects over the past year, both large and small. These include the transition from Banner 8 to Banner 9, integration between HireTouch and Banner, the launch of the myDrake portal, improvements to student address collection, the deployment of the Starfish student success platform, the launch of online benefits management, and the ongoing rollout of Microsoft Teams to departments across campus. The success of these initiatives demonstrates the impact that effective project management and collaborative teamwork across campus can have on empowering Drake University to deliver on its mission. Our project teams, made up of ITS staff and campus partners, ensured that these projects met their budgets and schedules, and delivered on their promised outcomes.
It has also been a year of challenges and opportunities around information security. 2018 began with multiple successful phishing attacks on the University that reminded us of the sophistication of information thieves and the necessity of working together to protect our community’s confidential information. I’m pleased to report that, through our collective action, our data is dramatically better protected today than it was a year ago. Two-factor authentication is now being used by all faculty and staff across campus—a major accomplishment for all of us.
We continue to look for ways to improve protection of critical data. This year we are conducting disaster recovery tests on Banner and other critical systems as part of our routine maintenance. By regularly assessing our recovery processes we become better prepared to move quickly to restore critical services in the event of a major event affecting our main data center.
Finally, I want to return to the results of last fall’s Survey of Administrative Services. The results from the past three years show steadily increasing overall satisfaction with ITS services. I’m grateful that you recognize the hard work the ITS team is putting in toward improving service and I commit that we will not slow down. In the spirit of continuous improvement, we are dedicated to identifying areas of weakness and working to improve them. I welcome your ongoing input and constructive feedback on how we might more effectively serve the University, our students, and you.
Chris Gill, Chief Information Technology Officer