Information Technology’s Operational and Strategic Planning
Information Technology has initiated a planning process that will
engage a wide variety of faculty, staff and students in the
formulation of technology strategies that support the university’s
goals and priorities and meet the expectations of IT customers.
The purpose of IT’s planning process is to provide a channel for the
university community to discuss technology issues and opportunities
facing them in the next few years. The goals of the planning process
includes strategizing how to meet changing and growing technology
needs and collaborating with our customers to formulate sustainable
plans of implementation and operation.
IT’s short term goal is to build and strengthen relationships with
units across the university that will enable IT to best respond to
their technology needs and provide the highest and most flexible
level of support possible with existing resources. IT will to
accomplish this by balancing needs and leveraging technology
advancements to increase sustainability. Long term goals include
addressing technology infrastructure and support deficiencies,
collaborating with customers to be innovative in accommodating new
programs, processes, and technologies, supporting the university’s
expanding research capacity, and assisting faculty in teaching and
Information technology budgets are relatively fixed and demands for
information resources continue to expand rapidly. Technology
strategies arrived at through consensus and collaboration ensure
that IT meets budgetary and resource challenges as efficiently and
effectively as possible. IT’s success in the role of enabler and
promoter of technology depends largely upon customer input gathered
the IT planning process.
We are seeking your feedback concerning the technology needs of your
department, college, and division to help us formulate a technology
strategy that will balance increased technology needs and limited
resources. To create those strategies, IT needs to understand your
changing technology needs. Collaborating with you will enable IT to
build sustainable operational plans, make consistent technology
decisions, and provide the highest and most flexible level of
support. Please share your thoughts and concerns with us about your
current technology needs and those you envision for the future.
Please email us at UWITPlan@uwyo.edu to provide input that will
guide IT in our planning efforts.
Classroom Technology Assistance –
No Numbers, No Menus, No Buttons – Just Help!
All classrooms that have
open scheduling for classes and are
supported by Information Technology have been equipped with
telephone hotlines that have been programmed to immediately dial the
IT Help Desk. If there are technology problems in one of the
classrooms, simply pick up the phone. The phone will automatically
dial the help desk, the call will go to the top of the IT Help Desk
call queue, and a helpful IT representative will answer. In the case
of emergency “class-down” situations, someone will immediately be
dispatched to assist. No numbers, no menus, no buttons – just get
High Performance Computing (HPC) Update –
UW Joins Top U.S. Computing Facilities
Starting this fall, the University of Wyoming research community
will have access to one of the world’s biggest and fastest
supercomputers. The NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) is a
peta-scale, supercomputing center designed to maximize
data-intensive science, and Wyoming has played a critical role in
The NWCS will initially have approximately 75,000 compute nodes
performing 1.6 Peta-FLoating Operations Per Second (PFLOPS) and
store 12 Petabytes of data (Peta = 1(10)15, 12 Petabytes = 187,500
64GB iPods). The data center facility, located just outside of
Cheyenne, is completed, support staff is moving in, and the hardware
has been ordered. The University is connected to the NWSC with a 10
Gigabit/sec network connection that is poised to upgrade quickly as
the researchers demand it. According to the existing schedule, the
University will begin to use the NWSC in August 2012.
Access to the NWSC will be granted to qualified researchers. A
seminar to discuss the application process and logistics for using
the facility was held February 24th.
In addition to the NWSC, the University is also building a
substantial, local HPC resource. This world-class facility will
comprise thousands of computing nodes, large-scale storage and
seamless access through fast networking. This supercomputer will be
available to UW researchers, faculty and students. The combination
of the NWSC and the UW Supercomputer places the UW among the
country’s top research computing facilities. The facility will be in
place and operational by the end of summer.
For more information regarding the NWSC or Research Computing at UW
contact Tim Kuhfuss at (307) 766-4864 or
Research Support -
New Faces, New Hardware and New Customer Support
Information Technology is embarking on a new journey. We are
preparing to support the University’s diverse research communities
computing needs. One step towards accomplishing this goal is to
build a campus high performance cluster and storage system. This
substantial system will have high speed connectivity to similar and
larger systems across the country and throughout the world as well
as be tightly coupled to the planned University visualization
- Researchers are 24x7 users
- Researchers need ready access to systems
- Researchers are highly sophisticated with regard to technology and
In order to overcome these challenges the UW IT Research Support
Department will focus on the following three areas:
- Availability – The systems will have to be reliable and available
to researchers when they need them. This will be accomplished by
using a proven system design and using industry best systems
- Usability – Users will need the support mechanisms to allow them
to easily use the campus cluster and national resources such as the
NWSC. User assistance will span from online self-help to personal
consulting from IT.
- Performance – Not only will the computing resource have to run at
top speeds, research software and researchers’ code will have to be
tuned and optimized.
IT is in the process of procuring the systems hardware and software.
We are actively recruiting top notch, HPC systems support personnel
and we are seeking ways to leverage the University’s’ existing IT
support infrastructure to best accommodate the researchers.
For more information on the vision and progress of Research
Computing Support contact Tim Kuhfuss at (307) 766-4864 or
Considering New Software for Departmental Applications?
New software applications can help a department improve their
operations and services. However there are many factors to consider
in making an informed software purchasing decision, including:
- Investment in time and personnel resources to implement and
maintain the software,
- Cost, including Total Cost of Ownership (TCO),
- Who will be using the software and how available the system it
resides on needs to be,
- How it will integrate with other UW software and the UW network,
- Necessary security for the data being stored.
Some of these factors may compete with one another, such as a
program that many individuals need to have access to but requires
strict data security. There is help in weighing these factors and
making a decision that will best meet the goals of the department.
Information Technology has extensive experience in selecting,
implementing and maintaining software. IT provides free assistance
that can help in the decision-making process. We will help with:
- Conducting a needs analysis to determine the priority of
functionality in the software.
- Reviewing potential software options available from vendors and
knowing what might already be available at UW.
- Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of developing
custom software versus using vendor software.
- Understanding the benefits and drawbacks of purchasing software
and running it at UW versus subscribing to a system that is hosted
by a vendor.
- Developing and reviewing a Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request
for Information (RFI).
- Developing a total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis to understand
the full immediate and long-term costs of implementing software.
A large software implementation can have substantial effects on a
department. IT’s goal to help ensure success. If you would like to
discuss any of these services, please contact Jennifer Chavez,
Interim Director, Information Services at 307-766-4874 or
End of Windows XP – Moving to Windows 7
It is hard to believe that Windows XP is already over 10 years old;
it came out just a couple months before the first Apple iPods with 5
GB memory were released. Being 10 years old makes XP increasingly
difficult to support. It is time to phase it out. Windows 7 has
numerous advantages over XP. Many users across the University have
already embraced the upgrade to Windows 7 with its many advanced
- New awesome “Search” capabilities, which can dramatically improve productivity.
- Utilizes memory (RAM) better than Windows XP, meaning Windows 7 will perform better on your existing computer hardware.
- Enhanced security and customizable firewall.
- If your hardware is 64-bit capable, Windows 7 64-bit can enhance performance even further.
Check out Microsoft's Compare Windows (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/products/compare?T1=tab20) web page for a quick comparison of Windows operating systems.
IT user consultants will be working with each department to identify
opportunities to upgrade existing Windows XP computers to Windows 7.
The upgrade to Windows 7 is free for university owned computers.
During this phase out cycle, in the rare circumstances that there is
unusual software a department requires, which is incompatible with
Windows 7, and there are no newer versions, IT staff will work with
those software companies to find the best option for support going
Transitioning everyone to Windows 7 is one way that IT is working to
provide students, faculty, and staff the most reliable, full
functionality, and secure computing environment.
Find us on:
IT Help Desk Uses Social Media –
Making It Easy for You to Stay Informed
In January of 2011 the IT Help Desk launched its Social Media
Presence with sites on Facebook, Twitter and the newly created
IT Blog (http://uwithelpdesk.wordpress.com/). These social media sites allow IT to share information
about current happenings in IT and informative articles on computing
with the UW community. They also allow users a place to interact
The IT Blog has articles
generated by the IT Help Desk staff about important practices for
computing. The entries have covered everything from password
security to fun people to follow on Twitter. The content is based on
experiences of the Help Desk staff both in supporting computing at
UW and also with their own mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad,
Droids, etc. The IT Blog is a good place to find short articles to
help with your everyday use of technology.
Along with announcements about blog entries, our
Twitter (www.twitter.com/uwithelpdesk) and
Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/University-of-Wyoming-It-Help-Desk/173517919346) sites contain up to date information on planned and unplanned system
outages and notes to campus about IT events. This makes Facebook and
Twitter often the fastest place to find up to date information on
network and systems outages.
IT video content is also available on YouTube at
the UWIT Userhelp Channel (www.youtube.com/uwituserhelp).
Here there are videos on how to handle common issues encountered in
the Help Desk. We will add more video for subjects you want to see.
If you have an idea for a video, any of our Social Media sites would
be a great place to request a video to be created or you can email
firstname.lastname@example.org with your idea.
After a year The IT Blog and Social Media presence is gaining
success. The IT blog has had 20,800 hits over the year. Have an idea
to help us connect and provide better service, please let us know.
Best Practice Training and Certification for IT Employees
A group of IT staff members recently completed an on-site, three-day
course in Foundations of IT Service Management based on the
Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). ITIL is a
collection of industry best practices that is respected throughout
the technology industry world-wide as a standard for excellence. The
course described the key concepts, processes, functions and roles
for IT services and prepares attendees for the ITIL Foundation
Certificate examination. All 19 IT staff attending the class passed
the exam and received certification.
The onsite professional development IT employee training was given
to provide our employees with a better understanding of how IT
services create value for the university, our customers and how we
can best deliver our services. IT service management is important to
service efficiency and our continual improvement philosophy. In the
coming year, using the ITIL methodology, IT will be modifying many
of our processes to better meet our customers’ needs and provide
improved customer service. Additional IT staff will receive
education and training for certification to increase IT’s capability
to consistently produce quality services in a responsive, timely,
and cost-effective manner.
Remote Computer Support Unit
Last November, IT’s Client Support Services created a new unit with
the specific purpose of providing remote computer support to UW’s
faculty and staff located in Laramie and around the state. The new
Remote Support Unit (RSU) will provide same-day assistance via phone
and screen-sharing technologies on computer issues that don’t
require an on-site visit. Screen sharing means that the IT
consultants can remotely access the customer’s computer, diagnose
the problem and correct it. Customers can literally watch on their
screens what the consultant is doing to correct the problem.
The RSU is staffed by a full-time consultant that will tackle
problems the same day they are reported and continue working on the
issue until it is resolved. If a remote session doesn’t result in
correcting the issue, another consultant will be assigned the
problem to make a personal visit to the customer. For computers that
are located outside of Laramie, the departmental consultant will
help to determine the best options to get the computer working
Information Technology is glad to be able to offer this additional
support option. With remote support, computer problems can be
resolved more quickly. Your consultant may recommend remote support
based on the issue, and if you would like to try remote support,
feel free to ask the Help Desk or your consultant.
What Do You Need from IT?
In Spring 2011, the Division of Information Technology asked
students, faculty and staff to respond to an annual on-line survey
to help improve IT service offerings and support. There were 1,371
responses from students and 724 responses from faculty and staff.
The 2011 responses (www.uwyo.edu/itsurveys/2011/) indicate that a
majority of respondents own laptops with WiFi wireless capability –
60% of students and 66% of faculty and staff. Additionally, 50% of
students and 41% of faculty and staff report having smart, web-based
phones or other mobile computing devices, such as iPads. Results of
previous surveys showed cell phone use among students at 95% and 84%
among faculty/staff indicating that cell phone use had become nearly
universal. New technology has made smart phone or other mobile
computing device use more readily available and the explosive growth
over the past few years is reflected on the graph below. A result of
the growing number of wireless devices is increased use of UW’s
wireless network – 51% of students and 37% of faculty and staff
reported routinely using UW’s wireless network. This number has
increased significantly over previous years. When asked which new or
improved IT service was the most important, students, faculty, and
staff all responded “more wireless.” In response, IT continues to
expand wireless across campus to provide better coverage and
connectivity as funding becomes available.
Respondents who completed the questionnaire were entered to win
their choice of a Nintendo Wii, an Apple iPod Touch, or a digital
camera. The winning student, selected at random, was Sunny Kaste, a
student in the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing MS program, studying
to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. Missy Stuart, Laboratory
Tech/Lab Manager for the Schatzl Lab in the Veterinary
Sciences/Molecular Biology department was the faculty/staff winner,
also selected at random.
Thanks to all who responded to the survey and made suggestions to
help identify how to improve technology offerings and services at
UW. IT looks forward to hearing your feedback in the 2012 Technology
Survey that will be out in April.
IT Consolidation Update
IT Consolidation reviews have been completed for non-academic units
and certain primary academic areas of the university. Approximately
50 positions have been reviewed with more than 20 positions being
consolidated into IT. The consolidations are showing substantial
benefits to the departments and the university as a whole. The
benefits include improved security, a more efficient and effective
path to updating computing equipment, more support depth, personnel
backup, more efficient processes and backlogged departmental
technology projects beginning to be addressed.
Student Affairs was the first to complete the IT Consolidation. Sara
Axelson, Vice President of Student Affairs, said this recently about
the IT support Student Affairs now receives: “We have had
outstanding results from the consolidation in direct support for
students and units in Student Affairs. The technology needs of our
varied Student Affairs units are being met and many major
initiatives have been accomplished as a result.”
The consolidated technology infrastructure and support structure
will clearly continue to benefit the university by:
- streamlining and improving technology operations across the university
- eliminating duplications in services and equipment
- providing depth in programming and support
- building better collaboration to meet growing technology needs
- strengthen the university’s technology infrastructure to set the stage for the future
Implementation activities occur over several months of collaborative
efforts between the departments and IT. Assessment and continual
improvement are ongoing.
Is It Time to Replace Your Printer?
Many printers are not designed to function in a centralized
management configuration. To ensure quality performance of printers
and the centralized management of networked workgroup printers
(printers typically providing service to five or more connected
users) IT needs to limit support for printers to those listed on the
IT PrintPress Policy & Recommended Printers (www.uwyo.edu/infotech/services/support/printpress/) web page. This link also
has specifics about special devices, purchasing new printers that
are not on the approved list, and grandfathered in printers.
Departmental staff members across campus have already been notified
of this requirement.
If your printer is not on this approved list, please consider
replacing it before June 2013. Dell offers trade-ins on old Dell and
HP printers when new Dell printers are purchased. Please contact IT
Computer Sales at 766-2875 or email
email@example.com for current
pricing on the recommended printers.
Director of Research Support – Tim Kuhfuss
Tim Kuhfuss is taking on a new position in IT, Director of Research
Support. Tim brings a passion for research and being an early
adopter in the information technology field to the University of
Wyoming where he will work with researchers across the university to
support their computing and high performance computing needs. He has
already started the process of evaluating ways to continue to
increase UW’s High Performance Computing capabilities. Please see
his article, High Performance Computing (HPC) Update – UW Joins Top
U.S. Computing Facilities, in this newsletter for more details on
his goals and strategy for supporting research across the campus.
Tim has experience working in a wide variety of areas in IT from
High Performance Computing clusters, storage, and network design to
grant applications. His work with Fortune 500 companies and the
national research community earned him the distinction of being
named one of Network World’s 25 Most Powerful People in Networking.
Along with being a self-proclaimed lifelong nerd, Tim is an advocate
for high quality IT service delivery, which makes him a perfect fit
in IT. IT is fortunate to have Tim heading up this exciting new area
Interim Director of Information Services – Jennifer Chavez
Jennifer Chavez is now bringing her years of experience with
Information Technology to the role of Interim Director of
Information Services. Jen is looking forward to continuing
Information Services’ focus of improving customer service for
application support. One of her strengths is in laying out various
options clearly so IT customers can make fully informed technical
Jen graduated from the University of Wyoming with a BS in Marketing
in 1998 and soon after joined the IT team. In her last 15 years of
serving the UW, she has worked on countless projects. More recently
Jen has been involved in project management efforts relating to
PeopleSoft, Document Imaging, Info Ed, Advance, and many more. Jen
was recently awarded IT’s Excellence in Leadership Award for her
excellent work understanding customer needs and efficiently leading
her team to address those needs. She is currently participating in
UW’s Leadership Academy and is looking forward to using new learned
skills to meet her goal of ever improving IT’s customer service.