SJSU IT Fall 2020 Newsletter

Dear Campus Colleagues,

As this Fall semester is coming to an end, I want to share some of our technology progress on our digital transformation, which we started in 2017. As always, none of these accomplishments would have been possible without partnership across the university, including our SJSU IT staff and distributed IT colleagues across the entire campus. We’re able to enhance telework, online teaching, and remote learning, laying the further groundwork for a successful Fall start. Everything you’re going to read about will help not just now but also into goal 5 of SJSU’s Transformation 2030 Strategic Plan

We’ve also updated our SJSU IT Services Guide for Faculty. This handy guide goes over many of our commonly used services, providing a brief explanation of what each service is and why you may want to use it . For more information please click on the button below.  

SJSU IT Resource Guide

Customer Satisfaction Continues to Rise 

Providing excellent service and support for our entire campus community has always been a primary goal for SJSU IT. In October 2019, we began using operational analytics to gain insights into our customer satisfaction scores and identify areas of opportunity for improvement. From October 2019 to August 2020, we saw a significant increase in SJSU IT Satisfaction. On a five-point scale, we went from 4.33 to 4.67. 

This trend continued despite substantial upheaval across the campus community from the pandemic, fire, and we continued to see solid satisfaction scores through summer. I would like to recognize Robert Mena, Sharon Watkins, Alfred Eclipse, and their entire front desk team, including many of our students.

For the second half of 2020, we are continuing to improve our level of service to our university with new capabilities:

No Cost Antivirus Software

SJSU IT is excited to offer Sophos Home Premium at no cost to all of our students, faculty, and staff. This is the same level of protection of AI-enabled software that we use on campus to protect SJSU from malware, ransomware, and other threats. Now you can use it on your home PC. Simply enter your @sjsu.edu email address and protect up to 10 home PCs or Macs—this offer is just one part of San Jose State University’s Transformation 2030, Goal 5: Renew and Rebuild. For more information please click on the button below.

Sophos Home Premium

Personalized Checkup Service

Our personalized Zoom checkup service was a success in Spring, so we’re expanding on it to include your entire setup. We have created a complete personalized checkup for students, faculty, and staff to help optimize their whole computer setup for online. A Service Desk technician will connect one-on-one to help folks optimize their work- and learn-from-home configurations to ensure a secure and stable environment. We’re able to offer this service thanks to the efforts of Ravi Pisupati, Jason Ferguson, Shai Silberman, Mario Rivas, and Sharon Watkins in our support team. Please contact the SJSU IT Desktop Support at 408-924-1530 or itservicedesk@sjsu.edu to schedule your appointment. For more information please click on the button below.

Checkup Service

Home Support

We’re making the telework experience better for our faculty and staff by extending our campus service and support to your home. Because so many people are working on their home computers, we’re extending our SJSU IT Service Desk to support personal home devices and home networks. We’re here to help, even if you aren’t on campus and aren’t on your work computer. 

I want to thank Jason Ferguson, Shai Silberman, and the network services team for their leadership and work on this. I also want to thank the desktop support team Sharon Watkins, Alfred Eclipse and, Roberto Mena, for their hard work. These two teams came together and stepped up to create a plan for making this happen.  For Home Support, please contact the SJSU IT Service by clicking on the button below. 

Home Support

Accelerated and Elevated Support for Fall 2020

Teaching and learning need to happen reliably and on time, especially when they’re online. That’s why SJSU IT put together a rapid response team, developed an aggressive triage model, and extended support coverage. Back-end engineers now respond to emergency tickets within five minutes and front-end customer service staff have a target closure time of 10 minutes for teaching-related issues. 

This was a team effort, with Jason Ferguson, Bruce Gardner, Sharon Watkins, and Darlene Bargas organizing the front-end and Leon Nguyen, Joel Johnson, Shai Silberman, James Anderson, Atul Pala, and Mitesh Kini doing the back-end support with senior engineers being on standby until 10 PM. We also expanded support hours. We want to make sure that our faculty, students, and staff know we’re here for them. The SJSU IT Service Desk will continue to be open these hours through the end of the semester: 

Mon-Thu 7:00 am-10:00 pm
Fri 7:00 am-6:00 pm
Sat-Sun 9:00 am-5:00 pm

Equipment Loaning Service

The following are readily available through the SJSU IT equipment loaning service today: 

  • Laptops
  • Webcams
  • Headsets
  • Tripods
  • Chromebooks
  • Microphones
  • Keyboards & Mice
  • Monitors
  • Laptop Stands
  • Other Items

Thank you to Bruce Gardner, Jason Ferguson, Vicky Van Leer, Sharon Watkins, Brent Jones, Susan Huang, Jewel Rodeo, Joseph Chou, and our entire IMS Team (Darlene Bargas, Devona Williams, Trevor Wylie, Daniela Zopiyatle, John Hanley, Cameron Myers, Fred Asuncion, Rod Maciel, Andy Yeung, Frank De Fanti, Phil Braverman, Danny Vo, Bruce Kelbert) who put in a lot of work to get this ready for Fall. This group deserves our applause. 

If you checked out equipment and still need it for the Spring, please fill out the survey we sent you or tell us here. This brief survey estimates the return volume for our currently checked out equipment. Please help us by filling out the survey if you intend to continue using the borrowed equipment. 

You can view our inventory, request equipment, and get more information at http://sjsu.edu/equipmentcheckout. Because of the high demand for laptops, we’re asking folks to email classroom-support@sjsu.edu or call us at (408)-924-2888 to set up an appointment.  For more information please click on the button below. 

Equipment Loaning Service

WiFi Improvements for Fall

A large part of our work has been ensuring quality WiFi access, both for those on-campus and for those who are working, learning, and teaching remotely. We are committed to ensuring that any on-campus courses will have the high-quality WiFi necessary for teaching and learning. 

WiFi Sensors

In collaboration with Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, we identified 46 classrooms currently hosting on-campus classes. We enhanced those classrooms with synchronous and hybrid instruction tools, including network monitoring, to ensure reliable uptime. This new technology will enable us to be much more proactive when network issues arise and help keep our campus experience positive. 

South Campus WiFi

We also want to make sure that more spaces are activated for use. Because not everyone has a stable, reliable internet connection at home, we installed access points at South Campus Park ‘n’ Ride. If you need a safe space to work with a good connection, you can do that from the comfort of your car. I want to be sure to thank Nick Cappelloni and Steve McAulay, who worked on this for us.  

WiFi 6

We’ve upgraded several buildings in critical locations across campus to new WiFi 6 access points. The new WiFi 6 standard will give the university a better user experience for years to come, thanks to more reliable wireless connections and better speeds. This progress comes thanks to Marco Rodriguez, Tino Cruz, and Steve McAuley. We have plans to deploy WiFi 6 campus-wide but have temporarily put those plans on hold to focus on our COVID-19 response and funding shortfall. The following facilities were identified as those in highest need and were upgraded using access points purchased before putting the project on hold:

  • Hugh Gillis Hall
  • Health Building
  • Industrial Studies
  • MacQuarrie Hall
  • Music Building
  • Science Building
  • Washington Square Hall 27
  • 210 N. 4th Street 

VPN & Zoom Capacity

Some students, faculty, and researchers utilize SJSU’s VPN to get work done. We massively expanded our number of available simultaneous VPN connections. I would like to thank Tam Vu and Sean Davis for their work. 

Likewise, we significantly expanded our licenses with some of our vendors, including Zoom. We wanted to be sure we were proactive in preventing capacity problems before they happened. For more information please click on the link below. 

Virtual Private Network

Queue Management System

We’ve implemented Qless, a queue management system, to allow individuals to virtually stand in line, get notifications when it’s their turn, and step back in line if they’re busy. Internally, this system will significantly help departments manage the flow of traffic. It also allows departments to collect the required information and the reason for the visit prior to the service, improving customer service. Leon Nguyen has been working with an outside contractor to make this happen in time for Fall. Our initial focus is on students and heavily student-facing departments, such as those in Student Affairs and the Bursar’s Office. Employee queues, such as University Personnel, will be added after student needs. Wave one groups included: 

  • Bursar’s Office
  • Financial Aid
  • Scholarships
  • Office of the Registrar
  • Undergrad Admissions
  • Enrollment Management
  • Housing
  • SJSU IT Service Desk

Virtual Print Services

Just because we’re all at home doesn’t mean we won’t still occasionally need a printer. Spartan Print Stations with Wepa are still an excellent option for anyone near the university. We worked with Wepa to extend our agreement to other locations for those students, faculty, and staff living further away, including City College San Francisco, UC Berkeley, Monterey Peninsula College, University of Redlands, and other universities across the country. I want to thank Atul Pala, Werner Goveya, and Keith Nowosielski for working with Wepa to arrange this for us.

MATLAB for Researchers

SJSU IT has secured campus-wide licenses to MATLAB, Simulink, and companion toolboxes for our researchers. All active SJSU users, including students, are covered by the campus-wide license and can install this software on their home or work computers. Simply go to the MATLAB Portal to download the software. Click “Sign in to get started” under the “Get MATLAB” section, log in using your SJSU account, and create or connect a MathWorks Account. Once you’ve created a MathWorks Account, you’ll be associated with the campus-wide MATLAB license and be able to download and activate the software on your personal computer or use MATLAB online from your browser. I want to thank Atul Pala and his team who helped with the MATLAB effort.  

The SJSU MATLAB Portal has a few helpful features. If you haven’t used MATLAB before or could use a refresher, there’s a 2-hour MATLAB Onramp tutorial available through our MATLAB Portal under “Learn to use MATLAB and Simulink.” If you have trouble installing MATLAB, go to the MATLAB Portal and click “Need Installation Help” to get support.   For more information please click on the button below.  

MATLAB

The SJSU MATLAB Portal has a few helpful features. If you haven’t used MATLAB before or could use a refresher, there’s a 2-hour MATLAB Onramp tutorial available through our MATLAB Portal under “Learn to use MATLAB and Simulink.” If you have trouble installing MATLAB, go to the MATLAB Portal and click “Need Installation Help” to get support. 

Thank You

This is likely not the Fall semester we all had in mind when 2020 began, and I want to thank all of you for the work you’ve done to support our students. Whether you’re a faculty member fully embracing Canvas for the first time or a staff member who’s finding new ways to get things done online, the latest tools and services SJSU IT has implemented will improve our working and teaching experience in 2020 and beyond. The online experience is now the university experience. 

If you have any questions, feedback, or suggestions, simply reply to this email and let me know. 

Best regards,
Bob Lim
Vice President of Information Technology
and CIO at San Jose State University

SJSU IT Update During Shelter-in-Place

Campus Colleagues,

I want to take this opportunity to provide you with a technology update.

Thank You
Before I begin, I want to thank you for your patience as we worked out the final details over the last couple of months.  We’ve been building our digital transformation Work Anywhere infrastructure and systems over the last three years and the last four weeks’ smooth operation has been a small silver lining for what we’ve all been going through.  Below are some questions we are receiving and I thought it would be good to share with all of you.  

Laptops and Accessories
The SJSU IT Equipment Loaning Program continues to support the needs of students, faculty, and staff.  We have loaned out over 120 laptops and other accessories over the last month.  If you or your student have an urgent need for a computer,  please contact us on this website.   

We are monitoring inventory and planning on keeping up with any new demand, but there is some risk for supply due to the high demand for PCs worldwide.  

Cybersecurity
We are also starting to see an uptake in cybersecurity-related events, which often happens during crisis events. In the next couple of weeks, we will be more intentional on relaunching our training offering on our cybersecurity program again. We wanted to wait until the campus was in a good place before proceeding.

Manage Your Voicemail
Checking and managing your campus voicemail from home is easy. We’ve posted the process to the Work Anywhere website as well.  Here’s how: 

  • Step 1: Dial the Main Number (408) 924-6800 (or 4-6800 from on-campus).
  • Step 2: When the greeting begins to play, press *.
  • Step 3: Enter your extension number, then press #.
  • Step 4: Enter your password, then press #.

Add Voicemail to Email Services
We can also help you set up email forwarding of your voicemails so you don’t have to dial in. Get an email transcript from the message left in your voicemail box.  Just submit a ticket in iSupport asking for the service to get started. 

Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS)
If you need to use a virtual lab for instruction, you can access Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) at https://desktop.sjsu.edu using your SJSUOne ID and Password. After logging in, you’ll see the labs, desktops, and applications relevant to you. If it’s your first time using VDI, you’ll be asked to install the Citrix Receiver. Accept the default options and complete the installation. 

VDI allows students to access labs or software, anytime, anywhere, from any device. VDI is cheaper and faster to set up than a traditional computer lab and gives our students the flexibility to access lab-grade tools from off-campus. 

Currently, the College of Engineering, College of Social Science, and College of Business have deployed VDI to many of our on-campus computer labs as well as virtual labs for online classes. 

For more information, please read the instructions at How to connect to your SJSU virtual lab. If you have any questions, please contact Atul Pala.

Customer Service
It’s also more important than ever that SJSU IT delivers effective and efficient support. I am very pleased to say that despite the huge changes we have experienced since transitioning to online modality, our overall customer satisfaction remains very strong. For March, SJSU IT Support closed 2,369 tickets, with an average resolution time of less than 2 days and our average customer service rating improved to 4.7 out of 5 (compared to 4.53 over the last six months). I want to recognize all the student assistants, the staff, and the management team in the IT Division. Without their hard work and commitment to SJSU IT’s digital transformation initiatives, we would not be where we are today. 

Zoom FAQ
SJSU IT and eCampus have created an extensive Zoom FAQ, attached to this email, answering questions found on various websites and forums. Ongoing training for Zoom on security, privacy and Do’s and Don’t are available from eCampus.  We are also attaching a quick-reference Do’s and Don’ts sheet. While we use Zoom as part of our CSU-provided and vetted set of online tools, it is up to individual community members to decide if Zoom is the appropriate tool for their needs.

Personalized Zoom Security Check-up
If you’re feeling uncertain or would like to ensure that all of the Zoom security features are set correctly, we are offering a new service:  Personalized Zoom Security Checkups for all faculty and staff.  We will have one of our IT service staff work remotely with you to ensure all your Zoom security settings are correctly set.  

Quick Snapshot
I wanted to give you a quick snapshot of the SJSU IT current usage for some of our key systems. Also, I want to share with you some details about SJSU IT Support to give you a sense of the quality of work that is being done, despite the challenges.  

As you would expect, we are seeing big increases in our external tools and decreased usage of the internal network and systems. Below is a table that highlights some of the largest changes.  

A quick look at some of the statistical changes around COVID-19's shelter-in-place

As always, you can go to the Work Anywhere website to find information and resources to support working, learning and teaching from home. 

 

Thank you,
Bob Lim
Vice President of Information Technology
and Chief Information Officer

IT Updates, Volume 10, Issue 3

A newsletter brought to you by the SJSU IT Division

Hello Campus Community:

For this IT newsletter, I will be sharing with you key customer measures for our IT Services Team along with additional updates about:

  • Virtual Reality
  • Customer Satisfaction Scores
  • New Chat Feature
  • SJSU Wireless (Wi-Fi) Service Update
  • Academic Research Computing

Thank you for your time and please let me know if you have any questions or feedback about the information we are sharing with you today.

Best regards,

Bob Lim
Vice President Information Technology, and CIO

Virtual Reality Technology

SJSU Virtual Reality Program

We have launched the first phase of the SJSU Virtual Reality Program for classrooms by making VR headset loaner kits available to faculty and staff. Each loaner kit has four ClassVR virtual reality headsets and a quick start guide.

Faculty and students can check out the VR equipment from the Classroom Equipment Loaner Service in the IRC for evaluation in the classroom environment. The CATS and eCampus teams are available to provide assistance and support.

Other phases of the program will follow during the summer which will include the mobile classroom solution with 48 VR headsets for use in the classroom environment as part of the teaching process. For a complete description of the ClassVR Headset used in the loaner kits visit:

http://www.classvr.com/school-virtual-reality/student-vr-standalone-headset/

I want to thank James Morgan from the Department of Art and Art History, Robert Bruce Computer Engineering, and Jennifer Redd from the eCampus team, for their important partnership on this project.

For more information about the IT VR Program contact Mike Wardley, CATS/IT


SJSU IT Service Desk.  Photo by Robert Bain

Customer Satisfaction Measures and New Chat Feature

Accountability for Results!  This has become a central focus in both academia and business.  We are challenged to achieve effective and efficient results. Applying performance measurement to this purpose ensures alignment with our students, faculty, and staff.  We see ourselves as accountable for creating and carrying out activities and being responsible for achieving results – meeting goals, effecting change, and improving the quality of our SJSU IT services.

I wanted to reach out and follow up on our discussions about keeping everyone up to date on performance and quality measures for the IT Division and its alignment with the University’s goals.

One of the most critical areas that we manage is the Service Desk.  It has a large footprint in terms of having a significant impact on many of the students, faculty, and staff here at SJSU.  At some point, most everyone has called the Service Desk for technical help.  Whether it’s getting a password reset, software and application support, PC and hardware support, classroom support, etc., the call center touches many folks on campus.  We will continue to survey how well we are responding and solving customer issues and continue to share the information.

We have some analytical results for the last five months from November 2017, through March 2018 for customer satisfaction.  The essential points are as follows:

  • 91.7% of Users of the Call Center were either Satisfied or Very Satisfied with their service.  The industry standard is 90%
  • 85.1% of customer problems have gotten a resolution in our Call Center
  • 79% resolved in less than 15 minutes for Classroom Support
  • 99.3% resolved within the 3-day service level agreements for Classroom Support

I am pleased with the results as they are above industry averages.  Of course, we can do better, and as we continue to move forward into 2018, I will continue to share with you our performance measures.  We are also developing additional analytics to better measure our customer satisfaction and determine areas where we can improve in. I want to extend a special thanks to Sharon Watkins, Janice Lew, Alfred Eclipse and Talanda Williams and all of the hard-working students on the help desk and the classroom support team led by Darlene Bargas and Rod Maciel.

As part of improving the service desk, we have a new Live chat feature which allows you to get in touch with an IT Technician without having to pick up the phone or wait in line.  This new tool has resulted in faster response times and improved customer service.  To access the live chat tool, visit any SJSU IT web page and wait a few seconds for the chat window to appear in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen.  I wish to extend a special thanks to Sharon Watkins, Leon Nguyen and Alfred Eclipse for making Live Chat a success!



SJSU Student using Wi-Fi.      Photo by Robert Bain 

SJSU Wireless (Wi-Fi) Service Update 

SJSU Information Technology Division is a data-driven organization, and I wanted to share with you some critical data about our Wi-Fi performance for the Campus.

As background, the CSU Chancellor selected SJSU to be the first of the six CSU campuses to upgrade its internet connection from 10GB to 100GB coming this July. The added capacity will serve SJSU growing data needs well into the future and specifically support the growth of university research and the data infrastructure it requires. This massive expansion in bandwidth will help SJSU to become an even more significant player in research opportunities.

Below are some key measures and details about our SJSU Wi-Fi.

  • During the past six months, the SJSU Wi-Fi network has hosted an average of 20,000 client devices daily.  Some other key statics are as follows:
    • Overall network availability is 99.54%.  This consistently exceeded the established campus benchmark of 99%
    • In terms of support desk, during this six-month period, we have less than 1% of all help desk call/ticket for Wi-Fi outage
  • We have a network of over 2,600 Wi-Fi access point
  • Significantly expanded our network coverage which has resulted in widespread Wi-Fi coverage on the main campus

Also, during this period, SJSU guest access was significantly simplified to conform to standard non-authenticated public Wi-Fi access (such as airports and hotels.)  Users now only need to accept the University’s Acceptable User Policy and online access is immediately available. Overall, it’s essential to all of us that access for guest Wi-Fi is a positive experience at SJSU. It is often the first impression a visitor has of the University.

We have simplified the guest login process considerably by driving improvements including:

  • The elimination of the user authentication requirement
  • Significantly increased the speed and the length of session timeouts during idle activity periods
  • Users of the service now only need to accept the University’s Acceptable Use Policy (Terms of Use) with a single screen click to access the Internet quickly.

A Special thanks to Shai Silberman, Steve Chang, and Steve McAulay

We are not done yet; projects are currently underway to improve/expand Wi-Fi coverage in the Campus Village and the CEFCU Stadium with planned completion by mid-summer 2018.

A High-Performance cluster

Academic Research Activities

The Information Technology Division continues to proactively collaborate with campus stakeholders on research IT computing, networking, and as well as grant initiatives for high-performance computing (HPC).

Part of this effort in supporting academic research activities, the IT Division has created our very first Research CyberInfrastructure plan.  We have put in place the plans to build a high speed, low latency research network on campus.  This network will have speeds of 40GB and 100GB, and this will allow high-speed connections between the two campus’ high-performance computing systems, and the Engineering and Science buildings. The plan is also designing the new ISB (the interdisciplinary science building) to have fiber access for high-speed connectivity for research activities. The build-out of the research network will also help SJSU to attract and receive additional research grants which will leverage our investment in our Research CyberInfrastructure.

A big thank you to Shai Silberman and Atul Pala for their leadership and work on this project.

IT Updates, Volume 10, Issue 2

A newsletter brought to you by the SJSU IT Division

Dear Campus Community:

I am looking forward to an exciting year. As part of our plans for 2018, I will be sharing with you our strategies, as well as the programs and projects ahead.

For our first newsletter, we will focus on productivity. In my discussions with many of you, one recurring topic was how to increase operational efficiencies. Specifically, we are highlighting the progress that the IT Division is making to increase productivity.

By improving and optimizing our systems, we expect to see more investments in innovation. These new resources and capabilities will be a substantial driver of success for students, faculty, and staff.

Thank you for your time and please let me know if you have any questions or feedback about the information we are sharing with you today.

Best regards,

Bob Lim

VP, Information Technology and CIO

DocuSign is an excellent example of a platform that is helping to streamline processes to make life better and more efficient for our SJSU faculty and staff. It has decreased the amount of time, paper, and ink it takes for documents to get processed. It has also shortened the turnaround time from weeks and days to hours or even minutes. DocuSign allows you to quickly and securely make each agreement and approval process digital, from any device, anywhere in the world.

  • It will enable you to sign documents anywhere on any device, a couple of taps on your phone or tablet and you’re done.
  • You can email documents for immediate signature and return.
  • More secure than paper. Documents are encrypted, and a complete audit trail is maintained.

Since implementation in August of last year, approximately 1,000 campus faculty and staff users have exchanged more than 13,000 electronically signed documents.
We are hosting user forums to promote adoption and share best practices. To learn more about using DocuSign visit DocuSign Help.

Many people across the campus have contributed to the success of our DocuSign initiative. I want to individually thank Leon Nguyen and Joel Johnson from the SJSU IT Division for leading this effort. Additionally, a big thank you to all of the departments that have quickly embraced this solution and for making DocuSign a considerable success.

 

Guest Wi-Fi

In our last message, we talked about Wi-Fi improvements based on the feedback from faculty, staff, students, and visitors. The most significant area of concern was the guest Wi-Fi login. Based on your input, we have significantly improved the use and performance of the SJSU Guest Wi-Fi service. We have simplified the guest login process considerably by driving improvements including:

  • The elimination of the user authentication requirement
  • Significantly increased the speed and the length of session timeouts during idle activity periods.
  • Users of the service now only need to accept the University’s Acceptable Use Policy (Terms of Use) with a single screen click to access the Internet quickly.

Overall, It’s essential to all of us that access for guest Wi-Fi is a positive experience at SJSU. It is often the first impression a visitor has of the University.

However, stay tuned, we are not done yet. We continue to improve SJSU Wi-Fi. We are currently working on approaches to significantly expand Wi-Fi on the south campus. We will share more details with you once the planning phase is complete.

I would like to thank Shai Silberman, Steve Chang, and Steve McAulay of the IT Division for their leadership and effort in this successful effort.

 

IT Website

Be ready to see some changes on our SJSU Information Technology Website in the upcoming months.  We are focused on improving the content, look and feel. Our goal is to make our website clear, easy to use, and informative, allowing everyone at SJSU to know what services they’re entitled to and our service levels.

This redesign will help us optimize the IT services we deliver to the campus. It will provide transparency to services and would allow both the University and the IT Division to boost their productivity with a simple and easy to use website.

A special thank you to Cynthia Salinas and Brenden Sparks of the IT Division for leading this effort.

 

Bob Lim, VP Information Technology and CIO

Dear Colleagues,

I’m Bob Lim, Vice President for Information Technology and CIO, and proud SJSU Spartan.

I want to share with you some important changes about our organization. Information Technology (IT) is now a division of SJSU that reports directly to President Mary Papazian. This change reflects the important and holistic role IT plays in delivering technology solutions and fostering campus innovation, and our expanded support role across the entire campus. We have a passion for technology and the drive to provide world-class solutions for Students, Faculty, and Staff.

I hear you

I have gotten to know many of you in individual meetings and I appreciated the high regard you have for the IT division and the great work we do. For example, you gave me great feedback on how IT is applying technology to help improve efficiency and reduce paper processes, as well as contributing to solutions to improve campus security, among many other things.

But I also heard about areas that need more focus and continued improvement. I’m taking steps to address the top issues you’ve expressed to me:

  • Communications: You told me we could do a better job about providing information on how IT can help you. To remedy this, we are redesigning the IT website to offer easier access to the information you need. Also, I’ll publish a regular IT newsletter, host IT meetings, and enable other communication channels to stay in touch with you and hear more of your great ideas and feedback.
  • Wi-Fi: One of the biggest opportunities I hear is improving the Wi-Fi experience for our guests. During this semester we’ve had as many as 20,000 users on the network at once. While this is impressive, we are proactively looking to improve our service and grow this number. Our goal is to make the campus Wi-Fi experience simple and easy for Spartans and their guests. We will have a resolution before the end of this year. Also, we are developing a Wi-Fi coverage map to share with everyone on campus.
  • Security Access: We want a friendly and streamlined process for faculty and staff to get security access. We are working with our colleagues in Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and Administration and Finance to help remedy this situation and make the process simple and straightforward. Our goal is to eliminate the training completion requirement and grant access wherever possible.
  • Metrics: We want to continue to be open and transparent about the performance of IT. In that spirit, we are developing metrics for all key performance indicators (KPIs). This will provide valuable data to help us improve your day-to-day technology experience. We use the IT industry standards (ITIL) for KPIs. For example, Number of Incidents, First Time Resolution Rate, and Problem Resolution Time. We will develop sustainable service level agreements (SLAs) to set expectations with you as we formulate standards for measuring and improving our performance.
  • Password Resets: Is there a better process for resetting passwords? We feel your pain. Do you know that approximately one in four calls to the IT service desk involves resetting passwords? We will publicize where to find readily available information and online tools to reset your passwords. In the next few months, as we alert you about account expirations, we will provide links to easy password reset tools.

Moving forward

In addition to the top issues discussed above, there are other significant opportunities that IT is actively pursuing.

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) – AI is a game changer that’s transforming the very foundation of how we live and work. Our goal is to understand how to intelligently incorporate AI into operations and roles across SJSU that can benefit from this new technology. We are currently in the strategy phase, and we are interested in gathering any ideas or feedback you may have on how best to utilize this new technology at SJSU.
  • AR/VR – Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies are heralding new learning methodologies within education and SJSU will be implementing innovative programs in these areas. In development is a program for the School of Nursing that implements AR for patient care and diagnostics. Also in the works is a “touch and learn” VR facility to give faculty and students the opportunity to experience the current maturity of the technology.
  • Student, Faculty, Staff Councils – We want and need your input. We are forming governance councils comprised of students, faculty, and staff. I value your opinion and will use your guidance to drive IT advancement. If you are interested in being part of the councils, please let me know.
  • Bandwidth – We are increasing network bandwidth from dual 10Gb/s (10 gigabits per second) to dual 100Gb/s. This increase in speed is not only important for day to day activities and accessing our website for cloud-based applications, but it is vital to support the research efforts of the university by enabling larger data flow.
  • Redundant Connectivity – We will reduce downtime at SJSU remote locations. If the network goes down at a remote location, south campus, for example, we want to have built-in redundancy to bring operations back online with only a short interruption of service. We are working with vendors to provide this capability.

I am very optimistic about the direction we have set and by the fact that we have a highly dedicated and professional IT staff that goes the extra mile to execute on our commitments. I also want to thank President Mary Papazian for her leadership and support. Together, we will achieve many amazing things for SJSU.

As always, I am open to your feedback and suggestions. Please do not hesitate to contact me at bob.lim@sjsu.edu. If you prefer a face-to-face conversation with me, please feel free to reach out.

Thank you.

Bob-