IT Update for February 2016

February 2016
This month's IT Update has been published a day late to coincide
with the launch of our new IT self-service portal. Learn more below.
A monthly report to UAB leadership and the IT community about technology projects
designed to enhance the work and lives of UAB staff, faculty and students.

Connect to IT more easily

Order services, report problems at new self-service portal

A new self-service IT portal launches today, giving UAB IT customers an easier way to order IT services, search for knowledge articles and report problems with their services. 

Learn more about the self-service portal.

New tech site, storefront offer personal tech discounts
TechConnect is a new storefront at the Hill Student Center and web site that gives UAB students, faculty and staff a chance to take advantage of special pricing on technology for personal or home use from vendors Apple, CDW-G, Dell and Microsoft. Learn more about TechConnect.

Unlimited email rollout successful for faculty, staff
An email upgrade for UAB faculty and staff, which provides much larger mailbox sizes with a web interface similar to that of students, has been well received. Vice President and CIO Dr. Curt Carver received applause about the unlimited email at two speaking engagements on campus last month. Learn more about the new email web interface here.

Register for 24/7 self-service access to password changes
Tired of waiting for AskIT to help you reset your BlazerID password? Beginning Feb. 2, users will be prompted to register a phone number or non-UAB email address as part of the existing password reset process. Registering a phone number or email address in BlazerID Central gives UAB users a quicker way to reset a forgotten password — without having to contact AskIT. Learn more here.
UAB IT working to 'empower' campus community
UAB IT is implementing improvements designed to empower UAB students, faculty and staff, CIO Dr. Curt Carver told IT employees across campus last month during an IT Town Hall meeting to kick off the new year. Learn more here.

Unlimited UABbox cloud storage expands to new users
UAB IT's latest unlimited storage option for campus faculty and staff is UABbox, a free, cloud-based storage option provided by UAB IT in partnership with Box. This week it expands to faculty and staff users across campus. (Hospital employees are not included in this expansion.) The service allows unlimited storage of non-sensitive data, in file sizes up to 5GB. UABbox includes web-based access, a Box sync desktop application and free mobile app, and also allows easy data sharing with other Box users. Learn more here.

Internet speed at UAB will be increasing
UAB IT is embarking on a partnership with content delivery network Akamai, which would increase internet bandwidth and speed at UAB. Learn more here.
Research teams get in-person support
The research administration and research support teams will be able to have greater collaboration and innovation with InfoEd, the vendor supporting IRAP, when the company launches an onsite team Feb. 2 at UAB. Two InfoEd employees are moving to Birmingham, with plans to hire four additional developers in what will be the company's first satellite office. InfoEd has a long-term plan to move into its own physical space with a staff of 20 to 25 people in the future. The volume of grants awarded to UAB researchers, the university’s business processes, the extent to which UAB uses IRAP and the rich technology environment in Birmingham made choosing UAB and Birmingham the right selection for both the onsite team and the planned satellite office.
UAB IT helping Alys Stephens Center with new ticket vendor
UAB IT has been working closely with the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center on selection of a new ticketing services and patron support vendor which will deliver an improved patron experience with a new online portal. “UAB IT has delivered exactly what we needed,” said Bryan Jones, director of operations for the Alys Stephens Center. “In addition to providing a high level of professionalism and matchless expertise, the IT team has helped us maintain a firm grasp on every element of every phase of a very intricate process.” The center and UAB IT are about a third of the way through the project, with contract negotiations ongoing with the chosen vendor. “Through their wide-ranging connections and knowledge within the IT and UAB community, they have helped us connect some very crucial dots along the way,” Jones said. “The UAB IT team has truly been a lifesaver for us.”

Employees now have easy access to UAB giving receipts
UAB now offers employees easy online access to their annual summary of giving to UAB, beginning with calendar year 2015. Employees can quickly access and print their giving summary for tax purposes, eliminating the expense of printing and mailing. UAB IT partnered with the Office of Advancement Services on the new feature. To access the 2015 giving summary, employees simply need to visit and enter their BlazerID and password. “We are pleased with the response we have received and that we were able to partner with UAB IT to provide all faculty and staff donors electronic access to their annual summary of giving to UAB for the 2015 calendar year,” said Michelle Hussey, assistant vice president for Advancement Services. “UAB IT was instrumental in working to provide the technical links necessary to make this happen and have the donor experience be as simple as possible.”
New faculty recruitment process offers enhanced tools
The Office of the Senior Vice Provost and Faculty Affairs, in partnership with UAB IT, recently completed implementation and deployment of a fully electronic system to host and manage all aspects of the UAB faculty recruitment and search process. The implementation phase of the project, which began last fall and was completed in January 2016, included user training for the College of Arts & Sciences, University Libraries, and all of the schools. "We are very excited about the implementation of the PeopleAdmin system (UAB Faculty Jobs) because it offers our academic departments and faculty search committees enhanced tools and more efficient processes for faculty recruitment," Senior Vice Provost Suzanne Austin said. The next steps for the project team are to conduct additional user training and provide assistance to units as they transition recruitments to UAB Faculty Jobs (UAB PeopleAdmin). Additionally, general training sessions will be announced shortly. So far, 488 applicants have applied to faculty jobs on the active site. For more details or if you have any questions, visit the project site

UAB IT doing its part in effort to boost enrollment at UAB
Technology changes put in place last fall have made an impact on the number of applicants to UAB — which could translate to higher enrollment in fall 2016. In partnership with the Office of the Vice Provost for Enrollment Management, UAB IT streamlined the process of authentication for prospective students, which makes it easier for future Blazers to schedule visits to campus and research enrollment. "Part of UAB IT's role is to generate revenue, engage in process innovation and realize cost savings," Vice President and CIO Dr. Curtis A. Carver Jr. said. "This is an example of revenue generation."
CIO available to speak to UAB groups and departments
Vice President and Chief Information Officer Dr. Curt Carver spoke last month to the School of Education and to the School of Health Professions. Carver is available to speak to UAB departments. Learn more here
Password manager tool to be available to campus
UAB faculty and staff will soon have access to a new password manager that will help them keep track of all of their passwords. UAB IT has selected Keeper as an enterprise password vault system for campus. The UAB IT information security staff is working on plans for implementation and training for the new tool, which is expected to be available this spring.

Personal information is like money: Protect it
Treat your personal information like money: Value it and protect it. That was one of the messages of Data Privacy Day, an effort to encourage the safeguarding of data. Learn more tips to protect your personal information.
UAB IT kicking off strategic planning process
UAB IT is kicking off its strategic planning process this month. The department will be seeking input from its employees, IT professionals across campus and constituents as it develops a comprehensive action plan for the future.
IT BILL OF RIGHTS: UAB IT is working with the university on a plan to implement an "IT Bill of Rights" for all campus users, determining the base IT services that each student, faculty member and staff member will have. The plan will also create simplified IT service packages for departments and schools to choose. 

100 GB CONNECTIONS: During 2016, UAB will see 100GB connections to the internet through Atlanta and Nashville. The effort will enhance the university's research agenda and improve everyone's internet performance. A separate project will involve building the infrastructure to support 1GB connections to desktops on campus. "This represents a shift from 'just enough internet' — or 'not enough internet' — to abundant internet," said Shawn Ellis, chief technology officer. Learn more about the upgrade plans here.
UAB IT IS ON SOCIAL MEDIA: You can follow UAB IT on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Last modified on February 19, 2016