It's been a while since I've been to a conference, so my trip to the Educause Enterprise IT Summit was a nice change of scenery.  It was also a day and a half in Arizona at the end of February and yes, I was looking forward to nice weather.  Ironically, it was sunny and warm back in Central PA and rainy and cloudy in Phoenix! The most interesting presentation was by Dr. Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University.  He's done amazing things at ASU and I'll dedicate my next blog post to my impressions of his presentation.  For now, I want to share good quotes that I wrote down from...
I want to thank everyone who attended the F&B IT All Staff meeting on Feb 22 at the Penn Stater. Our goal was to have topics for everyone: from strategic to operational; about F&B and also our partners; relevant to infrastructure and application staff.  I think we achieved success as I've heard almost entirely positive feedback on the meeting.  The best indicator is that you overwhelmingly wanted two things:  more time in the breakout sessions and to have another meeting earlier than a year.  We will do both when we hold the next All Staff in late summer (date TBD).  My two favorite...
From my perspective it seems that the first six months of the F&B IT Transformation flew by, but we've accomplished so much in that short time also.  I want to review some of those accomplishments and layout our plans for the second half of Phase 1 and our plans for Phase 2 and beyond. Personnel We've been very deliberate about putting people first in the Transformation, so I'm going to start there.  We began by merging the ABS and OHR infrastructure staff in July to form the new F&B IT unit.  I am so impressed by the team's successful integration of the teams and operations so...
The F&B IT Transformation hit another early milestone recently as we on-boarded our first staff onto the ServiceNow platform. Migrating from one ticketing system to another is an achievement but hardly a transformation milestone.  Let me offer a few reasons why this was much more than just swapping one tool for another: 1. IT Service Management.  We've been hearing about service management and ITIL over the past few years but this has been the first major application of ITSM in F&B.  Sean Curling is the Assistant Director for the F&B IT Service Desk, but just as importantly, he's...
F&B IT earned another win recently and it's time for the touchdown dance.  On a Monday morning we got an email from OIS that the server containing the EHS website had been hacked and access to it had been blocked.  Happy Monday!  It turns out the server wasn't under control of any F&B IT staff or vendor and wasn't being patched.  Side note: we need to make sure that never happens again!  Thankfully there was no sensitive content and the server wasn't used to launch horizontal attacks.   Because the site had been hacked since November 2014 (not a typo!), restoring from a recent backup...
http://fandb.psu.edu/blogI had the opportunity to present our F&B IT Transformation to the PSU Board of Trustees Audit and Risk Committee at PS Wilkes-Barre on July 21.  It's been over a year since there's been an IT presentation to the BoT and David Gray felt it was timely to talk about the work we've started. The Challenge Presenting to the BoT was a new challenge so I reached out to Dan Heist who coordinates the agenda with the committee chair, who is a BoT member.  He gave me some great advice and reassured me that the press probably wouldn't attend since it was a 7:30 AM start.  ...
Friday night (July 29) represented a major milestone for F&B IT, ITS, and Penn State - and we even had fireworks to celebrate!  But let's start at the beginning... (Non) Technical Background Apologies to my technical readers because I will gloss over some technical details and use imprecise terms.  Penn State has many (~60) indepedent security domains.  Each of those domains is a set of userID's and passwords stored in a database on servers with people managing them, patching them, and protecting them.  These domains are the electronic keys for entry into our information and...
I’ve heard that a theme at a previous F&B IT All Staff was taking a trip to Florida.   F&B IT Transformation was like a trip to Florida and we were trying to figure out how to get there.  Someone recently asked me what Florida is like – not where is it or how to get there, but what will it be like when we get there?  Another great question which I will probably answer better now than when it was posed.     To answer the question, I want to do a little mental exercise in three parts.         Part 1:  Do you think we could be 5% more efficient in IT?  Another way to ask the...
I recently had a good question: What's the goal of the F&B IT Transformation?  To answer, let me use an analogy that I think we can all relate to.  Over the last two years, we’ve seen gas prices drop from around $4/gallon to $2/gallon.  I haven’t changed my driving habits to use more gas or bought higher octane (for my hot rod mini-van :-).  I’ve spent the savings on other more important things.     A primary goal of F&B’s IT Transformation is to drive down the price of IT in F&B.  By eliminating duplication of infrastructure and leveraging common, shared services, we can be...
I've written about the value of a vision for transformation and why we have to transform.  I want to discuss three key concepts that drive our transformation:  economies of scale, specialization, and duplication and variation. Don't be intimidated by the terminology or the idea of economics - these are things you already understand, mostly intuitively without someone explaining it to you.     Economies of Scale Let's review the economics of scale.  There are fixed and variable costs for any process (IT, manufacturing, etc.).  As you produce more or serve more customers, those fixed costs...

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