Duke ITAC - August 14, 1997 Minutes

DUKE ITAC - August 14, 1997 Minutes

ITAC Minutes

August 14, 1997

Breedlove Room, Perkins Library

Present: Bill Auld, John Board, Ginny Cake, Jim Coble, Janis Curtis, Jim Dronsfield, David Ferriero, Annette Foster, Paul Harrod, Donna Hewitt, Betty LeCompagnon, Melissa Mills, Caroline Nisbet, George Oberlander, Neal Paris, Mike Pickett, Alex Reutter, Rafael Rodriguez, Roy Weintraub

1. Review of Minutes and Announcements

Mike Pickett announced that Robert Wolpert was out of town and asked that changes to the minutes be submitted to him by 8/15. David Ferriero announced that Jim Coble has been named the new Director of Library Information Systems would be replacing him at ITAC when he cannot attend. Mike noted that there had been a serious hack attack on Sunday, August 10. It was a ping attack from a spoofed address with 64K packets. It took considerbable effort on the part of staff in Charlie Register's area to recover from this attack. UNC and NCSU systems were also attacked last week. Jim Dronsfield announced that MCNC has the local loop up for the second line, but UUNet is not ready. Testing will occur next week and the alternate route should be available by Sept. 1. Once up, much improved throughput is expected.

2. Planning for an IT Support Model Discussion

Betty stated that the IT Support Model issue surfaced from the IT strategic plan and announced that Neal Paris would be heading this project. Neal distributed a document from which he made his presentation. He noted (p. 3) that users have already identified technical support as their highest ranked issue. The OIT staff working on this project plan to catalog the services OIT already provides, then survey users about what needs are and are not being met. The data from these two exercises will be the basis of a fit/gap analysis. Neal reviewed (p. 4) the scope of this project and its major objectives, noting that he will return to ITAC to present recommendations for a high level implementation plan. He wants to create a steering committee for the project (p. 7) and there was some discussion about how best to use faculty resources for this project. Roy Weintraub suggested that faculty can be better used in the data gathering process by meeting with e.g., Academic Council Executive Committee and other faculty groups. Melissa suggested adding DUSs (Directors of Undergraduate Studies) as a possible focus group. Caroline Nisbet asked how student data would be gathered. Neal responded that there would be focus groups as well as residence hall meetings on East and West and that he would be working with DSG. Alex Reutter requested that graduate and professional students be added to student focus groups and that different mechanisms need to be used to find them. Alex will work with Neal to contact the appropriate grad/prof student groups. Jim Dronsfield asked whether the survey should cover more than desktop support. Betty responded that she wanted the project to have a reasonable scope, therefore, it would be limited to desktop support. Melissa Mills noted that limited funding is a support issue and recommended that it be covered in the survey. Betty stated that the project will help quantify the $$ that are needed. Melissa asked whether it is better to modify our current support structures instead of building an entirely new support model. John Board responded that he hoped we would remain open to scrapping everything. George Oberlander suggested that a series of prototypes might be developed and tested instead of developing one new model in the abstract. Betty indicated that it is the intention of the project to develop several prototypes since there is no single support model that will fit everyone. Ginny Cake asked about the expected time commitment for the steering committee. Neal said that the steering committee time commitment is up to two hours/week every other week until Christmas. Legwork will be done by OIT staff. With regard to the statement of scope on p. 4, Melissa asked whether "general desktop support" would cover hardware and software as well as how existing support resources fit in. Neal responded that school support resources are key. Betty suggested a changed in wording to "IT-supported" rather than OIT-supported.

3. Computer Purchasing Leverage

Betty wanted to discuss this issue at the President's retreat on August 18-19 and asked whether there was opposition to her proposed recommendation that administrative desktops be more standardized than academic desktops. She is working with the Duke Computer Store and Procurement Services to get the best possible prices for the top PC vendors. There is also the possibility of negotiating pre-installation of standard software. Betty noted that most university stores average 9% overhead, so that would be the suggested mark-up on equipment. She would like to see the Computer Store be the distribution point and is trying to work out an agreement that the profit from these sales would support OIT operations. Caroline noted that Apple was not among the top vendors. Betty said that Apple's share in this survey was calculated at $341K. Melissa stated that she already has a 3% contract with Micron and would not be interested in a 9% contract with the Computer Store. Mike Pickett said that we should look at all the "bonuses" of this kind of arrangement as there may be more positives than price alone. Donna Hewitt stated that she purchases from Gateway and thinks their Duke website is a big advantage. Price and configuration are clear and they get their equipment in four days. David Ferriero asked whether the vendor figures included DUMC. Betty said they were included except for the DCRIs and PDCs. George Oberlander asked whether support could be tied to a purchasing contract noting the Dell's support has declined greatly in the last six months. Betty responded that any number of features could be added to the contracts.

4. Salary Study Update

Betty stated that the salary study report has been completed. Duke IT salaries are 9% below national averages and 16% below the Triangle and UNC. The consultants indicated that anything >10% below the local average will be a major obstacle to recruitment and retention. It would cost $4.3M to close the gap at Duke. There are ~190K IT vacancies nationwide and there has been a 43% decline in the number of computer science graduates since the mid-80s. She has met with Clint Davidson who is already knowledgeable on this issue. Betty indicated that the next step is to endorse a policy to allow managers to make competitive offers for recruitment and adjustments to current salaries for retention purposes, however, $$ for this purpose will have to come from current budgets. She then asked the group whether she should petition for a "pot of $$" for which departments could make requests. David Ferriero stated that he does not have $$ in his budget for salary adjustments and that new $$ will have to be found somewhere. Roy Weintraub reminded everyone of what has happened to faculty over the past 10 years -- because funds have not been available, faculty of lesser rank or no rank are now doing more of the instruction -- there is no structural solution and it is unrealistic to think that there will be. George Oberlander suggested that there could be a different model of support, i.e., a central support model whereby departments would "give up" their IT staff to OIT on the premise that it is not efficient to have experts everywhere. Betty noted that UPenn went the opposite direction. They basically disbanded central services and gave all of the money back to the departments, making them responsible for establishing priorities and providing support. She thinks the trick is to find the right balance between central and departmental support. Betty indicated that Duke may not be able to optimize to the bottom line because the University is so diverse. George Oberlander pointed out that because Duke is paying lower salaries, it is actually getting a tremendous bargain for IT support and that contracted support costs would be much higher than the salaries that are being paid. Janis Curtis remarked that the MCIS vacancy rate is very high and they are spending a lot on contractors. They can't hire the contractors away because they're making too much money and Duke salaries aren't competitive.

5. Open Forum

a. Paul Harrod noticed that there are no $$ associated with the Year 2000 report that was distributed. Betty responded that the next step is to do the impact assessment which will cost ~$200K. She needs to identify a source for these funds and is meeting with the Budget Working Group to look at possible funding models. It will probably cost $1M-$2M to do the work on the university side and ~$1.5M on the medical center side of the house. Mike noted that MCIS is paying bonuses to current employees to work a few extra hours per week on the Year 2000 issues rather than hiring outside contractors.

b. Melissa Mills asked how the recommendations in the Network Architecture report would be put into operation. There was a short discussion about a recent situation in Engineering. Betty indicated that there needs to be a uniform approach which will be to involve users in the RTPs.

c. There was a question about the status of moving to Notes Mail. Mike responded that DUMC has made a commitment to this package and has already converted ~500 users. There are ~1,000 cc:mail users on campus and another 8,000 in DUMC. We don't need two different infrastructures, so OIT and MCIS are having talks to insure that the infrastructure is integrated. An advisory group will be established within the next few weeks that will also address service level agreements. Jim Coble asked whether anyone is planning to stay on cc:mail. Mike responded that he did not know of any department with a long-term commitment to the package. Lotus has made it clear that their corporate-level development effort will go into Lotus Mail. They will market cc:mail to small groups and businesses.

d. Jim Dronsfield asked whether anyone is investigating the IT impact of the proposed merger of Durham Regional with Duke Hospital. Janis Curtis responded that Landon Bain is meeting with the CIO of Durham Regional and that he is in the best position to give an update if the group is interested. There are other mergers/affiliated relationships that will have an IT impact and he can also address these.

e. David Ferriero stated that his swan song to ITAC was that "there is a cost to being the best."

The meeting adjourned at 5:45pm.