Duke ITAC - September 12, 2013 Minutes

ITAC Meeting Minutes

September 12, 2013, 4:00-5:30

Allen Board Room

I.        Announcements

·         Oren is going to continue as the student representative on a temporary basis until someone else has been named.

·         Minutes from 6/20/13 & 8/15/13 – Status: Approved

II.      Agenda Items

Change Management Update / ServiceNow (Kevin Davis, OIT and Paula Herber, DHTS)

Support@Duke (software is called ServiceNow) is one of OITs internal operations applications.  Went live in May 2012 to replace Remedy which was in place for about 15 years.  Request management went live last Fall.  Are now looking at introducing Change Management into ServiceNow. 

What is Change Management?

How you manage, control and communicate changes around the organization.

  • Operational Tasks – routine, day to day work
  • Emergency Changes – time sensitive changes that must be done to prevent imminent loss of service


  • Currently Change Management processes are being done using different software platforms in OIT and DHTS.  In moving to a shared platform, more sharing of data and visibility across the university will be possible.
  • Moving from a “change awareness” approach to a “change management” approach which resulted in more management involvement
  • Robust change calendar, integrated and color-coded
  • Common change language
  • System calculated Risk Assessment based on user input eliminates guessing on the impact of changes (different severities result in different communication strategies and requirements)
  • Post change review task requires groups to document why changes failed and how to fix them
  • ServiceNow has an “out-of-the-box” Change Management module.  OIT worked with a third party consultant to model a more customized solution for Duke.

Implementation Timeline:

  • August 2013 – DHTS
  • October 2013 – OIT
  • Fall 2013 – MaestroCare

Future Enhancements:

  • Use of enumerated services list
  • Impact assessment based on service dependency (topology mapping of services)
  • Better collaboration

Lessons learned:

  • ServiceNow is growing and maturing so there are still some difficulties being worked through.  “Out of the box” is insufficient for our needs.
  • When working with consultants in the future, it would be useful to have access to some of the code ahead of the design sessions to better tie the theoretical to the practical.
  • There was some benefit in beginning with an out-of-the-box product and building from there versus starting from scratch.

Will better change processes translate to better outcomes?  On the DHTS side, this does seem to be the case so far.

Questions and Comments:

  • What kind of changes would be tracked in this ServiceNow and what is the connection to the end customers?  These changes are typically entered in the backend by internal staff and not by the end customers.  An example of a change that might go into ServiceNow is requesting a new server for a project.  Multiple changes will trigger off this change, such as the creation of monitoring of the new server and documentation of processes related to this server.  The change can also be evaluated against other existing changes (e.g. changes being requested during important events on campus such as back to school, network changes being done at the same time) to prevent conflicts as best possible.
  • How are technical customers supposed to interact with OIT or ServiceNow?  If OIT is making a change affecting a customer’s server or OIT hosted service, the service owner will be notified using defined communication channels.  However, we don’t expect that every time a customer wants to make a change to their server, that they notify OIT.  The level of communication between customer and OIT is dependent on the potential risk involved.  Some of these
  • Is this available to schools and other IT units?  Right now it hasn’t been used by any other units, but that is possible.  We would just ask that any units wanting to use the product keep the change workflow the same. 
  • Do notifications go to customers through ServiceNow? Currently communication comes through the service owners and managers and not ServiceNow.  There are also a couple IT units through IT Council that get a special notice each week about major changes taking place.  However, this is a possible area for growth using ServiceNow once configuration data is added to the application (e.g. service dependency information).
  • ServiceNow has been very useful for SISS when rolling out new processes and during periods of high usage.  Registration periods and applicant notification periods are blackout dates for major changes or if changes are necessary, the timing is planned very carefully around these events.

OIT Response to Student Feedback from Spring 2013

ePrint (John Robinson, OIT)


Device reliability – Very highly utilized.  18 million pieces of paper went through these machines last year.  With any mechanical pieces there are going to be paper jams, toner outages and other damage.  OIT looks at the device status on a daily basis.  This past summer, some of the older machines were replaced.  Over the winter the machines in the most highly used areas were swapped out with existing units in less utilized areas.

Service reliability – Some challenges this year, especially toward the end of the year with various outages.  Problem was taken to the vendor and a code problem was found and corrected.  Infrastructure changes were also made.  During back to school there were the typical printing spikes, but there weren’t any major issues.


Setting up new printers is evaluated on a case by case basis and is dependent on a number of factors including location and current load.  In the past some printers have been moved from one area to another where it has been determined that they could be utilized better in a different location.  Some have been added if a good case has been made as to why they were necessary and some requests have been denied. 

Fixing Devices

There was a suggestion made to train RAs to assist dorm residents with printing problems.  This makes up a small percentage of printer locations.  This still needs to be investigated.

Online Learning (Evan Levine, OIT and Shawn Miller, CIT)

Coursera is one of the tools that Duke is using to provide course materials, including MOOCs.  Students have provided feedback that they are happy to be able to access course content that they might not be able to otherwise due to course prerequisites, for example.

iTunesU has also gotten a positive reception from the students and they say they would like to see it used more.  This may be an option for Duke faculty that would like to do more online course materials not through Coursera.

Questions and Comments:

  • How to best keep track of everything that is out there?  CIT and OIT are working together on a new online course website to provide information for faculty interested in moving this direction.  Videos in Teaching and Learning is another group being created that will have documentation and best practices information.  This group would help with the implementation stage when a faculty member has made the decision to move forward with creating an online course or video content.  Right now there are resources spread out across the university, but are working towards a more unified solution.  In terms of locating courses themselves, there are some startups that have been created to rank courses (e.g. CourseRank).  With such a rapidly changing area, it’s difficult to keep up with everything available.  The reference librarians can also be used as a good resource for faculty in this regard and research guides are 
  • Is the support for professors different for those who are interested in participating in MOOCs versus those who are interested in producing a 5 or 10 minute video here and there?  Yes.  The styles of production are different so they will require a different level of instruction and support.

75% of students are aware of software licensing services.  We would like this to be even higher and will work on marketing this better.

With regards to the software wish list, it’s not possible to site license and discount every piece of software available on the market.  OIT’s software licensing group is primarily dedicated to providing software that spans the majority of the campus and is used in multiple departments.  More specialized software that is only used in one or two departments does not make sense to be centrally funded.

Duke has a software licensing committee that is co-chaired with Ed Gomes and software requests are discussed on a quarterly basis with each of the schools.

Questions and Comments:

  • Would it be feasible to license MatLab for Pratt students only?  This is something that can be discussed further with Pratt.  More than likely with the way that MatLab does their licensing, it would probably cost as much to license just Pratt as it does to license the entire university.
  • What is the process by which someone can submit a request to the committee?  On the software licensing page, there is a form that can be filled out and this generates a ServiceNow ticket which is then brought to the committee for investigation and discussion.  The requests will also be put out on a Wiki page[1] where people can comment on the software.  This helps to see who else in the university is currently using or interested in using the software.  If enough interest and need is generated, it is more likely to be approved for purchase.  Even if there is not wide-spread need for a particular piece of software, OIT is able to help assist in coordinating with the interested departments for them to purchase it together.
  • Who do new software requests typically come from?  It’s really a mix of staff and students.  Each year we might get about 10 requests.

DukeCard (Kevin Davis, OIT and Laurie Cousart, OIT)

The question was asked why we are sticking with the current old technology and not moving toward something newer like RFID or “Tap and Go”.

We would like to, but it takes a long time to implement.  OIT is currently working on the replacement of the 25-30 year old card system which will then enable us to implement some of these newer security and financial technologies.  Student Affairs would need to request this new technology, but at that point the underlying infrastructure would be able to support such a request at that time.  Tap and go transactions would also be possible, but would require switching out the existing cards and readers.  This is also on the list of things to look at down the road.  Some of these changes could be seen by the students as early as next year. 

Some of these changes are also dependent on the vendors because not all of them are supporting these new features (e.g. contactless transactions).  In addition, phones are not advancing as quickly as originally anticipated with regards to supporting these kinds of transactions so more than likely we’re probably going to be using cards for a long time to come until it matures and becomes more standard across device platforms.

Questions and Comments:

  • Student development of APIs against DukeCard systems?  In discussions with the vendors, open API access has been requested so the architecture might be there to support that ability in the future.  On the other hand, we’ll need to think carefully about how this data will be used.  There is also some work going on to support Innovation Co-Lab to allow individuals to grant access to their personal information which will hopefully be rolling out soon.  There should be a pilot of this real soon.
  • Is dual factor authentication likely to be part of the DukeCard plan down the road?  Currently when students make off-campus payments they must enter their verification code.  Student Affairs is interested in looking into and testing this technology for door locks where you could swipe your card and also enter a pin code.  Some locations on campus currently require a biometric footprint as the second factor.

Events Calendar (Deb Johnson)

There was a student calendar at one point, but it hasn’t been used despite our attempts at marketing its existence.  Right now a lot of the websites (e.g. Student Affairs) are displaying calendar events via feed from the Events Calendar.  The Duke Today Students[2] page has a Short List which is done every week on Monday with the top 5 things students need to know for the week.  Almost every one of them when clicked on will redirect to Events@Duke.  The calendar is mobile friendly.  We welcome any ideas on how to spread the word among the students. 

Because there are so many events at Duke, the challenge is in being able to adequately filter them so that you can find what you want while not being overwhelmed with a lot of “noise”.  The current filters are by Group, Category and Location along with keyword and date limiters.  The calendar is on a public website and therefore it is not possible to filter by status since there is no user authentication.

Questions and Comments:

  • Would a target audience filter make sense?  The old calendar had this and it didn’t work for two reasons.  One, the easiest choice for admins entering the events was the “All” option instead of individually picking each group.  Additionally, a lot of event hosts wanted the most visibility for their events and would prefer that it showed up for anyone viewing the calendar.  Events can be tagged such that they can be filtered out and displayed on individual websites (e.g. events tagged Law would appear on the School of Law’s website).
  • Confusion among people posting events as to how to categorize their events (e.g. Seminar vs. Lecture/Talk) and double-posting events as a result.  There are differences in terminology used between groups and departments, so this is a challenge.

ACES/ Mobile ACES (Kathy Bader)

Performance – There were some performance degradations identified last year and some problems were identified.

Functionality – In the summer we were approved to move away from Duke’s developed Schedulator with PeopleSoft’s built in Course Scheduler.  Because this is embedded in PeopleSoft, students will be able to import the schedule into the Book Bag.  This will be rolled out for the next registration period.

Look and Feel – We have gotten approval to move forward in exploring the Interaction Hub.  This has the ability for customized views and improved navigation.

Questions and Comments:

  • When will we get the one-click export of the Sakai grade book?  This has been brought up with the vendor and have had discussions regarding improving the current interface.
  • Has the problem with clicking the back button in the browser while using ACES been fixed?  The Interaction Hub should fix a lot of these issues since the navigation is much improved.
  • Students are excited to hear these changes are coming.
  • Will there be a period of growing pains with the Interaction Hub where problems may occur or do we think that the Duke customizations will fit seamlessly with the base architecture?  Yes, there will be a trial period but we are hoping that there won’t be too many issues.

Network/Cell Service (John Andreala, OIT)

Wi-fi on buses and at bus stations – There is a possible solution that will be tested out in the next month.  This operates as an access point over the cellular network that connects back to the Duke network and is made by Cisco.  This will also be tested out at Duke Gardens.

Central Campus problems with Apple TV and Xbox connectivity – Cisco is currently working on correcting this issue.  It appears that it might require an upgrade in the code on the wireless controllers and should be done in the next month or month and a half.

Wi-fi in K-ville during tenting season – 4 outdoor access points have been installed.  3 of them are down by the tennis courts and one at Wilson Rec.

Chromecast – TAC case has been opened with Cisco.  It appear to be a common issue they’re experiencing.

Cellular Service on campus – Three cell carriers are funding the campus project to update service.  Engineering has been in process for the last year and we’re now beginning to implement the early phases in the student dormitories.  Crews will be working on campus during the day on cabling over the next month.  The project schedule overall is 18-months.  Activation of these new areas is currently scheduled for around June/July of next year.

Questions and Comments:

  • What was the source of the bottleneck at K-ville?  People could connect to wi-fi, but then couldn’t get anywhere.  This was probably just too much traffic than the access points could handle.  The access points were 100Mbit/s and have been upgraded to 1Gbit/s.
  • Students are very excited about getting wi-fi on busses and didn’t think was something that would actually happen.  Something of this caliber should be reported in The Chronicle and the students were asked to follow up with a reporter if possible.

[1] https://wiki.duke.edu/display/OITSLP/New+Software+Evaluations

[2] http://today.duke.edu/students