IT Staff News Shared IT Services

Shared IT Services Continues to Bring Value to WashU Campuses

Shared IT Services (SITS) continues to evolve amid the struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 order to limit on-campus operations and embrace social distancing meant transitioning much of the WashU workforce to work from home. This change created logistical and technical challenges for the team. For migrated departments, WashU IT was able to deploy laptops quickly, users had a single point of contact for support, and university-wide software roll-outs allowed staff and faculty to continue serving customers, students, and patients during this time.

In April, the SITS team spread out across WashU Campuses to provide support for our partners and colleagues. During this time of alternate operations, the team continues to work in areas of Discovery, Communications, File Services migrations, and revisiting previously migrated departments to identify opportunities to transition the remaining workstations to SITS.

SITS previously reported on the success of the creation of the WashU IT End User Services Assistance team, a COVID-19 response team for the influx of service tickets created by users. Since March 16th, the queue comprised of SITS, Enterprise Applications, and other WashU IT divisions completed more than 1,800 tickets and helped to expedite countless others to the appropriate IT team. The Assistance team is planning to be shut down this month, as increased ticket volume to Service Desk has subsided. From this group, a small team of SITS IT staff will remain attached to the Service Desk to continue supplementing their support efforts.

In the modern technology environment, Shared IT Services can retire out of date domains in the WashU space, thus improving security, simplifying the technology landscape, and saving departments money on their fixed costs for IT. Shared IT Services has been working with units who currently house those domains to plan those retirements. These retirements offer no downtime or disruption to the users in the planned units. Since the move to the work from home environment, the following units have retired inactive domains; Alumni & Development, Athletics, Career Center, and the Office for International Students and Scholars. Currently, WashU IT Engineering is working to develop a method to remotely transition workstations from legacy domains to the Accounts domain. Remote transfers will reduce the need to physically touch legacy workstations and aid in the retirement of domains still containing a small number of legacy workstations. The migration of user accounts, workstations, and infrastructure to the unified Accounts domain is a significant investment for WashU. However, the security, stability, and functionality WashU needs to perform a hybrid of remote and in-person daily operations are achieved much more comfortably in a unified environment.

SITS has continued its efforts in the Arts and Sciences Department on the Danforth Campus. SITS will approach the migration of the Department of Arts and Sciences in 5 key areas; Administration, University College, Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences.