What you need to know
As many of you may have heard, a strategy was developed and approved by AgriLife and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CoALS) leadership last year that called for the centralization of IT services, staff, and support across all AgriLife agencies, including CoALS.
As we are about to embark on Phase 2 of the overall initiative, we wanted to take time to give you an overview of that strategy and provide you with some details for what is in store.
Our overall strategy consists of the following components:
- Phase 1: Unify all IT staff under a centralized management model to facilitate workload and expertise distribution state-wide
- Implement a Research Computing Group
- AgriLife Research Cloud (ARC)
- Implemented in March 2021
- Phase 2: Consolidate AgriLife Extension, Research, and the College into a unified IT environment
- Beginning June 2021
- Implement standards for quality of service and customer support
The goals of this strategy are the following:
- Forecasted $3.45M in annual savings
- Provide excellent customer support and robust service offerings to all AgriLife & COALS employees
- Enhance collaboration and communications within AgriLife
- Meet standards for security and compliancy requirements
- Provide professional IT resource solutions for Research initiatives
While the centralization of IT support staff and balancing the workload of those staff across the state has made some improvement in our support operations, the goal we are trying to achieve in this area is far from complete.
Today, each of the departments within the College are still utilizing highly inefficient IT processes, services, and solutions. Thus, support for the college employees is in turn inefficient and non-standardized between the departments.
For example, new computer setups in CoALS currently take up to half a workday, or up to 4 hours of your time.
While a new computer setup can be done in under 30 minutes in the AgriLife IT services environment.
This is where consolidating the college into a unified IT environment along with the AgriLife agencies comes into the strategy, and will provide a positive change in the quality of support and services provided to college-based employees.
This process will begin in June of this year.
Before we begin this phase of the strategy, we want to make sure everyone is aware of what the new unified IT environment consists of.
Please click on the button at the below to discover more about the AgriLife IT services and support environment.
In the meantime, we have been performing a lot of preparation activities to bring you into our environment.
These activities consist of the following:
- Preparing a new user orientation guide for AgriLife IT Services
- Developing a training program that will be ongoing throughout the migration process to provide you with real time Q&A sessions and demonstrations of the technologies that you’ll soon have access to
- Development of a communication plan (starting with this email) to keep you informed along the migration timeline
- And most importantly, refining and testing our migration procedures to make your migration as quick and seamless as possible
So be on the lookout for more communications to begin arriving in your email soon!
They will consist of activities we would like for you to perform to prepare for the migration along with instructions on scheduling your migration appointment.