Advancing registration at Yale, CMDB Project progress, and other updates at Leadership Team meeting

April 30, 2020

The Leadership Team met on April 29 to discuss the following projects and updates:

Registration at Yale

In response to a Yale College Teaching and Learning Committee recommendation to shorten the shopping period and to make the registration process more accessible, the University Registrar’s Office initiated the replacement of the current registration system, Online Course Selection. As part of this project, they evaluated whether to utilize in-house or external vendors to support the effort, as well as project requirements, and goals to ensure that students could shift from an outdated “wet signature process” to a one that is online, automated, accessible, and timely.

The team, including Emily Shandley, Shonna Marshall, and Jaime Tryon, began their work by vetting requirements, speaking with stakeholders, and ensuring that they understood potential challenges and requirements for faculty, students, and administrators. As part of this vetting process, the Yale College Dean’s Office determined that they wanted to move registration to the prior term, to facilitate better planning prior to the start of the semester. The team engaged the vendor Leepfrog to replace the current Online Course Selection application with the PATH system. 

The team then proceeded to define the goals of the project, which include:

  1. Fully automating the registration process
  2. Reducing the struggle and chaos associated with the shopping period
  3. Leveraging more of Banner’s baseline and integrated functionality, including prerequisite checking 

In anticipation of this project launching, around Spring 2021 for Fall 2021 courses, they recognize that the shift will impact many aspects of ITS, including: Canvas, Change Management, Database Support, Infrastructure, Infosec, Help Desk, Professional Schools IT teams, Student Technology Collaborative, the User Experience team, and Student Reporting. At implementation, it will also impact the eventual retirement of Yale custom tools like OCS, OCA, Preference Selection, Section Management and the transition to online registration across all schools via PATH or Banner Self-Service.

Leading up to launch, the team plans to test around October 2020, train around February 2021, conduct student focus group testing around early March 2021, and open early registration for all students at the end of March 2021. The new add/drop period will occur in September, followed by further discussions with the community to refine the process.

CMDB Project Overview

Deanna Burns and her team gave an overview of the CMDB project, which kicked off in June 2019 and concludes in May 2020. Remaining activities include the socialization of the CMDB data and the Aperture data load. Goals and objectives for this project included populating CMDB with on-premise data center Configuration Items (CI’s), decommissioning Aperture, turning on ServiceNow Discovery for automated discovery and population of CMDB, establishing a configuration management team and governance model, integrating with incident, problem, and change, and manual service mapping for high impact business services.

IT will be leveraging CMDB data to assist in its operations, such as identifying servers, applications, and other services that are related to incidents and changes. Thus far, over 1,300 Windows servers and over 1,300 Linux severs have been populated in the CMDB, and the Discovery tool has automated the process of updating data for on-premise Linux servers, Oracle databases, Storage, F5 and limited network components. Users of the ServiceNow platform can view CI information and business service maps which show the relationships between the infrastructure components.

The Linux and Oracle teams talked about the benefits of the CMDB data for their respective areas.  These benefits include the provision of a centralized list of current and historical servers, automatic discovery of managed Linux servers and VMware hosts, and the establishment of relationship mapping between servers, databases, and more. Previous to using the ServiceNow CMDB, a spreadsheet in Box needed to be manually updated. The new process will greatly improve accuracy, timeliness, and efficiency.

Performance and Merit

Blanche Temple reminded leaders that Performance Management reviews will continue this year, with greater focus on assessment and performance rather than merit review. The tentative timeline includes:

  • Self-Assessment,  mid-May — June
  • Manager’s Assessment, mid-June — July
  • Performance Calibration, mid-July — August
  • Performance Discussion, August 1 — September 18
  • Goal Setting, September

More information to be shared with staff next week and in the May IT Update.

John Barden stressed the importance of managers providing clarity around the connection between IT anchors and employee’s work, and the importance of having meaningful conversations that reflect on employee’s progress and accomplishments as well as opportunities for improvement.

Workplace Survey

The Senior Leadership Team has been evaluating Workplace Survey data since February, including new demographic data they requested, to better understand demographic splits and their relationship to responses. Preliminary areas of desired focus are beginning to take shape and, moving forward, John envisions that they will define agreed action items, send team-wide communications, form action teams, define goals, and establish a regular check-in cadence. As action teams are formed, the Climate, Culture, and Inclusion (CCI) team will play a major role in creating structure around these efforts. 

Ask-me-anything Session and Other Updates from John Barden

John shared that an updated budget was submitted, with decisions around limiting the number of positions IT can fill, keeping a percentage of positions vacant, and reducing project budgets. He also shared that planning committees, which have been formed to identify a plan to resume University operations, are evaluating solutions that will likely require IT engagement and that he will rely on staff to quickly support these efforts. John reiterated that IT is doing a great job with supporting the campus at this time.

Will IT be celebrating the “wins” it has made related to the Balanced Scorecard goals, or others?

There are no plans currently, but I’ll take that suggestion.

Is there a specific dollar amount targeted for savings in IT?

IT has committed to a 5% reduction, mostly driven by project reductions, eliminating merit, and saving on headcount. Additionally, we will be pulling back on contractors starting on July 1, which is required to meet our budget goals.

The next leadership team meeting will be held on May 27.