All posts by Amy Blake

Web Developer for Michigan Tech Information Technology Services

Improvements coming to Multidrive

Michigan Tech IT is working to bring improvements to the campus MultiDrive (M:) storage system. The new MultiDrive DFS system replaces an aging infrastructure that has been in use for the last few years. Several areas on campus have been using the new system as part of a staged roll-out. IT will be changing the remainder of campus workstations to connect to the new system on Wednesday, June 7.

There is no required action or change in behavior for standard, on-domain workstations. The new MultiDrive DFS system will connect to M: upon login. Note that the Admin domain is not affected by this change.

Mac users

Mac users with the self service app can log into self service and download the Multidrive app from the Core Applications tab. Mac users without the self service app can connect using the MacOS instructions.

As part of this change, the “Mac multidrive mounter” utility is being deprecated and will stop working at a future date.

Connecting remotely

Instructions are also available for connecting to the new MultiDrive DFS system from off campus or from a wifi connection. Instructions are here: Windows instructions or MacOS instructions.

If you have any questions about the new Multidrive system, please contact IT help at 906-487-1111 or it-help@mtu.edu.


Michigan Tech Campus Telephone System Upgrade

Michigan Tech will be undergoing a major upgrade to the campus telephone system. This project will upgrade the aging telephone system and will include new features to unify communications throughout the university.

As part of the upgrade process, changes to the telephone system cannot be made after April 14, 2017. Changes include: New voicemail boxes, voicemail-to-email setup, caller-ID changes, and phone layout changes. Emergency changes can be made, but will need to be re-done once the new system is live.

The new system is being built and configured in parallel to our current system to minimize impact to campus operations. Many of the upgrades will take place behind the scenes and will not have a direct impact on users. On Friday, May 5, 2017 through Sunday, May 7, 2017, IT will migrate all campus phones to the new system. There will be intermittent interruptions to the following services:

  • Campus Voice Mail
  • Telephones
  • Call Centers
  • Inbound/Outbound Calling

The majority of the migration will be performed on Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 8:00 am through Sunday May 7, 2017 at midnight. There may be intermittent disruption to inbound/outbound calls during this time. The upgrade is expected to be completed by Monday May 8, 2017 at 8:00 am.

Campus voicemail system will be moved to a new system. The old voicemail system will be kept up and running for 15 days after switching to the new system, allowing for access to stored information. After this 15 day period, the old voicemail system will be decommissioned and access to any information on that system will be permanently lost. Questions and concerns can be addressed to it-help@mtu.edu or 487-1111.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What happens if someone calls me during the upgrade process?
A: During the upgrade window from Friday, May 5, 2017 through Monday May 8, 2017, calls may go straight to voicemail or callers may receive a busy tone. There will be intermittent interruption to calls in and out of the Houghton campus and MTRI throughout this window as well.

Q: Do I need to reconfigure my voicemail?
A: No, your current greetings and settings will be migrated to the new system. If your voicemail goes to E-Mail now, it will continue to do so on the new system. The old voicemail system will be kept up and running for 15 days after switching to the new system, allowing for access to this information. After 15 days the old voicemail system will be decommissioned and access to any information on that system will be permanently lost.

Q: What happens to my saved voicemail messages?
A: Voicemail messages stored on the system before March 28, 2017 will be migrated to the new system. Voicemail stored on the system after March 28, 2017 will be available for fifteen (15) days after cutover to the new system allowing for access to this information. After fifteen (15) days the old voicemail system will be decommissioned and access to any information on that system will be permanently lost.

Q: How do I access voicemail messages from off campus?
A: Dial your number. When your greeting begins to play, press * and your passcode.

Q: What are the differences I might notice between the old and the new system?
A: The initial upgrades should be transparent to the end users. New features will be made available in the future as they are configured and fully tested.

Q: Who can I call if I need assistance during the migration process?
A: Please contact the IT Help Desk at 487-1111.

Q: What if I have problems with my phone/voicemail after the upgrade?
A: Please contact the IT Help Desk at 487-1111.



IT to eliminate most monthly Telcom bills

The Executive Team and the IT Governance Committee have approved a proposal to eliminate most monthly bills for network and voice services, beginning July 1, 2015.

The chargeback billing model is an antiquated system that most universities have abandoned. It was appropriate during the 1990’s, due to explosive growth of network connections and the internet, but has long since outlived its usefulness.

To recover the necessary revenue, most departments will have their general fund budgets reduced by the amount that they paid in Telcom charges in Fiscal Year 2014. Some Auxiliary and Research units will continue to be billed, but not on a per-jack or per-phone basis.

New network connections will be allowed, with only a nominal $50 activation fee, plus any needed parts or student labor costs if a jack requires an upgrade.

New phone lines will be allowed, but the department will pay the actual cost of the telephones, along with the nominal activation fee and any necessary parts or student labor if the jack requires an upgrade.

There will be no recurring monthly fees for any network connections or telephones. IT will continue to charge monthly fees for Cable TV and security cameras.

The proposal, which contains all the details, is available at http://www.it.mtu.edu/OIT/documents/telcom_funding_approved.pdf.

Contact CIO Walt Milligan at milligan@mtu.edu for further information.


Lean IT at Michigan Tech

Lean principles are generally well established and have been applied to manufacturing for quite some time. The idea is simple: identify and eliminate areas of waste that lead to poor service for customers. Within Michigan Tech IT, we’ve begun to apply those principles to our work. Though the changes are small, they’ve made a large impact in how we do daily business, and they’re sparking a cultural change within our organization.

Group-ups

The Services Team is using daily Group-up meetings to increase awareness among staff and solve problems. “Our morning huddle brings everyone together for 15 minutes to discuss what is most important, most time-sensitive, and most technically problematic,” says David Kent, IT Services Director. One of the main objectives of the meetings is to help each other solve problems or help with time-sensitive commitments. “Threats to projects and deadlines are identified quickly, and often resolved on the spot, because the entire team is present,” says Kent.

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The morning huddle fosters a more efficient and open, collaborative attitude within the team. “Since we’ve started having the group-ups, our ticket count has decreased significantly, and we’re continuing to set record lows on a regular basis.  Everything that is important to our group is on the whiteboard for all to see, and each member is able to make updates as needed.  We definitely accomplish more with less because we focus on what is on the board.”

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Project Board (Cadence Board)

For the past month, the Enterprise Application Services group has been using a Cadence Board for their Web Focus Project. The low-tech and flexible visualization tool giving visibility to the current workflow and progress and informs the team of each other’s work progress. The board displays planned work, unplanned work, high level milestones, a parking lot (for future items) and a rolling two-week work plan. The team meets three times a week for status updates and discussion.

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“The board helps us keep the project moving and more easily keep track of its different elements,” says Emmett Golde, EAS Director. “It’s increased communication between team members, and because it’s so visual, you can immediately see who’s doing what and where they’re at in a particular process. Tasks are shown in small enough pieces so that we can see where the workload is distributed. It shows us if a particular team member is overloaded.”

Process Mapping for a Kaizen Event

When Ashley Sudderth, Chief Information Compliance Officer, met with the Office of Continuous Improvement on March 23, it was to discuss IT’s Procurement and Deployment process for new machines. “It was an area that generated a lot of help desk tickets and was one we knew needed improvement,” said Ashley. “We met with the Office and completed a process map of the P&D process. They helped us examine the process for where we could benefit from a Kaizen event… and we chose the service desk workflow for task management.”

Through the mapping process other small changes were identified that had a big impact in addition to the Kaizen event. “It’s been very helpful to have outside input from actual customers who also understand the Lean Process,” said Angie Hebert, Sr. Help Desk Consultant, a member of the process mapping team. “One of the things customers were unsure of was what software would be included on their machines at delivery. We took that feedback and set up a web page that gives them a full list of what software they will receive as a standard installation. It was just one of the things that we might not have considered had we not gone through this process.”

One of the deliverables: a new computer checklist which now accompanies each new deployment.
One of the deliverables produced as a result of process mapping: a computer checklist which now accompanies each new deployment.

Though the team is still in the process mapping stage, they’ve already we’ve seen major benefits. “Our team members have an increased knowledge of the parts and pieces in the deployment process from procurement to the actual builds,” says Hebert. “We’ve seen more care and diligence in work, resulting in faster, better builds in deployment.”

Josh Olson, Chief Technology Officer, is embracing the shift to Lean IT. “As an organization, we want to be open to change in our processes and methods and commit to continuous and ongoing improvement,” he says. “Since we’ve started incorporating Lean thinking into our daily work, we’ve seen measurable improvement. The culture is changing. We’re changing. Lean IT is improving the way we provide services to our customers.”


September I.T. Update

Michigan Tech I.T. would like to update you on the latest news:

  • Have you been to the new Active Learning Center (ALC)? “The Fish Bowl” in the MEEM was completely remodeled and is now a 72-seat, collaboration-friendly, reservable classroom. When class is not in session, it is available as an open computing lab. More information, including the room schedule, is at http://it.mtu.edu/computer-labs.
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  • The wireless connectivity in the residence halls was completely upgraded this summer with approximately 700 new access points installed throughout Wadsworth, McNair, and Douglass Houghton Halls and Hillside Place. More information on the project is at: http://www.it.mtu.edu/wireless-project-status.
  • Our wireless lounges were updated this summer with new furniture and more collaboration-friendly spaces. Find the lounge list at: http://it.mtu.edu/computer-labs.wireless
  • The next Open Student I.T. Forum will be on October 21, 2014 from 6:00pm-8:00pm in the Memorial Union Ballroom A1. Pizza will be served; please RSVP to the Facebook event page.
    it forum oct 2014

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