digital transformation

Through the Digital Transformation (DX) Strategy, the Information Technology (IT) Division will collaborate to enhance and extend GVSU’s academic, research, and collegiate experience by establishing new opportunities, modern services, innovative approaches, and supporting technologies. Underpinning the DX Strategy, the IT Division's mission, vision, and values serve to provide a solid foundation, prompting the University in pioneering a "grand future".

"Our vision is to pioneer a grand future,
empowering the campus community to engage with
new opportunities facilitated by technology,
while establishing innovative models, modern services, and solutions
in support of the digital transformation of GVSU."

KEY AREAS OF STRATEGIC FOCUS

#1 - Service Excellence & Greater University Support
#2 - Modernization of Enterprise Solutions
#3 - Accelerating Transformation through Innovation

DX STRATEGY INTRODUCTION

The IT Division prepared the DX Strategy in support of GVSU’s Reach Higher 2025 Strategic Plan. Further, the strategy was endorsed by the University Technology Council on December 21, 2021.

Throughout the planning process, key observations were gathered based on executive listening sessions, interviews, focus groups, facilitated workshops, and surveys with faculty, staff, and students. Strengths and weaknesses were raised by key stakeholders, which gave rise to new opportunities to pursue, as well as identifying specific strategic objectives moving forward. These objectives were grouped into three key areas of strategic focus which provided a framework for which to establish a broad list of current digital priorities.

The following DX Strategy details innovative approaches in terms of people, processes, and technology, that will enable GVSU to differentiate itself and "reach higher" into the future.

DX DEFINITION:

"In the context of sweeping social, economic, technological, and demographic changes, digital transformation (DX) is a series of deep and coordinated culture, workforce, and technology shifts that enable new educational and operating models and transform an institution’s operations, strategic directions, and value proposition."

via EDUCAUSE

CURRENT DIGITAL PRIORITIES

pie chart with service excellence, modernization, and innovation digital priority categories

While focusing on a bright new future, the IT Division is actively working to collaborate with campus partners to facilitate the work of the DX Strategy.  As such, the current digital priorities provide a high-level list of projects as they relate to key strategic areas of focus.

The following units within the division are actively supporting the digital priorities through alignment of people, processes, and technology:

In collaboration with our campus partners, the following highlighted projects have been activated and accomplished in 2023:

Service Excellence

  • Academic Research and Computing (ARC) 
    • The ARC team has been expanded to provide better support to faculty and staff through the addition of a Research Computing Specialist.
    • A re-architecture of Clipper, the High-Performance Computing cluster, was completed with the support of the Enterprise Architecture team and faculty input and testing.
    • Apporto was implemented.
  • eLearning Technologies LMS and Digital Studios
    • The eLearning team provided services to faculty across the university through build-a-thons, office hours, departmental webinars, training, and consultations in preparation for going live. Go-live for the Blackboard Ultra LMS was completed in May 2023.
    • Digital media developers within our three Digital Studio locations worked in collaboration with faculty on a variety of faculty projects. In 2023, Digital Studios saw a 336% increase in the number of projects and consultations completed compared to the prior year.  
  • IT Services
    • Improved efficiency of IT service processes significantly increased customer satisfaction, with 89% of survey respondents indicating satisfaction. 
    • The integration of various university departments, including Public Safety Dispatch, Admissions, and University Development, to the TeamDynamix system has enhanced the autonomy of departments in managing tickets and knowledge.
    • Significant improvements in call performance metrics were observed, including a reduction in the average time for ticket resolution and initial response. Call handling efficiency improved remarkably, with a fourfold increase in calls answered, reduced average queue wait time, and a decrease in the abandoned call rate. 
  • IT Operations
    • Technology acquisitions processed and ordered nearly 2,000 technology requests of desktops & laptops, monitors, printers, software, cables/adapters, tablets, technology peripherals, and servers. The quotation and procurement process for all technology requests has been moved to the ticketing software system. A software approval process was implemented within the ticketing system. 
    • Increased campus outreach communications and connections with students, faculty, and staff to foster awareness of IT resources. Tactics included monthly newsletters, events, and social media.
    • Mass communications campaigns were created and delivered 174 mass emails to the university community. 
    • Budgets were maintained and renewed with over 100 contracts for the division and added 13 new contracts. 

Modernization of Enterprise Applications

  • Azure Data Platform - GVSU Information Technology and the Data Advisory Committee partnered with technology consulting firm, World Wide Technologies (WWT) to build a data warehouse using the Microsoft Azure platform. Implementation of the Azure Data platform has begun to establish and manage a strategic analysis and approval framework built on an adaptable, sustainable process and structure dedicated to safeguarding and preserving organization-wide data unification, definition, security, and compliance. 
  • Blackbaud' Raiser's Edge NXT - Collaboration between IT and University Development was crucial for the successful implementation and launch of Blackbaud's Raiser's Edge NXT. RE NXT streamlines fundraising efforts with efficient donor management, enabling targeted campaigns, and optimizing operations for each college and unit.
  • Data Center Modernization - Modernizing data center systems and environments remains a priority for the IT department.  As of this year, 150 servers that had been running aging, end-of-life operating systems have been upgraded.  In this project, emphasis was placed on enhancing and re-architecting Academic systems, such as HPC Clipper, RStudio, RedCap, Winlab, and specialized learning environments for Academic departments. As an additional focus, work is being carried out to improve the designs of Enterprise Systems, including Banner, Campus Printing, ERP systems, www.gvsu.edu, access controls, and security environments.
  • DocuSign - DocuSign was implemented across the university as the electronic signature solution. DocuSign streamlines the customer experience, strengthens compliance, increases efficiency, and eliminates paper-based costs. It automates workflows with electronic signatures for signing documents and provides safety and security.
  • Pathify - Pathify was selected as the vendor of choice following a thorough review of several products for a university portal solution. The university portal will serve as a central hub for students, faculty, and staff to access enterprise applications at GVSU, receive communications from campus departments, access campus resources, and serve as a hub for communities. Currently, the implementation of the solution is in progress. A soft launch of the portal is expected during the winter 2024 semester, with a full release to campus scheduled for the fall of 2024.  
  • Network Modernization - The implementation of GVSU's next-generation networks continues to progress.  A five-year plan and budget are currently being developed to enhance and improve the network services provided to the GVSU community, both on campus and remotely. Modernizing wireless authentication services and upgrading the core and edge network infrastructure were among the projects completed.
  • Information Security - Security Awareness Training, Okta Implementation, ThreatBlockr, Safe Compute, and Process Improvement Tools such as VirusTotal and HaveIBeenPwned have been deployed.
  • Workday ERP Transition - It was the goal of the Workday Project Team to transition key operational systems (finance, human resources, payroll) over from legacy platforms to Workday's more integrated and efficient ERP system, with major progress completed in 2023 and more to come in 2024. 

Accelerating Transformation through Innovation

  • AV Technology Implementation - Audio video enhancements were completed in the following areas: 
    • The Harris Family Athletic Complex, home to the Lakers' wrestling programs, and the VMA & COM renovations, which include a full theater experience with Dolby Atmos technology, showcase GVSU's commitment to providing top-tier facilities with integrated AV solutions.
    • Upgrades to the Center of Health Sciences and Traverse City Campus involve transforming traditional classrooms into Active Learning spaces, equipped with flexible furniture and technologies supporting remote learning, reflecting GVSU's dedication to modernizing educational spaces. 
    • GVSU has upgraded and is developing several Zoom Room conference rooms, event spaces, and classrooms. These spaces are equipped with software and hardware for efficient audio and video conferencing, demonstrating GVSU's focus on fostering seamless communication and collaboration across its campuses. 
  • IT Innovation and Research (I+R) - I+R facilitated a variety of initiatives, including GVSU’s research participation in the EDUCAUSE Faculty and Student Technology Experience Surveys sent to all faculty and undergrads in November, 2023. Research was also conducted on Virtual Reality (VR) with T4 scholars as part of REP4. 
    • In 2023, the Atomic Object TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE celebrated 10 years of education, technology and innovation.  Throughout the year, the Showcase attracted over 13,500 visitors and introduced more than 7 new emerging technologies. In addition, the Showcase more than doubled in size, expanding into the Exhibition Space of the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons.  This expansion allows for immersive learning experiences such as extended reality (XR), while increasing FabLab/Makerspace capabilities.
    • The X>STUDIO hosted and facilitated several innovation-based initiatives in partnership with the Office of the President, Applied Computing Institute, and Visual and Media Arts including Laker Learning Futures and Faculty Futures Team, Grand Path Project, and I+R’s Student Technology and Innovation Guilds (STING).

For a complete list of accomplishments, please view our 2023 IT Year in Review as well as our previous annual reports.

In collaboration with our campus partners, the following highlighted projects have been activated and accomplished in 2022:

Service Excellence

  • IT Service Management (ITSM) - TeamDynamix was selected and implemented, providing solutions for ticketing, knowledgebase, workflow automation, and service excellence. Workflows and knowledgebase articles were established, as well as a service portfolio and SLAs.
  • Technology Acquisition and Procurement - Updates where made to the technology acquisition process as well as operational enhancements to streamline technology purchases.

Modernization of Enterprise Applications

  • ERP Transition - A project has begun to transition from Banner to Workday for Finance, Human Resources, and Payroll. This project kicked off in 2022 and is set to be completed by January, 2024.
  • LMS SaaS - The University's enterprise learning management system was transitioned from a self-hosted, on premise installation to a cloud-based software as a service model in May, 2022. 
  • Microsoft 365 - Email and productivity applications were migrated to Microsoft 365.
  • UCaas - Zoom and Five9 Call Center was fully implemented in 2022. As GVSU's unified communication as a service (UCaas) platform, this enterprise solution provide meetings, phone, and call center capabilities.
  • CRM - Slate was deployed as GVSU's first customer relationship management (CRM) platform to assist with application management and student engagement.

Accelerating Transformation through Innovation

  • Mobile Credential - Evaluation has been facilitated in review of modernizing GVSU's student and staff ID card's to include mobile credential capabilities as well as enhanced access control, point of sale, and additional campus experience improvements. A proposal has been submitted to the Senior Leadership Team.
  • Esports - A new Laker Esports Center opened in 2022 with top-of-the-line furniture from Herman Miller and Dell Alienware gaming systems.
  • Active Learning Classrooms - Six new pilot and experimental classrooms were established with flexible furniture from Steelcase, along with advanced technologies including ceiling microphone arrays as well as video cameras which support remote learning.

For a complete list of accomplishments, please view our 2022 IT Year in Review as well as our previous annual reports.

#1 - Service Excellence & Greater University Support

In our work, digital is often the default and a people-first, service excellence approach is key. Insofar as this, faculty, staff, and students, need more IT staff support and additional technology resources. Faculty have specific technology needs related to teaching and academic research. Students require support beyond the hours of a typical workday. Faculty and students rely on greater support services as well as a rapid response when in the classroom, or when live instruction is occurring.

Additionally, as the university evolves and transforms, support is of utmost importance in the design, development and delivery of courses that: effectively implement digital resources, focus on quality course design, apply active learning in the modern context, and offer flexible delivery methods.

FOCUS AREAS

  • Enhance IT services and service excellence
  • Amplify GVSU's Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) solution, TeamDynamix (TDX) – services.gvsu.edu
  • Expand Project Management Office (PMO) services
  • Leverage eLearning Technologies instructional design, digital media, instructional technology support and services
  • Monitor disaster recovery and business continuity strategies
  • Review staffing and personnel resources, 24x7 support strategies, cross-training opportunities, scale, and build capacity

FUTURE INNOVATION and STRATEGIC INITIATIVES

  • Execute quality assurance and continuous quality improvement efforts 
  • Research opportunities in artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and chatbots

#2 - Modernization of Enterprise Solutions

Enterprise applications provide the foundation for the University's services, from delivering instruction through the classroom and online, as well as through administrative workflows and operations. Of critical importance is ensuring GVSU's applications are modern, enhance the campus experience, and likewise meet the functional needs and requirements of the community.

FOCUS AREAS

  • Implement a unified student experience by deploying Blackboard Ultra for consistency across course sites
  • Provide final grade integrations from Blackboard Ultra to Banner
  • Continue deployment and advancement of unified communications as a service (UCaas) solutions including Zoom Phone, Five9 call center, Zoom Rooms, and advanced videoconferencing solutions
  • Modernize, simplify, and standardize enterprise productivity/collaboration digital workplace software, including Microsoft and Google
  • Enhance campus network infrastructure, Wi-Fi connectivity and reliability
  • Review identity and access management (IAM), MFA, and cloud protection
  • Deploy Docusign to expand digital document signage capabilities
  • Expand and enhance data, reporting, and learning analytics resources to support student retention, success, and completion
  • Build data standards and frameworks, governance, and a centralized data warehouse/lake
  • Expand access to data for data-driven decision making 

FUTURE INNOVATION and STRATEGIC INITIATIVES

  • Review cloud and hybrid cloud investments
  • Evaluate web application firewall (WAF) solutions focusing on campus security
  • Enable mobile printing
  • Advance high performance computing and high impact research capabilities

#3 - Accelerating Transformation through Innovation

Facing technology shifts and rapid change, the discovery and exploration of emerging technologies and innovative solutions that lead to digital transformation (DX) across Information Technology at GVSU is a strategic area of focus.

FOCUS AREAS

  • Research mass text messaging and email communications platforms
  • Evaluate the repurposing of campus computer labs
  • Establish modern faculty, staff, and student campus IDs and digital mobile credential capabilities, including cashless point of sale transactions, door access control, vending, etc.
  • Increase exploration of emerging technologies, extended reality (XR), Metaverse, mixed media, and digital fabrication
  • Explore digital skills and digital literacy advancement, open educational resources, and mixed media/digital production opportunities
  • Establish the next generation classroom, advance active learning, and implement hybrid teaching, learning, and flexible meeting spaces
  • Establish an enterprise, unified portal solution to provide a seamless user experience, streamline authentication through single sign-on, cut through the clutter of communication, and consolidate access to applications 
  • Support department/unit specific software

FUTURE INNOVATION and STRATEGIC INITIATIVES

  • Expand customer relationship management (CRM) solution (Slate)
  • Accelerate forward-thinking innovations, cutting-edge technologies, and increase proof of concept experimentation

DX STRATEGY SUMMARY

Throughout our Digital Transformation Strategy, coupled with the Information Technology Division's IT Strategy, a vision is cast of an exciting and vibrant future. A future, whereby GVSU’s academic, research, and collegiate experience is elevated through new opportunities and innovative approaches bringing forth an institution that is ready to "Reach Higher" into 2025 and beyond.

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Page last modified February 16, 2024