Open Forum Notes - Spring 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

Walker Library, Conference Room 475

IT Open Forum Notes
Walker Library, Conference Room 475
Monday, February 24, 2014

Argos Dashboards and Reports

Following opening remarks from Vice President and Chief Information Officer Bruce Petryshak, Assistant Vice President Lisa Rogers provided an update on the ongoing Argos Dashboard project. Argos is an enterprise reporting solution that can be used to connect to the Banner database or what the BlueInfo data warehouse views now as the M: drive.

Argos allows for timely and informed data-driven decision-making and meets MTSU's various reporting needs. While Argos provides static reports, it also offers advanced features such as graphics, OLAP (On-Line Analytical Processing) cubes, dynamic controls, interactive charts and graphs with "drill down" capabilities that can be used in dashboards, and more. While Argos reports can be run at any time, they can also be scheduled to operate on specific days and times and distributed to whomever should receive the reports.

Rogers noted that ITD is working with the vendor to develop a retention dashboard that looks at all pieces of data regarding students and transforming it into a dynamic spreadsheet that allows users to move and rearrange columns and rows of information as needed.

In addition, Rogers said ITD is developing reports that examine student success initiatives that enable users to go back and look at student-related data from previous semesters and compare it to the statistics from redesigned courses to determine if students are improving.

In addition, those who have access to the M: drive reporting environment will soon be able to use the Argos general campus area as well, Rogers added. Users with M: drive access will be added to the Argos system, allowing anyone using general campus reports to run general campus reports in Argos.

Rogers noted that this was an ambitious project that will be an ongoing endeavor. Workshops will eventually be scheduled to acclimate users to the new system as it becomes available.

CRM Update

Rogers also briefed attendees on the current status of the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. The CRM project is an initiative that allows the University to maintain an up-to-date dialogue regarding all touch points with students and is a component of the MT One Stop initiative. The CRM, which will interface with Banner, will be used by MT One Stop counselors, along with academic advisors, faculty, and staff, to collect and record data pertaining to interactions with students. The cached information will be stored on a secured database.

Rogers noted that the University is taking an active look to obtain other programs that offer predictive analytic components as well.

When asked when the CRM would be made available, Rogers said the final product has a target date for spring 2014, but additional components could be incorporated during the summer.

Petryshak added that the campus environment has changed significantly during the course of the last 18 months, so ITD is currently reevaluating the CRM to ensure that the University has the right product in place to meet the campus's needs.


Rogers announced that the University is planning to replace the degree evaluation component of RaiderNet. DegreeWorks is an academic advising and degree audit tool that assists advisors and students track their degree programs in real-time.

Rogers said a vendor recently demonstrated the DegreeWorks product for department chairs and deans and had received favorable reviews. As the University re-evaluates its CRM, however, Rogers noted that DegreeWorks will most likely be tabled. If MTSU pursues a GPS-type product in terms of assisting at-risk students by helping them identify problem areas, that actually could be more beneficial for the campus, she said.

Print Management Update

Communication Support Services Director Robin Jones briefed the forum on the latest developments of the ongoing print management project. Jones said she has been making office visits for the past two and a half months in preparation for the project.

The University recently embarked on a managed print solution in order to provide more efficient copying and printing services. A contract was awarded to the RJ Young Company based on the company's technical and cost proposals that were submitted during the request for proposal (RFP) process. MTSU currently owns or leases all printers and copiers on campus. In the future, the University will view printing and copying as a service. To the participants of this program, this means that there will be no leases, no purchases, no buying of printing or copying supplies. The RJ Young Company will provide an all-inclusive acquisition and service solution for MTSU's printing and copying equipment and maintain the fleet and associated services as an integral element of the University's educational and academic mission.

Jones said there are approximately 15 offices remaining to be visited, mainly in the Athletic Department. Jones noted that new printers are being tested in the basement of the Cope Administration Building. With an exception of a minor setback regarding guest printing (which has since been resolved), testing has gone well, Jones said. The new printers will be installed in the Walker Library on March 10, and then the project will focus on student printing and quotas. Jones said the project's first major rollout will occur in the new Student Services Center on March 6. In addition, she reported that each area on campus will receive recommendations for the installation of new printers. Jones added that the pace of the project will accelerate once the new machines arrive.

Help Desk Update

In addition to the Print Management project, Jones also updated the forum on the current status of the IT Help Desk. The Help Desk was originally slated to relocate to KUC 320 last fall, but the endeavor experienced a series of delays. Now that most of the issues have been resolved, Jones hopes that the Help Desk will move to its new location by the end of the 2014 spring semester.

Jones also provided some information about software licensing for the University. She informed attendees that she would be happy to research any requests for software that multiple parties may be interested in in order to drive down the price to a more affordable rate. Assistant Vice President Barbara Draude reminded the forum to visit the website to view a complete list of the available software. She also explained the difference between campus licenses and site licenses. A campus software license is something that the University pays for such as D2L, whereas a site software license requires a department to purchase it.

Website Update

Draude updated attendees on the current status of the University's newly designed website. The project's inaugural phase was focused on undergraduate programs and was launched back in the fall. The Web development team is moving forward with updating the graduate program pages so that they are consistent with the undergrad Web pages. Draude noted that as the project moves forward the first priority will be updating all the informational pages involving MT One Stop due to a March deadline. Draude reminded those in attendance that they can go ahead and make necessary edits to their respective departmental Web pages if there are changes in verbiage, but if there are any major changes that need to be done they should contact the Web team first so that the pages retain a sense of consistency.

Additional Items

Before adjournment, Petryshak responded to an inquiry regarding WiFi access in the KUC basement. He noted that the WiFi signal strength has been enhanced in the basement area but not in the rest of the building as of yet. He also pointed out that wireless computer signals shouldn't be confused with wireless phone signals because they are two entirely different entities.

In addition, Petryshak announced that any expenses stemming from student printing labs will soon be going away due to the Print Management project as all expenses associated with student printing labs will be covered by the plan.