Office of Information Technology March Newsletter 2020

Office of Information Technology March Newsletter 2020


It's an exciting time to be in IT at UVU!  Our new Vice President of Digital Transformation / CIO, Kelly Flanagan, will begin work at UVU on March 16. At the time I am writing this, we don't yet know how IT's  strategic priorities or organizational structure might (or might not) change.  I suspect changes will be implemented a few weeks or months after Kelly comes onboard, but don't hold me to that!  One thing is certain: change is coming to UVU, and we in IT will have a front-row seat in helping the University to embrace the efficiencies that technology can enable. 


Within this newsletter, I have provided two additional articles that I invite you to read.  The first is about the IdeaFest Contest from last year. There were setbacks that kept us from reporting back to you on this earlier, but at last, a winner has been selected!  The second article answers a question I am frequently asked about: Where are we going with ITSM/POB/JIRA? This one is long, but important!  Check both articles out, and let me know (via email or Teams) your thoughts on what I've said. 


With almost two months as the Interim AVP under my belt now, I can say without a doubt that everyone I work with in IT is undeniably dedicated to making technology work for the students, faculty, and staff of UVU. It has been a rewarding experience to spend time with each of you, to get to know you better, and to see how hard and smart you work.  Thank you! 

Brett McKeachnie
Interim Associate Vice President of IT



Have you seen a UVU staff member offering exceptional service or giving an exemplary performance? Remember to nominate them for the Wolverine Sighting Employee Recognition Award! 

Wolverine Sighting Submission



A sun rising over a mountain.

Daylight Savings 

Remember that Daylight Saving Time in Utah will begin at 2:00 AM on Sunday, March 8. On Saturday night, set your clocks forward one hour (i.e., losing one hour) to “spring ahead.”  

The New CIO Arrives 

Monday, March 16 is a momentous day.  Dr. J. Kelly Flanagan will be coming to campus to assume his role as CIO. While we are all very excited and Dr. Flanagan is eager to meet everyone, the onboarding committee is being very protective of his time for the first few weeks. To avoid overwhelming our new CIO, we ask that everyone in IT give Dr. Flanagan the adequate time and space to fully settle into his position.  

St. Patrick's Day 

Break out the corned beef, cabbage, and your best green clothes, because it's St. Patrick's Day! If you're interested about the origins of this international holiday and how it came to be so popular in the United States, check out this handy article

UVU Spring Break 

Friday, March 20 is a staff holiday due to Spring Break. Enjoy your day off! 



  1. As of February 14, Slack is no longer a paid instance for UVU IT. Please be sure to complete any final exporting of data or transfer of functions to Teams. Make Teams your own and embrace it. Teams is a versatile tool with few restrictions. Use it to organically adapt and innovate effective ways of communicating and accomplishing tasks.  



A closeup of a circuit board.

Center for Student Computing

We are happy to announce that we have a new LabFind app for students which is now up and running. Students can log into the app and it will tell them where lab computers are available on campus. Anyone can go to the app store and download it for free.  We hope this will be a useful resource for everyone on campus. 

In addition, we have more good news. We have worked really closely with the security team and we believe we found a solution for our network drops. Thank you to everyone who assisted in this effort! 

Kim Leseberg  
Director of Technology Support Services

Automation and Integration Services 

Recently, we finished a project for the College of Engineering and Technology. They have a machine shop with CNC machines. The problem was that people had to go through special training to use them, and scheduling time to train was a complicated and inefficient process. 

To help solve this problem, we wrote a system to track who has been trained, what machines are available, how effective trainings are, and more. To build this system, instead of writing everything from scratch, we integrated existing projects (Que, Appointments, and Qualtrics). We are excited about this accomplishment! 

Mike Duffin
Director of Automation and Integration Services 

IT Operations

Operations is working on some new processes that we hope will help us improve communications when there are incidents.  We are also very close to a new outages page/dashboard that rolls the change calendar, monitoring alerts, and current incident communications onto one screen.  Most of our tools, processes, and dashboards can be accessed via This site is for UVU IT staff only and requires authentication. 

Jim Condie
Director of IT Operations


IdeaFest Results

A group of lightbulbs.

 Almost a year ago, OIT rolled out a contest called IdeaFest. The goal of the contest was to encourage IT staff to submit an "idea for something that IT could do to benefit UVU or an area/department within UVU." We hoped that these ideas would focus on improving "cost savings, communications, quality, productivity, process improvements, revenue-generation, services, and morale-enhancement," and we were not disappointed! 

Eleven submissions were received and evaluated. Unfortunately, due to situations beyond our control, the process of selecting ideas was delayed. For the sake of expediency, OIT altered  the method of selection that was initially described in the contest. While some individuals might feel unhappy with the ideas selected and the method of selection, we are striving to make the best of the situation and we ask for your patience, forgiveness, and cooperation in making the IdeaFest a successful initiative.  

Although it has taken a long time to provide the results of that contest, we are happy to announce that three ideas were selected and the process of implementing these ideas has commenced! 

The first one selected, and the grand prize of $200, goes to Dallen Morris for his idea to improve the password reset process and tool for the Service Desk.  Work on this project has already begun, resulting in a simpler, faster process to help people reset their passwords.  Congratulations Dallen!  Thanks for your ideas! 

The second and third place ideas were submitted anonymously.  One of them deals with IT Customer Communications Plan, and the other deals with Quiet Time/Deep Work. Be on the lookout for announcements and projects for these ideas in the future!

We apologize that the finalists of this contest took so long to announce, but we are grateful to everyone that participated in IdeaFest! 


Project and Task and Work Management, Oh My!

A person planning and organizing.

POB, Jira, and a number of other tools have been a constant source of discussion at UVU and especially in IT.  These ITSM (IT Service Management) tools are meant to help us be more efficient in our work.  While discussions about these topics are urgent, there has been a great dearth of official information concerning IT's direction and expectations when it comes to managing tasks, projects, service requests, or any other type of work. In this article, I hope to provide a bit of clarification, a bit of vision, and a bit of hope.

The truth is that within IT, there are disparate needs.  In some cases, people are interested in simple ticketing systems to keep track of requests. In other cases, people are looking for ways to organize their personal work, or work for their team. In still other cases, people want the ability to collaborate and share knowledge between teams, assign tasks to others within or outside our teams, and escalate items between tiers of support. And beyond that, management wants to report on IT's progress and to monitor workloads and important projects. 

Needless to say, everybody seems to have a different idea about what would be ideal. 

Almost a year ago, the CIO and Sr. Directors determined that we needed to find a new way forward. It was decided that POB was eventually going to have to be replaced. In April of 2019, Ken Dahl was tasked with building a group charged with investigating IT's needs for an ITSM system and developing an RFP for the solution we would adopt. Ken and his group did a thorough job of looking at IT's processes, comparing them to industry standards, and developing ideas to help us move forward.  They are now preparing to review all of that information with the IT Leadership team so that concrete steps can be taken to prepare our path forward. 

It has been said that when you buy a system, you buy the processes built into the system. While that's true, there's always room for some configuration. With any solution we put together, we'll have to configure it. Some people think we need to buy one system that meets everyone's needs. Others think that we should integrate multiple systems together so everyone gets a system that works the best in their environment. Unfortunately, no matter what solution we design, the configuration and the integration will require someone to do that work, and we have historically been short on the resources to do it. We've also been short on a unified vision of how it should work and be put together.  With our current effort, we want to first build the vision, then provide the resources to accomplish it with the goal that what we create will be a better solution than anything we've had in the past.

As I've thought about IT and about a solution to this particular "ITSM" problem over the last few weeks, I've been mulling over an African proverb: "To go fast, go alone. To go far, go together." This quote brings meaningful images to my mind's eye that declare its truth for Africans of long ago. It also brings to my mind the situation we are in with IT and our processes.

Any one of us could go out and select a system to meet our own needs, or the needs of our team.  We'd build something that would work for just us, and it would be very quick.  However, that one system will not take us very far before we realize something critical is missing: coordination and collaboration with other departments and tiers of support.  If we want to build something that will take us to the true end goal of meeting the diverse needs of IT and the University, we must come together.  That may mean none of us gets a quick solution; however, it also means that when we do build our solution, we will go far with it.

You may have noticed I said "build our solution." I want to be very clear here: A SYSTEM IS NOT A SOLUTION. A solution includes much, much more than just technology. A solution requires a combination of processes, people, and technology. To create a successful solution, all of those processes, people, and technology coming together must be flexible enough to meet the diverse needs of IT, and our customers. In a solution that will take us far together, our processes cannot be 100% automated, otherwise they won't allow the flexibility we need.  Our solution can really only automate specific, repetitive, universal steps that will save time for everyone.  That means that some parts of our solution will have to be manual or will have to diverge into different processes.  These are the parts that aren't universal, that are unique to each of our teams and how we work. When those parts of our processes are complete, however, the paths need to converge again, to resume the "go far together" path. 

Our solution will require a lot of time and work to put together. Not everyone will get everything they want.  We're too diverse for a single, universal system to meet every need and every demand.  It's also unlikely that a single system will work for everyone as a “the” technology component of the solution. We all have to work together, so for both cost and simplicity reasons, we have to limit the number of technology components.

Can we live with a limited set of good tools?  I believe we can. And in the meantime, we have work to do, customers to serve, and projects to complete.

For the time being, improvements have been made to POB. These improvements include a new web interface and implementation of a process agreed to by all IT Leadership. I hope those of you who use POB will try it out; it can make your job easier.  While we won't be making any major improvements to POB in the future, we will fix problems and improve performance, so if you happen to encounter a problem, please report it! POB will continue to be the intake and reporting mechanism for those areas currently using it with Jira to manage their work.  In other words, we are not changing things that are currently in place, and we are entering a period of stability.  Stick with us!

Is there any hope for the future? Yes! By leveraging the work that Ken's group has done and taking it to the next level, we will design and build our solution. Funding has been requested in PBA to pay for that solution.  We have a new VP who may provide some additional vision, prioritization, and structure.  We have a lot to look forward to! 


CHARACTER THOUGHT: Availability vs. Self-Centeredness

Making the needs and requests of others a priority over my own schedule and priorities.  Our lives are always filled with joy when we serve others.  Giving of our time and talents is one of the greatest gift you can give someone.

Eddie Sorensen 
Senior Director of Infrastructure Services


CHARACTER THOUGHT: Optimism and Change

Don’t be afraid of what could go wrong; start being excited about what can go right. With all the changes coming, that is something we should all keep in mind.

Mike Duffin
Senior Director of Automation and Integration Services



A conference room in grayscale.

March Birthdays

Remember to wish the following individuals a happy birthday this month: 

  • Maddie Bertoch
  • Carynn Nosack
  • Connor Squire
  • Johnny Casper
  • Brendon King
  • Daniel Huyck
  • Jarad Matau
  • Geoff Osborn
  • Daniel Lewis
  • Joshua Matau
  • Jermey Mecham
  • Dallas Hawkins
  • Tanner Dearden
  • Michael Alder
  • Robert Johnson
  • Chase Adams
  • Jess Houston
  • Romney Davies
  • Travis Tasker
  • James Slade
  • Riley Gardiner
  • Joshua Lenhart

Check the break room calendar (BA005R) for exact birthday dates.

New Employees

The following individuals have been recently hired by OIT, transferred to a new department, or given a promotion. Be sure to give them a warm welcome.

    • Sam Raff, Lab Assistant

    • Marshall Chamberlain, IT Financial Controller 

Open Job Positions

The following positions in IT need to be filled. If you know of any individuals who might be a good fit, be sure to send them the link and recommend them to the appropriate department.

Is there an opening in your division or department that needs to be filled? Get the word out by submitting it to Caitlin Tobler for next month’s newsletter.