Enterprise-Class System Technology Services and Support

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) supports the University of Minnesota’s enterprise technology systems.
The term “Enterprise” in the context of this document, is defined as a technology service that:  
•    applies to the entire institution, 
•    is used by - and/or serves - everyone,
•    the University depends on to conduct its mission (its day-to-day business activities). 

Through this definition, the technology service may be referred to as ‘mission-critical’. University systems that meet this definition/criteria are managed to a level of discipline that is often referred to as ‘enterprise-class’.
Enterprise-class technology services are supported through two primary categorical sets of activities:  those that are customer facing and those that are operational – or focused on providing the infrastructure.  Customer-facing activities are generally very visible and apparent while operational activities are generally unseen to the end user as they are focused on infrastructure.

OIT-managed enterprise-class services can be described in terms of two service categories: end-to-end solutions and point solutions.  A description of these service solutions appears at the end of this document.

This document is intended to help the reader understand OIT’s approach to managing the institution’s enterprise-class end-to-end and point-solution technology services and the framework under-which they are supported.  The relationship between enterprise-class technology services and the University’s Common-Good technology services is discussed later in this document.
Enterprise-Class Customer-Facing Activities

Functional business units perform customer-facing activities when technology services facilitate the institution’s official management function business processes (i.e. payroll, purchasing transactions, and student registration).  OIT performs customer-facing activities when technology services represent point solutions (i.e.: e-mail, calendar, video conferencing, …etc).  These customer-facing activities generally include:

Help-Desk.  End-user support that is focused on the ease and appropriate use of the technology service for which it is intended.

Service Delivery.  Processes that support the provisioning or the distributing the technology service for use.  These processes may or may not be automated.

Consultation.  Activities that determine the extent to which the technology service can meet the customer need - and how it might be used to best suit the expressed needs.

Analysis.  Activities that include evaluating (business) processes and determining the optimal approach to streamline and make efficient those processes through the use of the technology service.

Additional general administrative overhead is also included as part of enterprise-class customer-facing activities.

Enterprise-Class System Infrastructure / Operational Technology Support Activities.

OIT performs infrastructure and operation activities in support of systems that provide enterprise-class technology services to the institution.  These activities generally include:

Hardware life-cycle replacement and maintenance.  Keeping servers, storage, and other physical equipment operable and able to support software application.  Lifecycle replacement generally includes capitalization of hardware, depreciating it over an acceptable period of time, and ‘refreshing’ the equipment at a certain point in time.

Software lifecycle licensing and maintenance.  Ensuring that software is current with licensing requirements, updated, patched and reviewed for inefficiencies where possible.  In addition to the initial purchase price, annual software license fees typically apply. 

Core application integration.  Enabling software services to ‘work’ with other software services.  (i.e.: authentication, interaction with other enterprise software applications)

Software configuration and development.   Making the software behave according to the functional/business process specifications or requirements.  Creating new capabilities that are not included in the existing software application.

Security/Assurance/Compliance.  Creating safeguards that mitigate unauthorized access to systems and system data, and specific activities that keep the system in compliance with policy and law.

Back-Up and Recovery.  The process of incrementally capturing changes to systems and keeping that information/data for restoration in the event of lost or corrupted data.  Hardware (storage) and software tools are needed to support this function.

Disaster Recovery.  A plan that enables the recovery of a system in the event of an outage.

Effort.  The labor associated with the activities described here.  Effort, may on occasion, differ based on the uniqueness of systems/services supported by OIT.

Additional general administrative overhead such as data center space, management, et. al. are also included as part of infrastructure / operational support.

Enterprise-Class Technology Support as it Applies to the Common Good

A ‘Common Good’ technology service is defined as an enterprise-class technology service that is funded centrally or through the University’s budget allocation model.

Common Good Enterprise-Class Technologies as End-to-End or Point Solutions
OIT-managed enterprise-class services can be described in terms of two technical service categories:  end-to-end solutions and point solutions.  These are defined as follows:

•    End-to-End Solution: a technology service (system) of which the functional/business owner controls the purpose and outcome.  Examples of end-to-end technology service solutions at the University of Minnesota are student registration, payroll, and purchasing transactions.

•    Point Solution: a technology service (system) of which the end user controls the purpose and outcome.  Examples of point technology service solutions are e-mail, calendar, video conferencing, and imaging.

The majority of the University’s Common-Good services represent ‘point-solutions’.