Links to Stories:
The Outlook Exchange Project
Why Change to Exchange?
General Security Practices
Dangers & Annoyances
September Computer Literacy Workshops
Security Begins at Home
Standards for Information Technology
What Version of Windows and Office Do You Use?
Editor-in-Chief: Kim Tracy, Executive Director of University
Managing Editor: Anna Brown, Computer Literacy Training
Please send all comments, questions, and cajoling to firstname.lastname@example.org.
University Computing Services is
currently investigating and deploying standards for our information
technology components when appropriate. The Outlook using Exchange
project is an example as described above. There are several motivations
for deploying standards across the University. The main reasons are as
Platform for other projects
we are preparing for the deployment of the University Information System
(ERP replacement) which will be easier if we have a stable, well-known
platform for everyone who will be using the new system. For example, we
will be able to leverage other Exchange features where appropriate once
we know that everyone is already using that platform.
Cost of maintenance
solutions we have for a given functionality, the more it costs to keep
those solutions up and running. For example, the more different types of
PCs and types of operating systems, the more different system images UCS
has to maintain and keep expertise available. The more regular and known
the computing environment, the easier it is to predict problems and to
fix problems before they are discovered by end users.
Related to the
cost of maintenance, is the reliability of the services and solutions
provided. That is, the ability to keep on top of updates and to deliver
enhancements to the services is greatly enhanced by having fewer
environments to worry about.
Cost of procurement
By having a
smaller set of solutions, we increase our ability to order en masse for
a solution. For example, by standardizing on Dell for PC computers, we
have been able to negotiate more substantial discounts.
Ability to scale and rapidly deploy
standard solution (or maybe a couple of options) gives the ability to
more quickly deploy that solution to other locations and other parts of
the University. For example, if we were to deploy a second e-mail
solution, that would require roughly doubling the resources needed to
support our e-mail. However, if we deploy the standard e-mail solution
to a new set of users it only requires a few additional resources to
maintain more accounts on the same system.
A key point is that there are
times when the benefits of using something other than the standardized
solution can outweigh the benefits of using the standard. Additionally,
standards tend to have a shelf life and need to evolve as well. So, UCS
will be continuing looking for the next generation of standards and
would appreciate any input you may have on how to evolve our services.
In summary, IT standards can go
a long way to helping improve NEIUís computing environment, but should
be taken in the context of providing the best possible service for NEIU.