We are once again pleased to share the University of Maine System 2021 State of IT Report for your reference. Despite ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to shift focus for this year’s report to key initiatives and projects that are future-oriented and will serve to define the central IT organization for the next several years. As the UMS IT team continues to evolve and adapt to the dynamic needs of the University community, I couldn’t be more proud of the entire staff’s creativity, flexibility, and skill, qualities I am confident you will find exemplified throughout this report.
I’d like to highlight a few projects initiated this past year that have helped establish or inform technology support strategies:
- Information Security & Compliance: To help address the ever-growing landscape of cybersecurity risks, the Information Security Office has been involved in several security assessment efforts that have helped identify and inform critical gaps, needs, and strategic directions for the University’s information security posture, including the enhancement of research data security compliance and the implementation of Multifactor Authentication (MFA) to facilitate secure access to core enterprise data systems.
- System-wide Desktop Computing Standards: A critical goal established in the UMS IT Strategic Plan is the enhanced analysis and optimization of the University’s desktop computing fleet. This goal is aimed at reducing and optimizing expenditures on desktop computing resources, including establishing a sustainable and cost-effective desktop computing refresh cycle. A key challenge for the University has been the ballooning cost associated with the support of several hundred unique desktop computing device configurations deployed across all of our campuses. Reducing and optimizing the number of devices supported across the University will help not only reduce costs for all campuses but also improve support and service delivery for those devices to benefit the entire community.
- Enhanced Network Infrastructure: Recent investments have been made to improve network infrastructure across the state over the past several years; this trend continued in 2021. The Networkmaine team has been hard at work completing a number of projects and initiatives designed to enhance and expand network access, reliability, and performance.
With an eye on the future, critical projects designed to support the University of Maine System’s Unified Accreditation initiative are currently taking flight. Two initiatives highlighted in this report that will kick off in 2022 will serve to enhance student success and promote alumni engagement across all campuses:
- Repaving MaineStreet: This initiative is designed to re-engineer our current MaineStreet environment serving all community members with a particular focus on improving student access to academic programming opportunities across the University of Maine System while enhancing usability and self-service functionality. A $16.5M investment has been made to support this initiative which will provide an opportunity to establish greater data coding consistency to help drive process efficiency and enable the University to fully leverage the core capabilities of our enterprise systems.
- Advancement CRM: This initiative will focus on the implementation of a fully-integrated constituent relationship management (CRM) platform (Ascend) designed to facilitate and foster alumni and donor engagement for all University of Maine System campuses. This tool, built upon the Salesforce platform, will provide an opportunity for Foundation and Alumni Development staff to better leverage University data and tools through an accessible, streamlined interface to support their efforts. A fully integrated outbound marketing and communications platform will serve to drive engagement across all target populations.
It should be noted that the successes realized over the past year can be directly attributable to the strong partnerships that have been established between the UMS IT team and our University colleagues across the state. Future success will undoubtedly depend on this very same foundation as we plan and work together to chart the path forward and re-envision the technology landscape necessary to support the future of the University of Maine System and the success of the students we serve.
With deep gratitude and excitement over the opportunities that lie ahead –
David M. Demers, Ph.D.
Chief Information Officer