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February 2020

From the AITS Time Capsule: 1996

In the summer of 1996, AITS was able to configure the upgrades of 15 comupters in a record 30 minutes. At this time, the hard drives of these machines had far less memory than the iPhone that's in your pocket today!

What's New?

Recognizing AITS Employees

If you'd like to recognize a colleague for doing great work, use our High Fives & Fist Bumps tool! Recognition from our customers can be submitted to our Recognition Team at aitsrecognitionprgm@uillinois.edu. Think that someone you work with is beyond excellent? Take it one step further and nominate them for the AITS Excellence Award!

High Fives & Fist Bumps
"A big thanks to Pete Herrig, Julia Strode and Mark Mesplay for working on New Year's Eve day to help update the uAchieve database account password.  Appreciate you all working on a holiday to help serve our customers!"

-Recognized by Dave Wells
"Tadi Kumar and Chuck Schultz tuned a problematic finance batch job which was running long. The resulting efforts reduced runtime from 53 minutes to 6 minutes, making the finance crew very happy."

-Recognized by Chris Newman

"Due to a busy schedule and lots of updates being made to the PMO PM Key Concepts training, the request to print the training material handouts was delayed until the afternoon of the day before the training.  Even though I had advised if the AFM team didn't have time to print the job, I could do it, AFM quickly got on the job.  Student Adam Frerichs and Marie Buckhanon found some issues in my print job and when I stopped by to check on the job late in the day, they were working feverishly to get it done!  They both stayed after 5pm with me to make sure I had what I needed to complete our training the next day.  On behalf of the PMO I want to express my thanks and gratitude for these employees that go above and beyond every day to make sure we are all successful!  GREAT JOB guys!  Thanks a million!"

-Recognized by Tanya Williamson

TAM Team Recognition Program

AITS's Technical Application Management (TAM) leadership members have initiated a recognition program within in their 76-person team! This program was developed to recognize team members for the hard work that is done day-in and day-out. Each month, two team members will be recognized as the TAM Employees of the Month for their excellence in tasks, projects, and daily work!

TAM Employees of the Month - December

Pete Bossert:  Financial Aid has been experiencing an extreme amount of pressure to hit deliverable timelines. UIS has lost their Financial Aid office leaders while the state has mandated 2020 deliverables required for the offices. Pete has done an extraordinary job of moving the team towards successful delivery of all of the objectives. He has continued to work with each of the campus offices to deliver the precise needs, while working in extra objectives to move UIS towards successful preparation of their Financial Aid deliverables without any formal UIS leadership/guidance. Pete has remained calm, cool and collected throughout each new requirement announcement and has dealt with the objectives in a highly prioritized fashion guiding the Campuses and our technical pursuits. He puts in the extra time required without any negativity and he is highly respected among the Campuses for the leadership and expertise that he displays continually.

Rich Gegg:  Since August 2019, Rich has been managing a BDM/Xtender issue that has been incredibly elusive to track down. He has spent countless hours on this issue babysitting the system, analyzing, and troubleshooting. He has managed and communicated with the client base and leadership, mediated and pushed two separate vendors for assistance, chased down countless "leads", involved and informed other teams, all in an effort to resolve the issue and service the client base as he always does. He has worked overtime and has babysat the system at all times so that when users start having issues, he can get them back up and running as soon as possible. And over the last two weeks he has provided that level of service while also working to get an upgraded/more current version of BDM installed at the vendor's direction. This has been a very trying period for Rich and he has tirelessly gone above and beyond in his support of the application, AITS, and his client base. He has been a calm and steady influence during this trying episode, and exhibited extreme patience while managing resolution and expectations.

TAM Employees of the Month - January

Russ Chalfant, Dave Kittell and Dave Stone (TAM HR sub-team):  Dave Stone, Dave Kittell and Russ Chalfant have been managing the complex and time sensitive HR/Payroll regulatory year end projects. They have worked seamlessly together to successfully complete the multiple federally mandated tax changes which required analysis to properly configure Banner as well as a complex new W-4 implementation, modifications to 1095-C tax files, processing minimum wage for the University as well as a specific minimum wage for Housing. They worked through Tax Navigation deduction errors related to the 2020 Form W-4 with incorrect deductions being loaded into Banner, identifying the issue, creating scripts to clean up the data and creating reports for UPB to manually clean up issues on an on-going basis until Tax Navigator resolves their issues. They identified and wrote reports for HRFE deduction errors related to 2020 Form W-4. In addition to these items they also worked through analysis of Parking Tax Repeal that identifies the impact, additional costs/work-involved and timelines. They completed Banner year end release updates and finished the analysis of Box 12DD for tax reporting. These tasks are complicated and time sensitive and were only completed through their efficiency, professionalism and outstanding teamwork. They worked tirelessly for the timely completion of these tasks ensuring the University is compliant in tax regulations and experienced no disruption or delay of services.

Andrew Tefft: The START myResearch Team has been working to upgrade myProposals (Kuali Coeus) since August and the new version went live on Thursday, January 16th. Andrew acted as the lead for the upgrade. Kuali Co does not do a good job of detailing out the features in each upgrade so Andrew researched all of the change logs and release notes since our last upgrade (August of 2018) to find changes and features that would impact our customized instance of the software. This required extensive knowledge of our many enhancements. Andrew was able to detail out the changes for our team and functional users which was integral to testing. He was able to identify bugs resulting from clashes with our customizations and distinguish them from actual bugs in the delivered software. From there, he managed the changes internally with our developers or reported them back to Kuali Co so they received the necessary attention. Andrew did an excellent job driving the testing process forward and engaging the functional users, detailing out all the differences in the new version so everyone was comfortable with the changes and new features. Additionally, Andrew coordinated the upgrade steps with the DBA’s, IAA and Deployment as we moved environments (some multiple times) including the production release on Thursday evening. Andrew remained focused and patient throughout the entire process even when things were not going well which resulted in a successful upgrade. This was no small task given the amount of time since we upgraded last, coupled with the amount of customizations in the U of I’s version of the application.

Want to implement a recognition program within your team but not sure how? The AITS Recognition Team is happy to host a brainstorming session to discuss ideas and possible implementation!


Cybersecurity Training - Phase Two

In fall 2019 we assigned a Cyberstrength assessment to gauge your understanding of various cybersecurity topics. Thank you to everyone who participated and provided feedback about the assessment. If you missed out on phase one of the security awareness program, you can read more about the program on the cybersecurity page – https://cybersecurity.uillinois.edu/training.

For Phase Two, we encourage you to try a module at your convenience. Please visit: https://go.uillinois.edu/securitytraining or https://uillinois.wombatsecurity.com/. You can visit the cybersecurity page for updates, timelines and additional training modules as they become available.

Later in spring semester 2020, everyone who has not yet completed one of the optional training modules will be assigned a module to complete. The Cyberstrength security awareness program has been adopted as an ongoing program of customized resources that apply directly to work at the University. Periodic online security training will begin for all staff in 2020.

Please reach out to securitysupport@illinois.edu with any questions or feedback about the Cyberstrength assessment or the security awareness program.


Make Ups & Retakes for Professional Headshots

In November, AITS arranged for employees to have professional headshots taken for use within directories, conference introductions and other work-related instances. To ensure that all employees have had an opportunity and are satisfied with their headshots, there have been two more days of photo sessions scheduled!

5 minute photography sessions will be held at the Gerty Building in conference room B11 at the following dates and times:

  • Tuesday, February 25th: 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm

  • Thursday, February 27th: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Employees can sign up for their time slot using the following link: https://calendly.com/aits-mbuck/aits-professional-photos.

Any questions regarding the photo sessions can be directed to Marie Buckhanon at kreoger@uillinois.edu.

Training Activities

Web Intelligence

2/11 – Springfield: Reporting Basics | PAC 493, 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM

2/20 – Urbana: Finance Reporting - Data Source Overview | HAB 63, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

LinkedIn Learning
2/26 – Webinar: LinkedIn Learning for AITS Staff |12:30 PM, Register here: http://bit.ly/StaffWeb1


Deployment/Rollout Activities

2/7 – Midpoint Upgrade for IAM
2/9 – Routine maintenance on all Production Solaris and Linux servers. Includes Oracle DB patching.
2/11 – xferdev upgrade to Solaris 11
2/11 – Apply Microsoft critical patches to non-production servers
2/16 – Apply Microsoft critical patches to production servers

2/23 – SharePoint maintenance

Upcoming Social Events

Mark your calendars for the following social events!

February 13
AITS will be celebrating Valentine's Day with Sweet Treats and Candy Grams! You can sign up to bring a sweet treat for your coworker's here. Please see the Candy Gram station located in Gerty's north elevator corridor to send a colleague a sweet surprise!

Every Monday
Every Monday (of the year, not just February!), AITS colleagues gather to play games at the Gerty Collaboration Table for the lunch hour starting at 11:30 AM! This group alternates between board games and Magic the Gathering, where all skill levels are encouraged to join! Please contact Matt Macomber with any questions or interest.