How one university modernized virtual hosting
Months to completion
Weeks to placement
Retiring institutional knowledge
Higher-Ed change resistance
Borrowed talent resources
Overextended IT support
With competitive online offerings, traditional universities are feeling the pressure to modernize in order to stay relevant. This 200-year old state university felt no different. With over 50,000 students and a myriad of departments, they had a disarray of websites and virtual hosts costing them in personnel management, IT support, and excess server storage costs – to name a few.
With a 10-year IT veteran entering retirement and limited support staff use, their CTO knew they needed to put an IT contractor in the driver’s seat that could manage department leaders and streamline the migration process to save them in the long run.
This client needed an IT expert with Linux experience to drive projects to completion and first appointed an internal team member. However with a number of projects taking priority for internal teams, they realized outside help would be necessary to keep things moving but could not hire a full-time individual.
Between faculty, staff, students, and board members, universities have a lot of decisions by committee. They needed an advocate and leader to reassure teams by saying, “I can take care of the migration for you, so this isn’t disruptive to your workload.”
Necessity breeds innovation meaning: colleges within the university had taken the initiative to build websites that supported their needs at that time. However, these “solutions” implemented without Campus IT oversight accrued technical debt over time.
Outdated virtual machines and siloed storage was draining the budget – quickly. Between monthly fees and technical support, one department alone was spending $200 per month for server storage.
Supporting an entire campus of students, faculty and staff can be challenging. With information security and support requests as a top priority for Campus IT, support was limited for other initiatives.
The most important things I brought to this project are not in a list of technical skills. I built relationships and clearly communicated with stakeholders that they can think of me as their tech concierge. I was there to remove the friction and had an open-door policy to reach out to me with challenges and we will work to get it fixed. They hadn’t had that level of direct support in years.”
– Tom Dean, Lucid Staff Augmentation Contractor
Enter Lucid Services Group
UNDERSTANDING CLIENT NEEDS
Lucid was able to identify top challenges for this client in the first call. After a year of trying to deal with the problem, their Director of IT was immediately relieved. As a next step, Lucid documented roles, responsibilities, and required skillsets for this highly technical position – alleviating a daunting task for the client.
KNOWING THE RIGHT TALENT
Within a day, Lucid kicked off the search in both regional and national talent markets. Enter Tom Dean. Based out of Chicago and an experienced Linux administrator, architect, engineer and project manager, Tom was the ideal candidate for the role. Tom had also worked with Lucid in the past and trusted their process.
Tom checked all the boxes, except for one – he was remote. The CTO was first hesitant as he’d seen a lot of change resistance internally and felt they needed someone to “show face” when it came to delivering information. Lucid helped to shift their perspective. Within two weeks, Tom was in Indiana meeting with all key stakeholders. During this process he clearly communicated his role and goal to make lives easier – not harder.
Lucid also set this university up for success by providing tools and best practices to work with remote contractors. Between video conferencing, stand-up meetings,
The Process-Driven Results
Lucid found the right fit for this position, and Tom brought his own project management skill sets to plan and execute the framework for this project. Within 4 months, Tom was able to migrate over 150 websites and supporting technologies eliminating the burden of Linux support.
Additionally, he reworked virtual servers running at different locations, saving thousands of dollars in monthly storage costs. This accomplishment was achieved while making the transition seamless for the staff and users, avoiding any disruption to their work.