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UC President’s Office Recaps Cost Savings, Tech Initiatives

The Technology Delivery Services group retired its mainframe, which saved almost $3 million per year, modernized legacy applications and improved data security.

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The technology group within the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) has published its year-end recap, highlighting financial savings, improved security and gains in efficiency by the university system.

UCOP’s chief information officer, Molly Greek, describes the Technology Delivery Services (TDS) group — part of UCOP’s Information Technology Services (ITS) — as “the nervous system of UCOP” in the report, which recaps TDS’ achievements and milestones from July 2021 through June 2022.

In a roundup of “significant projects,” the report cites four key initiatives:
  • “Migrated applyUC to Amazon Web Services (AWS) to improve performance. Thousands of students use our admission system on the last day it is open. This move allows more capacity at peak which improves the user experience, followed by downsizing during slower times which saves money.”
  • “Retired the mainframe, saving almost $3 million per year, modernizing legacy applications and improving data security.”
  • “Exited the UC Berkeley Data Center by moving to AWS. This helped us avoid buying costly hardware. It also allowed us to test our disaster recovery.”
  • “Implemented Talkdesk, a new customer service contact center platform, for the Service Desk, the Retirement Center (RASC) and UCPath Center to improve customer service and functionality.”

In the recap, Greek writes: “In addition to project-based work, our support staff works tirelessly behind the scenes to ‘keep the lights on.’ They’re the ones who answer your help calls, get your equipment ready, and keep phones, applications and the network up and running.”

The shift to remote work has helped TDS — the largest group within ITS — to expand hiring and increase staff satisfaction, Greek notes.

In the area of security, the report highlights initiatives including:
  • Made LastPass password manager available to everyone at UCOP, for generating and storing unique and strong passwords.
  • Created an inventory of all applications at UCOP, including those that TDS doesn’t manage. “We can’t protect what we don’t know about.”
  • “Began implementing a Data Loss Prevention (DLP) program that looks for confidential data and alerts us if the data is not being stored correctly.”
  • Encrypted bank data in UCPath to new standards specified by the National Automated Clearing House Association.

And in a by-the-numbers section, Greek notes year-over-year changes in TDS’ spending from Fiscal Year 2020-2021 to FY 2021-2022. With rounding, those changes are:
  • Salary and benefits, from $34 million to $34.6 million
  • Temporary staff, from $6.2 million to $6.1 million
  • Computer maintenance, services and equipment, from $16.9 million to $15.3 million
  • Consultants and professional services, from $2.3 million to $7.6 million
  • Other spending, from $400,000 to $1.3 million
  • Overall, the year-over-year spend increased from $59.8 million to $64.9 million

The report also highlights TDS’ efforts in diversity and inclusion, cybersecurity, data analysis, records and project management, and the group’s strategic plan. The full report can be viewed here.
Dennis Noone is Executive Editor of Industry Insider. He is a career journalist, having worked at small-town newspapers and major metropolitan dailies including USA Today in Washington, D.C.