Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York  

past project highlights


January 11, 2013

- Google Apps for Education Comes to Fordham University
January 11, 2013, marks the day that Gmail became the official enterprise email for the entire Fordham University Community.    Back in October 2010 all students were given Google Apps accounts with access to Mail, Calendar and Contacts.   Google Docs and Google Chat were added as services in January 2012.

In Spring 2012, after a comprehensive discernment process, the decision was made to move all faculty and staff to Gmail.  However, this project was not only about email.   Mail is only one of many services that comprise the Google Apps for Education suite, which offers a variety of services for communication, collaboration and productivity. 

As with any new implementation there were both benefits and challenges.  The implementation team was charged with providing a seamless integration between Google Apps and other technology-based services that are provided through the University portal.   Retaining the current email addresses and setting up single sign-on for authentication were considered essential critical success factors.

The migration of email, contacts and calendar entries from Lotus Notes required a great deal of planning and preparation.  The implementation team organized a migration schedule that respected the University calendar and recognized the benefit of moving Administrative and Academic departments as intact units.  In early August, staff members in the Library and Human Resources were the first groups to be migrated.  The last major group was the faculty, which took place in late October and early November.   

One of our most difficult and important challenges was building and executing a communications plan that would give everyone the information they needed in the most timely and appropriate manner.  This also included training, which continues to be provided in a variety of diverse settings.    Even those who were familiar with Gmail functionality from their own personal accounts needed to be made aware of some specific differences and features in an enterprise-wide Gmail application.

All Google services may be accessed via the portal, directly at GMAIL.FORDHAM.EDU or on a variety of mobile devices.  Since Gmail is a web-based application, it is now possible to access your email from anywhere using a common interface, thus providing Anytime, Anywhere, Anyhow Access.

Google Apps for Education has a very vocal and active world-wide user base.  In response to suggestions and concerns from their community, as they call it, Google is constantly adding new services and features to the Google Apps for Education suite.  At Fordham University each offering is being evaluated for functionality and compliance with our security and privacy needs before being deployed.

Lotus Notes will remain available in a read-only reference mode through July 11, 2013, at which point it will be permanently retired.  Instructions are being made available to anyone who needs to save emails or attachments from their Lotus Notes accounts.  This six-month window will be your last opportunity to review the contents of your old email before it permanently rides off into the technology sunset.

For more specific information, documentation and training materials about Gmail and Google Apps for Education, please visit the All Things Gmail channel on the either Employee or Faculty Tab in the portal.


March 29, 2012

Reeher - Effective Project Management Yields Successful Resuts

On Thursday, March 29, 2012, Development and University Relations (DAUR) launched their Business Intelligence initiative, paving the way for a new era of  data driven decisions at Fordham University.

Reeher is a platform for fundraising management in Higher Education, whose mission is “to help universities raise more money and spend less doing it”.   It was selected by DAUR to be their business intelligence solution, providing a means for them to analyze fundraising patterns and run more effective campaigns.

The implementation of Reeher marks a significant milestone for the mandate to develop effective project management skills as a core competency.   Diligent project oversight will ensure that projects stay on scope, on budget and on time, resulting in a greater degree of project success.  Since the Reeher application is hosted off-premise there were minimal technical resources required from Fordham IT.  However, the leadership of DAUR decided to use the Fordham PMO (Project Management Organization) to develop the project plan using its established Project Management Framework.  This decision was a key factor in the overwhelming success of this implementation.

As part of this model, the PMO provided the services of Adam Bergmann, an experienced project manager, to oversee various aspects of the project.  His responsibilities included maintaining the currency of the project plan, managing the vendor relationship, reporting project status to the management team, driving team activities, and implementing tracking and communication tools.  It should be noted that the DAUR team was entirely supportive of the project framework which in turn was a key to success.

 As projects become increasingly complex, and require even more integration and collaboration with resources and initiatives in other areas of our organization, an experienced project manager, backed by the diverse resources of the Fordham PMO, is able to complement the task-oriented functions of the project plan with a high-level view of its strategic fit with overall University goals and objectives.   This approach reduces project risk and ensures a greater level of success for all endeavors.

November 2011-March 2012

Workflow and Imaging - The Game-Changer

The full implementation of the Banner product suite has paved the way for Fordham to reap the benefits of an integrated relational database as the system of record.    One of our most recent successes was the implementation of enterprise workflow and imaging.  This initiative has long been one that was considered essential to achieve cost savings and operational efficiencies.  With the implementation of Hyland On-Base we have finally realized that goal.

The initial scope of the project was to 1) build workflow applications for Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid, and 2) provide imaging capabilities for the Office of the Provost, Human Resources and Development and University Relations. 

John W. Buckley, the Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Enrollment, and Patricia Peek, the Associate Dean of Admission and the Director of Lincoln Center Enrollment Group, spearheaded the initial phase of implementation and have enthusiastically expressed their satisfaction with the results.

"The implementation of Hyland-OnBase for scanning and imaging of documents has revolutionized the way we do business.  In one semester of going "paperless," we have realized operational efficiencies, budget savings and a reduction in environmental impact.  In addition, the quality of our work environment has improved significantly and our staff is energized by our change in business process."

This is only the first phase of what will be an on-going project, which will allow departments across the University to leverage technology to be more efficient.  The results of the Admissions implementation have already proven that we can achieve measurable and repeatable cost savings by printing less, using fewer office supplies, and decreasing the amount of physical storage space needed to retain paper documents.   Equally important is our ability to provide better service to our students by allowing applicants to use electronic submission in a self-service, on-demand environment.

Summer 2011

Desktop Virtualization - The New and Improved VT100

Desktop Virtualization, nicknamed VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) is all about agility.  As consumers, we expect to have instant access, not only to the Internet, but to a variety of “apps” which we use to conduct our daily business and provide personal entertainment.  This “anytime, anywhere, anyhow access” paradigm is quickly becoming the expectation in enterprise-level computing environments as well.

This presents some challenges.  Back in the old days all business apps were on “mainframe” or mid-range computers located in the not-so-secret basement data center.   Terminals, such as a VT100, which were used to access those applications, had no stand-alone functionality.  With the advent of the personal computer, applications were now available locally.  Desktops could run applications that were specific to a particular office function.   Student labs could have specialized applications that enhanced the learning experience.  Individual computer users felt empowered.  However, this presented a new challenge of its own – keeping a growing number of PCs updated and ready for use for an increasing number of diverse functions.

This is where desktop virtualization brings value.  VDI will facilitate laboratory refreshes and the management of multiple devices in the labs.  There will no longer have to be teams of support personnel making the rounds to maintain individual desktop software.  Instead an image of the entire desktop environment will be created.  That image will be stored on a server where it will be maintained centrally and used to restore the desktop whenever it is needed.  Images will be easily interchangeable for classroom and lab use, meaning that any image can be placed on any desktop or laptop that needs it.  Now a lab can be used for a music class with one set of software and then a statistics class with a completely different set of applications.

The initial scope of this project is to build three labs, one at each campus, for the Spring 2012 semester.  Eventually the plan is to create and maintain specialized desktop images based on roles, whether academic, clerical, or administrative.  Each employee, faculty member, and student will have an image containing all the applications they need to do their job or complete their coursework.   When a new software application is deployed it will be added to the appropriate images and rolled out to the affected desktops, ready for use.

Essentially, VDI will bring the University improvements in efficiency, security, manageability, and flexibility surrounding the management and replacement of desktop computers.


May 2011

Payment Options

Please join us in congratulating all Payment Options team members for the successful Go-Live!

Fordham University has embarked upon some significant changes to the way it provides payment options to students, parents, and others who participate in or attend classes or pursue degrees.  This affects the entire Fordham University community in some way.  Many of these changes are a direct result of government and state compliance regulations; others are related to improving our business processes; and some are prompted by the finance/student integration within Banner (our ERP system).

This was a comprehensive undertaking which required careful coordination, including: upgrades to our ERP system (Banner), upgrades to Payment Gateway (Touchnet), and the implementation of a University Storefront (MarketPlace).  Fordham community members from a broad cross-section of the University worked on implementing and testing during the Go-Live weekend, which took place from Friday, February 25 thru Sunday February 27, 2011.

As a result, Fordham no longer accepts credit cards for payments against student accounts for tuition.  Fordham ONLY accepts ACH (direct withdrawal from your account) or debit cards.  Exceptions are Liberal Studies and Summer Programs, where you still have the option to pay by credit card. 

Credit cards will still be accepted for incidental payments (cap and gown, housing damages, application fees, etc.) and for workshops, conferences, and seminars, as well as a new Debit Card option.  These payments will be fee-free (no convenience fees).  Now, departments can manage their own MarketPlace Storefront to collect conference, seminar, and workshop fees.

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