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IT@UofT Strategic Plan Annual Report: review 2020 ITS progress and updates

Published on: December 8, 2020

This chart tracks the number of Microsoft Teams meetings held in late 2019 and throughout 2020. Starting in March 2020, the number dramatically increased to 26,364, up from 973 the previous month. In October 2020, that number reached nearly 100,000.

This year’s massive shift of the higher education sector to remote learning, teaching and working has been nothing short of disruptive.

Yet, despite COVID-19’s significant challenges, Information Technology Services (ITS) was able to embrace the opportunity to drive and deliver transformative work needed to provide technology-enabled services and support University-wide.

“The advancement of strategic plan initiatives within ITS over the past year has had a great impact on staff, students and faculty,” said Bo Wandschneider, Chief Information Officer (CIO), ITS. “Even during these trying COVID-19 times, IT@UofT community members have worked together collaboratively to make a positive difference, provide solutions and meet challenges head-on to move the University’s mission forward.”

Now, University of Toronto (U of T) staff and faculty can look back on and review this progress and other updates in the IT@UofT Strategic Plan Annual Report (2020), released by ITS on Nov. 26.

The report highlights — selected from more than 300 initiatives currently in progress —align with the strategic plan thematic pillars: People, Solutions and Collaboration. Examples include increased communication channels/messaging (People), the launch of the S/4HANA Migration — the next phase of the U of T Enterprise Modernization Program (Solutions) and expanded remote access tools like UTORvpn (Collaboration).

“Looking at the successful results from the Strategic Plan implementation after the first year, it is a strong re-affirmation that ITS is a highly committed team that never stopped persevering and delivering despite the pandemic,” said Vik Chadalawada, Senior Manager, Student Information Systems and Lead, IT@UofT Strategic Plan Delivery, ITS. “I am grateful to be working alongside incredibly talented people within this community, working tirelessly together, to create a high impact, high value and a high-performance culture within a broader University context.”

While ITS was able to succeed in fulfilling many pre-pandemic initiatives, the report delves into how the crisis drove new priorities to the forefront. These include infrastructure updates to support work from home, data security protocols for existing and new platforms and new workflows related to the digitalization of business processes, to name a few.

For example, Quercus help tickets since March 2020 increased by 104 per cent over the same period last year. Meanwhile, SharePoint site creation was up 75 per cent in 2020 vs. 2019 and MS Teams creation volume since March 2020 increased by approximately 400 per cent over previous levels.

“This past year has been incredibly challenging as we have moved to remote work while continuing to press forward on many critical projects and initiatives for the University,” said Cathy Eberts, Director of Enterprise Applications and Solutions Integration (EASI) and Deputy CIO. “Thank you to our divisional IT colleagues and the many shared services and academic business partners who have supported our efforts. It is truly inspiring to see the list of accomplishments and solutions that have been delivered under these circumstances and now reflected in our first ITS annual report!”

Download a PDF version of the IT@UofT Strategic Plan Annual Report (2020) here.