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NEWS

Support for macOS Sierra Now Available

mac o s sierra

The Office of Information Technology now supports macOS Sierra on University-owned Mac computers. Details about macOS Sierra features are available on Apple’s website.

Requirements

macOS Sierra may be installed on the following devices:

  • iMac: Late 2009 or newer.
  • MacBook: Late 2009 or newer.
  • MacBook Pro: Mid 2010 or newer.
  • MacBook Air: Late 2010 or newer.
  • Mac Mini: Mid 2010 or newer.
  • Mac Pro: Mid 2010 or newer.

How to Upgrade

To schedule an upgrade for an OIT-supported computer, contact the Help Desk at (208) 426-4357, or email helpdesk@boisestate.edu.

OS X Support

In addition to macOS Sierra, OIT now officially supports Mac OS X 10.10 and 10.11.

If you have a Mac with OS X 10.9 or below, contact the Help Desk to get your computer up to date with security and support standards. If your computer is not supported by OIT, please contact your local area or network administrator for upgrade information.

New Google Sites

Introducting the new Google Sites

Google has redesigned and updated Google Sites to improve ease of use, and provide better integration with other G Suite (Google Apps) applications. With Google Sites, you can create your own websites without prior coding knowledge or training.

Google Sites is not intended for Boise State department or college websites (WordPress is our external-facing web solution). However, for internal-facing content, team and project sites, Google Sites may be a terrific solution.

Access Through Google Drive

New Sites are created through Google Drive by selecting New > Google Sites.

New Sites are also accessed through Google Drive.

Access Google Sites through Google Drive

Legacy Sites continue to be accessed as before, by selecting Sites from the Google Apps menu:

Google Sites

Access “classic” Google Sites through the Apps menu in G Suite.

Features

The new Google Sites makes it easier to implement content, plugins, and media for users, or collaborative teams, to manage their websites.

Creation and editing is primarily performed through drag and drop, and design is arranged with a grid layout. Everything is simple to move, resize or rearrange.

Content is responsive and looks great in all modern browsers on desktop, tablet and mobile.

The new Google Sites is designed to be simpler to use than the legacy version. Currently, the ability to comment on pages, change URLs, and set up page-level permissions is not available in the new Google Sites. Also, you can only nest pages one level deep. Google will continue to add features over time.

As of November 2016, new Google Sites can only be created and edited using Google Chrome and Firefox browsers, but are viewable in all modern web browsers. As is standard for modern G Suite applications, the latest version of the Google Chrome browser is most compatible with the new Google Sites.

Legacy Site Support

Google will likely end support for legacy Google Sites as early as late-2017. Right now, there is no migration feature available to convert a legacy Google Site to a new Google Site, or to copy over pages. However, Google expects to release a migration tool early next year.

Resources

Learn how to use the new Google Sites at https://gsuite.google.com/learning-center/products/sites/.

Max’s Minute: Future-Proofing Technology at Boise State University

Future Skyline representing future-proofing technology

This week Max talks about how we’re future-proofing technology at Boise State. By moving our core systems to the Cloud, we can avoid costly large-scale upgrades every few years and continue to sustain our technologies over time:

Transcript

Hi, this is Max Davis Johnson, Boise State University, Office of Information Technology.

Today I want to talk a little bit about future-proofing technology. That’s one of the core tenets, one of our core drivers, as we look to the future when we think strategically about where we want to be.

From a University perspective, we have a lot of strategic overarching things that we have to deal with. And that can be things like funding, it can be the changing nature of research, it can be the changing nature of our student population. And there are social pressures. Political pressures.

And another big pressure we have is the fact that technology is constantly changing. Boise State invests a lot of money in technology. So, we have to make sure we’re investing in the right technology, and we have to think in terms of how can we sustain this technology?

How can we make this technology last? We want to future-proof our technology as much as we can.

Moving to the Cloud with our core systems means that our systems stay current. Every six months or so in the Cloud you get a new release, and bingo! When the time comes you accept the changes and you’re current on your core system. And that’s the way it should be.

And granted, we’ll have to understand what those changes are, we may have to modify some processes, but in general terms we’ll just accept these new changes and we’ll adapt and we’ll move on.

And this, as we move forward, will not just be for Finance, it will be for our HCM, eventually it will be for our student system too as that moves to the Cloud. But there’s other things we look at to future-proof our technology.

We embrace very heavily the Concept of One. And the idea there is that we have basically the same technology available to us doing the same thing. For instance, we’ve standardized on technology in the classroom. So, as technology changes there, which we know it will, we’ll be able to adapt more seamlessly because we will only have one way to move as those types of changes go in place.

We’re a very virtualized infrastructure, which means we’re very scalable, very flexible, but it’s all the same. And it’s the same infrastructure that is used in the Cloud. And so over time as we move things to the Cloud, it’s going to be the same thing as what we’re doing now here on premises.

So again, we’re looking to future-proof our infrastructure there.

When we hire people we’re very deliberate about hiring people that maybe have the current technical skills we have, but we’re very deliberate about making sure that they can change and adapt as technology changes. Because we all know, and we have to accept, that technically is going to change. And so we have to set up our culture, and that starts with hiring the people that understand that, yes, we’re going to have to learn new things two or three years from now.

But as we adopt new technology, we have to make sure that it’s going to be…I don’t want to say ‘the winner’…but we have to give it a chance that this new technology is getting broad support, that it is going to have a future as we move forward.

There’s new technology coming all the time, and even though sometimes it’s attractive to be on the bleeding edge, we want to make sure that as we move in a new direction with technology that it does have some mass behind it, other people are adopting it, and we feel confident that it will be an emerging standard, an emerging technology, an emerging direction.

So, like I said, at the end of the day we try to think very strategically as we move forward, as we look at new things…we invest as Boise State…we invest a lot of time, energy, money, not only OIT but the University…in technology, new processes, new methods, and we have to make sure that we future-proof this as best we can.

So, anyway, thank you for listening, and until next time. Bye.

Contact Max

Feedback is welcome and encouraged. Email max@boisestate.edu.

New G Suite Features: Action Items, Badges, Forms and Voice Typing

Google Apps is now called G Suite

Google has recently released some great new G Suite (formerly Google Apps) features of benefit to the Boise State community.

These new features can add value by taking the guess work out of who is doing what in a group project, creating forms and documents, or simply talking to your computer or mobile device to quickly get ideas out of your head before they’re gone.

Action Items

Action Items are assigned to fellow group members when working in Google Docs, Slides, or Sheets. This feature appoints specific assignments to one group member.

The Action Item, once assigned, will send notifications and updates to the assignee. The assignee will receive a confirmation message when the group member opens up their assigned file.

This item could be extremely useful for group projects; just think about how this could help you stay connected with the group. By knowing which responsibilities are assigned to each member, you’ll know who is taking care of what, and when.

Learn more about Action Items on Google’s website.

Follow-Up Badges

Google has come up with an easier way to search for files when sharing information with group members, especially documents that are a priority. Once action items are assigned to members, a numbered follow-up badge in the top-right corner of a Google Doc will appear detailing the requested actions with all unresolved issues or tasks in the file.

Can’t find the email that you were searching for? Or not sure what assignment you were supposed to go over? The follow-up badge can help you find the file information so you don’t have to dig for the information or assigned task, saving you time and energy looking for priority emails.

Learn more about follow-up badges on Google’s website.

Forms

Creating a Google Form for an event, survey, or other request for information? Google has taken the next step and now implements a prediction-aspect to the form being created.

Forms will now preemptively associate and generate an applicable response to questions, such as “What days of the week will you be available?,” and the program will automatically provide the days of the week in checkboxes for easy response feedback.

Also included in Forms is the option to upload files to the Forms, and post the documents in Google Drive.

Looking to conduct a survey for research? Or perhaps a signup sheet for fundraising? Forms can help you create this document in less time.

Learn more about new predictive Form response options on Google’s website.

Voice Commands

Google has added additional voice command prompts to Google Docs; now you can voice type ideas and edit hands-free. By learning a few basic voice commands, you can type, delete words, add links, change text color, and add comments.

More information about voice typing for G Suite is available on Google’s website.

Need Assistance?

Learn more about G Suite apps and features through self-paced online learning at the G Suite Learning Center.

For additional information about G Suite at Boise State, contact the Help Desk at helpdesk@boisestate.edu, or call (208) 426-4357.

Max’s Minute: Future-Proofing Our Core Systems

Max Davis-JohnsonThis is the fourth in a series of posts discussing continuing improvements for Taleo Recruiting and Oracle Financials Cloud. View the previous entries at max.boisestate.edu.

Future-Proofing Our Core Systems

Globalization, changing demographics, economics, shifting political priorities, and accelerating technology innovation are pressuring higher education to reconsider existing models of delivering educational services and supporting research.

Mission-critical solutions, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), human capital management (HCM), and student information systems (SIS) play a critical role in addressing these challenges.

It is increasingly difficult for Boise State (and other institutions) to keep pace with accelerating innovations in technology. Security, mobility, scalability, and performance are particularly challenging issues.

Ensuring technology efforts we undertake today will not require a complete overhaul within the next few years is a more complex endeavor than ever before. We want systems that won’t need significant updates as technology advances.

This is the concept of future-proofing.

Moving mission-critical solutions to the cloud is one of our core strategies for future-proofing. Oracle Financials Cloud (OFC) and Taleo Recruiting represent the beginning of our journey to future-proof Boise State’s core systems.

Oracle Financials Cloud

A prime example of future-proofing is the planned update to Oracle Financials Cloud (“OFC Release 11”) scheduled for November 7. Bingo!

About every six months, Boise State will receive improvements and enhancements for OFC. We’ll always be able to ensure we are on the current release of the product. Continuous improvements and being on the current release – what a novel idea!

Granted, there will be changes we’ll need to review, some of which will require us to adapt (we have the ability to do that). Over time, we will fall into a rhythm with regular cloud updates, and this will become a part of our culture.

Sponsored Projects is continuing to reconcile data since July 1. We anticipate completing this in time for OFC Release 11. We’ve reviewed delivered PI reports and dashboards with select PIs, and have received a big thumbs-up. These will be available to all PIs upon implementation of OFC Release 11.

Once all the data is reconciled, we will focus on PI training, processes, and additional reports and dashboards.

Two different views of Budget vs. Expense reporting for all account types have been released by University Financial Services. Budget transfers will also be available soon in the campus transaction dashboards.

We are continuing to evaluate and enhance security, access, cross-validation rules, and other system controls as we learn and understand more about OFC.

As a reminder, you can find job aids, documentation, tutorials, FAQs, and class schedules for all things OFC at the University Financial Services Training Portal (including new reports as they are released). University Financial Services experts will even come to you…all you have to do is ask!

We are also beginning development of the new approved travel pre-authorization concept, and the new BPAR form and process should be ready by the end of next week.  We will do a limited BPAR release during the first part of November, with a planned enterprise-wide release after that.

Taleo Recruiting

We have started work on implementing the approved streamlined hiring process for faculty in Taleo Recruiting. We anticipate reviewing the new process by November 4th, and releasing shortly thereafter.

Once the improved faculty hiring process is in place, we will begin work on improvements to the professional staff hiring process.

University Financial Services, Sponsored Projects, Human Resource Services, OIT, and Oracle remain committed to doing everything we can to make these systems work better for you.

– Max Davis-Johnson

Questions and feedback are encouraged. Email max@boisestate.edu.

G Suite for Education

G Suite from Google

Google recently announced a rebrand of Google Apps. G Suite for Education is the new name for the familiar set of productivity and collaboration applications used by our Boise State campus community.

The applications themselves (Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, etc.) retain their familiar names.

Per Google’s official blog:

“All around the world, businesses are filling up with busyness. Employees today are more plugged-in than ever before, but technology too often gets in the way of turning ideas into game changers. For businesses, sharing and communicating has gotten complicated and often happens in silos. The bigger the company, the bigger the challenge.

But what if technology lived up to its promise for us at work? What if it helped us cut through the noise so we could work together to focus on what matters?

We created Google Apps for Work ten years ago (back when it was Google Apps for Your Domain) to do just that — to help people everywhere work and innovate together, so businesses can move faster and go bigger.

And today, we’re introducing a new name that better reflects this mission: G Suite.

G Suite is a set of intelligent apps—Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, Hangouts, and more—designed to bring people together, with real-time collaboration built in from the start. And there’s a lot more on the way. Because we believe that when organizations break down silos, connect people and empower them to work together, we get the speed, agility and impact needed to compete in today’s market.”

Visit the G Suite Learning Center to learn more about G Suite applications at Boise State.

Max’s Minute: Understanding Problems to Improve Taleo Recruiting and Oracle Financials Cloud

Max Davis-JohnsonThis is the third in a series of articles discussing continuing improvements for Taleo Recruiting and Oracle Financials Cloud. View the previous entries at max.boisestate.edu.

One of our core principles used in improving Oracle Financials Cloud and Taleo Recruiting is the need to completely understand problems before we act.

To that end, OIT and our campus partners have visited with all colleges and key departments to capture their concerns and issues with the new systems. We also know there might be different opinions as to what is “best.” At the end of the day, we all want what is best for the University.

As we continue to make progress, that is what we are striving for – what is best for Boise State.

Oracle Financials Cloud Updates

Sponsored Projects has reconciled all of the PeopleSoft grants data in the Oracle Financials Cloud grants project module (PPM). We are now loading and verifying entries from July 1 onward, and we expect this to be complete within the next few weeks. Once all data is reconciled, we will then focus on PI training, processes, and reporting.

Financial Services has released campus transactional dashboards to address invoices, department deposits and journals. You can find answers while only knowing a little about the data (e.g., only the day it happened, the division it impacted, or the amount it was for). These dashboards will continue to be enhanced. We will next address budget transfers, then accounts receivable.

Budget vs. expense reporting will be available for all account types within the next week. Security, access, cross-validation rules, and other system controls will continue to be tweaked as we learn and understand more about OFC.

You can find job aids, documentation, tutorials, FAQs, and class schedules for all things OFC on the University Financial Services Training Portal, including new reports as they are released. Financial Services experts will even come to you – all you need to do is ask!

We have completed requirements for travel pre-authorization, and the Dean’s Council has approved the basic design concept. OIT is moving forward on development of this new app within myBoiseState.

Budget transfers (also identified as a pain point) will be addressed through a combination of process improvements and reporting.

Taleo Recruiting Updates

Human Resource Services has designed a streamlined hiring process for faculty, based on campus feedback along with best practices from other universities using Taleo Recruiting.. The Dean’s Council approved this process, and implementation will begin immediately.

Once the new streamlined faculty hiring process is in place, work will begin on improving the professional hiring process.

We are finalizing the new Budget/Position Action Request (BPAR) form and process next week, moving the BPAR process out of Taleo to focus the system on recruitment and onboarding (as it is intended to be used).

Financial Services, Sponsored Projects, Human Resource Services, OIT, and Oracle remain committed to doing everything we can to make these systems work better for you.

– Max Davis-Johnson

Questions and feedback are encouraged. Email max@boisestate.edu.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

national cyber security awareness month

Boise State joins the nation in celebrating National Cyber Security Awareness Month for October.

National Cyber Security Awareness Month is a nationwide effort to educate and engage public and private sector stakeholders, and the general public, on cybersecurity issues through a variety of communications and outreach activities.

The world is more interconnected today than ever before. We enjoy the benefits and convenience that cyberspace provides, including online shopping, mobile banking, and communicating with friends and family through social networks and email. However, we also face a range of threats – identity and intellectual property theft, network intrusions, and financial crimes – from these cyber networks.

National Cyber Security Awareness Month is an opportunity to provide you with the tools to stay safe online.

Boise State believes strongly in this mission. As a partner in the Department of Homeland Security’s Stop.Think.Connect. campaign, Boise State has shown its commitment to enhancing online safety for everyone.

Throughout National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we urge everyone to help create a safer and more secure cyber environment by taking the following steps to keep themselves, their identities, and their information safe online:

  • Set strong passwords, and don’t share them with anyone.
  • Keep your operating system, browser, and other critical software optimized and secure by
    installing updates.
  • Maintain an open dialogue with your family, friends, and community about Internet safety.
  • Limit the amount of personal information you post online, and use privacy settings.
  • Be cautious about what you receive or read online; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Boise State supports the Department of Homeland Security by proactively advancing cybersecurity awareness through outreach and information sharing. National Cyber Security Awareness Month is formally recognized by Congress, federal, state, and local governments, along with leaders from industry and academia.

This united effort is essential to creating a safer, more resilient cyberspace that remains a source of tremendous opportunity and growth for years to come.

Cybersecurity Department

The Office of Information Technology’s Cybersecurity Department is tasked with managing cyber risks, vulnerabilities and incidents in collaboration with OIT and campus IT resources, as well as facilitating campus community cybersecurity education and awareness.

Follow the department on Twitter @BoiseStateCyber, or visit the Cybersecurity website.

Max’s Minute: Making Progress with Taleo Recruiting and Oracle Financials Cloud

Max Davis-JohnsonThis is the second in a series of articles discussing continuing improvements for Taleo Recruiting and Oracle Financials Cloud. View the previous entry at max.boisestate.edu.

Transitioning to any new system is difficult.

After meeting with you and listening to many of your concerns, we’ve identified issues with Taleo Recruiting and Oracle Financials Cloud systems and processes, and are now working with our University partners and Oracle to make necessary improvements.

Difficulties with systems, processes, reporting, training, data, and security are normal (to some degree) with any large complex system implementation. However, our response to improve and resolve these problems must be precise, with a sense of urgency.

Our primary job is to ease the burden and aid the transition. This is our highest priority within OIT.

Taleo Recruiting

What progress have we made on the Taleo front?

We’re working with colleges to streamline the Faculty recruiting profile and process. Based on college feedback, we are designing mockups for what the process will be, and will start working on it as soon as we can get buy-in from the Deans.

While this is being built, HR Business Partners will assist colleges with the recruiting process so they can focus on the candidates rather than the system. Budget related activities, such as securing a PCN, will be done in a system outside of Taleo.

Having the budget approval integrated into the Taleo system was causing delays in the recruitment process. By making the process more efficient and using Taleo for its intended purpose of recruiting and onboarding, we’ll alleviate this particular pain point.

As we work through the new faculty recruitment profile, we will leverage what we learn to modify the business processes for hiring Professional Staff.

Oracle Financials Cloud

We have made significant progress on correcting the data in the grant projects module (PPM) and reporting in OFC.

The F&A over-allocation issue for grant data has been resolved. F&A now shows correct information for transactions posted through 6/30/2016. We are now reconciling all transactions between PeopleSoft and PPM. This reconciliation is approximately 70% complete, and we have a target date to complete the process by October 7.

Budgetary control will be turned on when the reconciliation is complete. Once the data is reconciled, we will focus on improving grant reporting and processes.

Also, we anticipate new transactional reporting and strategic budget vs. expense reporting available for all account types by October 7 at the latest. More reports will soon follow.

Finally, we are beginning requirement and design sessions for travel pre-authorization, budget transfer and departmental deposits, as these items have been identified as additional key pain points. These efforts require a combination of process improvements and application development.

Financial Services, Human Resource Services, OIT, Sponsored Projects, and Oracle remain committed to doing everything we can to make these systems work better for you.

– Max Davis-Johnson

Questions and feedback are encouraged. Email max@boisestate.edu.

Google Drive Adds Natural Language Search

Google-Drive

Google recently updated Drive to provide easier searching of all your folders and files.

Natural Language Processing allows you to search as you talk. You can now type “show me department reports from last June” or “find enrollment spreadsheets from Dan” rather than having to configure specific search criteria.

Other recent Drive updates include the ability to split documents into columns in Google Docs, and access to a copy of non-Google files when opening, converting or editing those files after they’ve been converted to Google Docs, Sheets or Slides.

For details of all these new Google Drive features visit Google’s Drive Blog.

 

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